Years of daily exposure to ultraviolet radiation and long Summer sun days at the beach take their toll on your skin. Sun-damaged skin becomes dry and rough, uneven patches and dark spots begin to appear, fine lines and wrinkles deepen, and your skin loses its firmness and elasticity. And, if you spent any part of your youth sunbathing you may find that your skin looks years older than you feel. Scientific research has led to the discovery of natural compounds that can help support the structure of skin as well as minimize signs of aging, such as crow’s feet, lines, sagging, and uneven tone. Many of these natural compounds come from the foods we eat. Dermatological research increasingly focuses on the value of exfoliation followed by a topical application of concentrated extracts of nutrient-rich foods to even out the skin tone, naturally!
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, increase the appearance of discoloration 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.
The 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.
How to Pick a Good Exfoliating Scrub + Skin Lightening Product
In general, choosing the right exfoliating scrub from all the commercial products on the market today depends a great deal upon the thickness and sensitivity of your skin. It’s important to remember that all kinds of particles can be used for exfoliation, and mainstream products encompass a wide and varied selection. With that being said, it is extremely important to acknowledge particles that are perfectly round in shape. Some examples include, Amber Crystals and Conundrum/Ruby Crystals, found in Goldfaden MD’s Doctor’s Scrub, to name a few. This lessens the likelihood of tears happening in the skin. It’s also important to realize that certain ingredients, although natural, may not be appropriate for your skin type. Some natural products, such as crushed nutshells, sea shells, pumice, ground fruit pits and seeds, have uneven edges and irregular shapes that can damage sensitive skin. The best exfoliating scrub is the one that effectively removes your dead surface skin cells but, at the same time, is gentle to the rest of your skin.
The final group of compounds that can improve the health and appearance of aged skin are skin-lightening agents. These compounds help reduce unsightly, mottled areas of hyperpigmentation where melanin has pooled underneath the skin. It is important to select and look for naturally-based skin lightening agents so that you avoid further skin damage. Many all-natural, topical skin-lightening agents have been found to be quite beneficial in lightening hyperpigmented areas of the skin. These include alpha arbutin, kojic acid, which comes from berries, Gooseberry Extract, and Nicatinamide. Topical applications of natural, fruit-derived alpha-hydroxy acids, including glycolic acid, have been extremely beneficial in combination with the aforementioned bleaching agents. It is important to select and look for naturally-based skin lightening agents so that you avoid further skin damage.
There’s no doubt in my mind that regular exfoliation, followed by a topical lightening treatment and daily sunscreen use is absolutely essential to maintaining smooth skin and keeping the appearance of hyperpigmentation and wrinkles at bay.