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Ever wonder why a baby’s skin is so soft? It’s because babies naturally replace their skin cells every few days. As you grow older, however, the rate of skin cell turnover slows down dramatically. Dead cells on your skin’s surface hang around much longer, a fact that tends to accentuate those fine lines and make your complexion look dull and lifeless. By removing these dead skin cells, exfoliation helps make up for the gradual slowing down of your natural skin renewal process, improving the tone and texture of your skin.

Screen Shot 2016-06-20 at 3.31.33 PMThe process of exfoliation is a lot like peeling away the dry, outer skin of an onion to reveal the living layers beneath. Whether the exfoliation is done using mechanical abrasion or a controlled chemical reaction, removing dead and damaged skin cells on the surface allows the fresh new skin underneath to become visible. This newly exposed layer of skin feels much softer and smoother. Its surface reflects light better, making fine lines and other small imperfections harder to see. Age spots and other areas of unwanted pigmentation are less noticeable because the dead skin cells containing the pigment have been removed. Exfoliation unplugs clogged pores and allows for the release of natural skin oils. Regular exfoliation also helps to maintain open pores, decreases pore size, and minimizes many types of superficial scarring. In addition, removing the top layer of dead and damaged cells allows other health-promoting agents such as moisturizers, antioxidants, and collagen-boosting ingredients to better penetrate the skin and work more effectively.

DON’T OVER EXFOLIATEThis is perhaps the most important thing to remember so that you can avoid any damage and/or irritation of the skin. It’s safe to assume that exfoliating twice weekly can achieve great results and refrain from irritation or over exfoliating. Of course, there are the people who enjoy exfoliating daily, but this is personal preference and heavily based on your skin type. If you notice a burning sensation or it your skin becomes very sensitive and/or red after using a product, stop it. Ultimately, you should stay in tune to what your skin needs, feels and looks.

DO EXFOLIATE ALL OVER- Exfoliation does not store at your face. Work your exfoliation routine down into the neck and décolleté area, even your lips too as these areas can greatly benefit from exfoliation too as it removes dead surface skin cells, brightens overall skin tone and improves texture. Other areas to exfoliate: your elbows and knees.

DON’T GO SUNBATHING AFTER EXFOLIATING- Exfoliating reveals a baby-fresh layer of skin, you could be more susceptible to the

sun’s rays. Use caution when heading outdoors. Use a higher SPF in your sunscreen, wear a hat, carry a sun umbrella and try to stick to shady spots whenever you can.

DO EXFOLIATE AT NIGHT- Skin renews itself overnight

so the perfect time to exfoliate is right before bed. Use a good sunscreen with high SPF during the day, especially if your skin has recently been exfoliated. While we all want smooth and clear skin, it’s we also want to protect against sun damage.

DO CONSIDER CHEMICAL EXFOLIANTS- Physical exfoliants aren’t the only wat to shough off dead skin to reveal a brighter complexion. Ingredients that chemically exfoliate the skin include glycolic acid, alpha-hydroxy acids, lactic acid and various enzymes.

We have all experienced one of those days in which we come home after a long day and have that clogged, greasy skin or blown your nose to find a disturbing shade of black dirt from being in the dirty city; you’ll know that pollution is a growing skin care concern. We sat down with Dr. G to understand more about the damaging effects that pollution has on our skin and ways in which we can combat and protect our skin from the pollution we endure on a daily basis.

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Image via Byrdie Beauty

Why is there such a rise in popularity for anti-pollution skincare right now? “Interest in the detrimental effects of pollution continues to rise given the increasing record-breaking pollution levels across the world and in particular key major cities. Consumers are also becoming more savvy to the environmental effects around them and access to crucial information is so much more accessible today.” Dermatologist Dr. Gary Goldfaden MD

What kind of skin issues can pollution cause? “Pollution can increase skin aging and this may be due to the microscopic specks of smoke, soot, acid and other pollutants that come into contact with your skin in areas with high pollution levels. These tiny particles are up to twenty times smaller than the size of your pores, meaning that they can penetrate the skin and bypass the protective outer layers. This can lead to inflammation in the deeper layers of living skin tissues, where wrinkles and other signs of skin ageing are formed.” Dermatologist Dr. Gary Goldfaden MD

How does pollution lead to free radicals in the skin? “Pollution releases microscopic particles or free radicals that can go deep into the skin and cause damage to otherwise healthy cells. The outcome is loss of elasticity (wrinkles and sagging) and Hyperpigmentation (dark spots).  Luckily, antioxidants have been clinically proven to effectively fight free radical damage, preventing them from reacting with the skin and helps to prevent dullness, fine lines, sagging and other signs of skin aging.”

What is the best cleansing method for ridding pores of pollution? Exfoliation is the best method for ridding pores of pollutants. Physical and Chemical exfoliators are able to deeply penetrate into the pores and clean them while also removing dead skin cells, dirt, oil and bacteria build up and prior damaging the cells.

What are the most important skincare ingredients for tackling pollution? It’s about creating a shield (via Antioxidants) and protecting the skin (via Sun Block) so that the free-radical damage caused by pollution cannot penetrate the skin to break down the healthy cells. Look for Anti-oxidant ingredients as they fight free radicals. A few of the most studied and effective anti-oxidants include Red Tea, Cherry Extract, Ferulic Acid, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Retinol and Resveratrol.

Now that the New Year is upon us, many of us look back on the past year and take account of the good and the bad, especially when it comes to overall health, including our skincare regimen and needs. In some way or another, we all set out to set New Year’s goals centered around what we’d all like to improve upon for the New Year.

The New Year is the perfect time to make personal commitments that will help improve ourselves, especially our skin! With this in mind, we wanted to outline some of the suggested New Years resolutions that we work towards to consistently keep up with keeping our skin looking its best.

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Eat Smart: Given the excess amounts of sweet fixings and the celebratory champagne we all consumed this holiday season, our bodies (especially our skin) is feeling it! Get back on track with your diet and

Drink Water: Dehydration has been shown to cause pre-mature aging especially through the enhancement of fine lines and wrinkles (think raisins!). Make sure you are taking in the recommended amount of 8 glasses of water per day. Health Ambition shares the key health benefits to drinking your daily dosage. 

Stress Free: Stress is a leading indicator for many illnesses and we all should set out each day with a goal to reduces the amount of stress in our lives. There is no magic way of doing so, but if we keep this goal top-of-mind, we can overcome much of the stress that builds up in both our personal and work lives.

Exfoliate Regularly: Ever wonder why all the red carpet celebrities are always glowing? Well, it starts with exfoliation and Dr. Goldfaden is constantly preaching this as he truly believes that a glowing, clear and radiant complexion begins with exfoliation. Plus, there’s no better way to eliminate those unwanted dull and lackluster dead skin cells, dirt and excess makeup.

Stay Hydrated: OILS, OILS, OILS! We love oils because of their versatility since you can use by itself, mix with your favorite moisturizer and even with your foundation. Oils not only work to hydrate, but most offer that glowing and radiant completion that we all lack in the dead of Winter. Plus, given the advancements of the technology being used, many oils offer huge anti-aging benefits as well. We’re loving Goldfaden MD’s newest launch (coming out in February): Fleuressnce. 

Wash Your Makeup Brushes: Bacteria just builds and builds within the brushes bristles and reinfects our makeup which leads to skin irritations and breakouts. It is uber important to regularly clean these brushes, weekly, to keep any bacteria from building and spreading.

Stay Consistent: Topical skincare products take time. We know, you want immediate results, but trust us, be patient and younger-looking and glowing skin will come. It’s important to stay consistent with the recommended application of the products you’re using (AM + PM). Treatment products typically take anywhere between 2-5 weeks to show results.