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Precisely Polished: A Mechanical  and Body Exfoliation Treatment

While exfoliation may seem like a fluff step in professional and homecare routines, it is actually critical for optimal skin health and a glowing, refreshed complexion. There is nothing quite like the look and feel of skin that has been recently exfoliated. Although exfoliation is suitable for all skin types, choosing which exfoliation method will work best for each client can be challenging.

Best Exfoliant Based on Client Concerns

Written by Brenda Linday, L.E., L.E.I., C.A.C.
Best Exfoliant Based on Client Concerns

What client does not want to live with perfect skin? Every client's skin is unique and experienced, knowledgeable skin care professionals learn to customize treatment regimens that balance each client's needs and concerns with reliable, affordable, and innovative methods.

Introduction to Exfoliation

• Physical or mechanical exfoliation breaks up the keratinized protein that accumulates on the skin's surface, lifting and whisking away dry, dull cell debris to reveal softer skin.
• Chemical exfoliation uses topical ingredients to dissolve cell debris for a glowing finish.

A New Theory on Over-Exfoliating the Skin

Written by Ben Johnson, M.D.
A New Theory on Over-Exfoliating the Skin

Exfoliation has become one of the most dominant activities in skin care and is considered by many to be beneficial as it refreshes the skin and removes dead cells. Before accepting this concept at face value, it is important for skin care professionals to examine why science might be hinting at something completely different.

Exfoliation Practices
Here are some of the methods currently being utilized for exfoliation by professionals.

An Introduction to Exfoliation

Exfoliation is the removal of the dead skin cells that reside on the outermost layer of the skin. This practice is often recommended because it reveals a fresh layer of skin that is softer, more radiant, and more accepting of product ingredients. Exfoliation can be achieved through physical, chemical, and mechanical methods. Because each of these approaches have different depths of exfoliation and levels of efficacy, not every method is ideal for every client.

A Step-by-Step: Full Body Salt Scrub

Exfoliation removes dead cells, taking dullness and flakiness with it and revealing a new layer of glowing, healthy skin. Despite its benefits, exfoliation is often skipped in skin care routines.

The Scrubdown on Exfoliation

Written by Christiane Waldron
The Scrubdown on Exfoliation

When clients are informed that the top layer of their skin is composed of dead skin cells, they are usually surprised. With that one statement, clients can often be convinced of the importance of exfoliation. Despite its importance, many skin care professionals still do not know what to recommend when it comes to exfoliation.

The Case for Exfoliation: Breaking through consumer myths about this vital skin care step

Exfoliation has been touted as a vital skin care step for long enough now that nearly every skin care consumer realizes it is a recommended part of their regimen. But knowing that a product or step is beneficial does not always mean consumers will adopt it. In fact, many skin care professionals have encountered clients who claim that exfoliation just is not their thing.

Exfoliation and Ethnicity

Written by Cynthia Price, M.D.
Exfoliation and Ethnicity

It is a well-known fact that exfoliation is essential to the health of the skin. From the time of the Egyptians, when milk was used for its alpha hydroxy acid benefits, to today, when chemical peels are being utilized more than ever, people all over the world are aware of the importance of regular exfoliation.

Getting Down to the Nitty Gritty  Exfoliation and Why it is Essential to Skin Care

From an early age, it is taught that exfoliation is important for healthy skin, but just how important is it? In a nutshell, it is essential. While exfoliation is a natural process of the skin, this process does slow down over time and may need encouragement via mechanical or chemical exfoliants. Of course, over exfoliation can have adverse effects. How can skin care professionals choose the appropriate exfoliation method for their client? How much is too much? What exfoliants are available?

Combating Winter Skin Complications with Exfoliation

Clients that battle skin conditions year-round will often find their battles escalating into wars during the winter. Dryness, rosacea, psoriasis, eczema, acne, and more can make the holiday season a little less comfortable.

Skin Exfoliation

Written by Christine Heathman, C.M.E., L.M.E., L.M.T.
Skin Exfoliation

Exfoliation simply means the removal of corneocytes on the skin’s epidermis. This complicated immune organ sheds billions of skin cells daily; however, when this natural desquamation slows down or stops due to ultraviolet ray damage, dehydrated or oily skin, winter cold injury, genetics, or skin disorders, the end point is clearly identifiable ensuing in flaky skin, congested pores, and various inflammatory/non-inflammatory acne lesions, resulting in uneven, blotchy, and aged skin.

Can Your Lifestyle Prevent Aging? How aestheticians can define themselves by quality of care

Facial beauty is defined by structure: shapely cheekbones, eyebrows that accentuate, large eyes, full lips, and a lean, slender neck. From the collarbone to the top of our forehead, there is bone that gives our face shape and structure and a large group of muscles that work seamlessly to communicate our expressions and help shape our words. Despite all of this, we have the capability to age gracefully or barely age at all.

Progressive Peel Techniques: How to develop a strategy for effective exfoliation

With the numerous professional exfoliation solutions and infinite application options available to today’s aesthetician, it can be overwhelming to determine the best peel treatment plan for each individual client. Developing a strategy for safe peel application to avoid common complications and achieve optimal results is key to a successful outcome and client satisfaction.

Exfoliation: It’s More Than Skin Deep

Written by Brenda Linday, L.E., L.E.I.
Exfoliation: It’s More Than Skin Deep

Many of our clients’ skin concerns are related to excessive dead skin cell buildup, a compromised barrier function, wrinkles, acne, or discolorations of the skin. To achieve skin wellness, it is necessary to offer a corrective treatment plan that will attain results, such as a chemical peel, that our customer desires.

The Science Behind Professional Exfoliation

Written by Christine Heathman C.M.E., L.M.T., L.M.A.
The Science Behind Professional Exfoliation

Caring for skin to eliminate dead corneocyte deposits from the stratum corneum (SC) epidermis to uncover a new generation of skin requires inherent biological desquamation and professional physical exfoliation functioning in concert. Several skin care and chemical manufacturers provide various professional products in the form of diverse constituents and instruments including, but not limited to, chemicals, enzymes, microdermabrasion, cavitation, benzoyl peroxide, acids, masks, mechanical beads, and other desquamating facilitators. It is important that skin care professionals know what the safest products are to use during exfoliation procedures.
There is an actual science to professional exfoliation. 

Exfoliating Acids

Written by Ivana S. Veljkovic, Ph.D.
Exfoliating Acids

The use of exfoliating acids for chemical peeling procedures is one of the most dependable and recognized methods for safely improving the overall health and appearance of the skin. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, upwards of 1.1 million chemical peels were performed in 2012. The option available to the professional for treating their patients has expanded greatly, so going back to basics and exploring the characteristics and mechanisms of action of each different type of exfoliating acid can be useful. Then, exploring which of these acids work well together in blends will help the professional choose what is best for their patients.

Achieving Beautiful Skin: Exfoliation Methods for Your Client Web Exclusive

Written by Anna Sforza, licensed aesthetician and product educator for Somme Institute
Achieving Beautiful Skin: Exfoliation Methods for Your Client

Exfoliation is the first step to attaining and maintaining beautiful skin. With so many options to choose from and the majority of our clientele being unfamiliar with the various exfoliation methods, it is imperative to be well educated about what is available to us as professionals. From chemical peels to microdermabrasions to enzymes, rotary brushes and scrubs, it is our job to inform our clients on which procedure is right for their skin type and crucial to their skin care goals. Exfoliation removes dead skin cells, unclogs pores, stimulates cellular turnover, reveals a healthier layer of skin cells, and brightens skin by removing surface hyperpigmentation. It is great for acneic skin as it unclogs pores, helping oil to reach the surface and reduce breakouts.

The Boundaries of Exfoliation

We all know a necessary part of maintaining healthy skin is regular exfoliation. Removing the buildup of dead skin cells is essential for preventing fine lines and wrinkles, eliminating congestion in the hair follicles, reducing recurring acne breakouts, and helping to maintain a healthy complexion. Dead skin cell buildup also inhibits maximum results from topical skin care products.
As we age, the metabolic rate of cell turnover naturally begins to slow down. By sloughing dead skin cells off the surface, new healthy cells are stimulated. Accelerating the metabolic rate of cell renewal resets the aging clock back to a more youthful time of heightened cell growth. Without question, exfoliating the skin’s surface at different levels on a regular basis helps it to look brighter, evenly toned, fresh and radiantly youthful.

Polished to Perfection

Written by Whitney Johnson
Polished to Perfection

Exfoliation is the skin therapist’s art of uncovering what lies beneath. Skin care professionals know that exfoliation, including the new generation of chemical peels, allows for optimum penetration of any active ingredient. With a high demand of consumers desiring a smooth, refined feel to the skin, this essential aspect of the professional skin care service is more important today than ever before. To get optimum results, a complete understanding of the service is required. Simply put, a great exfoliation service is far more than a scrub and rub. As skin therapists, we have a huge opportunity to educate ourselves in this area and integrate sophisticated exfoliation ingredient technology into our menu. The current breakthroughs in medicine spa level chemical peels, for instance, indicate the contemporary client’s level of expectation.

Exfoliation Techniques

Written by Kristina Valiani
Exfoliation Techniques

Exfoliation is key to maintaining healthy, functioning skin. Many facials include exfoliation within their protocol and all skin types and conditions can benefit from some form of exfoliation. Our skin naturally reproduces and brings healthy, new skin to the surface while regularly shedding the dead, outermost layer. However, throughout the aging process and following menopause, this natural shedding process slows and can lead skin to look dull, rough and dry. The benefits from exfoliation include improved texture and tone, lightened pigmentation, unclogged pores, a clearer complexion, reduction in acne breakouts, and reduction in the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Getting the Most out of Microdermabrasion

It is the most fundamental and rewarding procedure to accelerate results and give the skin a softer, smoother appearance. Clients ask for it by name because it diminishes fine lines, refines the look of the pores, improves textural changes, and is a viable treatment for acne management. The epidermal remodeling benefits of microdermabrasion are performed in aesthetic treatment rooms, physician's offices and – with thanks to the boom of the beauty industry – it is available to consumers in the convenience of their home. Having been an established means of skin rejuvenation since the early 1980s, there are plenty of features about microdermabrasion in national beauty magazines because it is so well researched.

Exfoliating Ethnic Skin

Not all exfoliating methods are created equal, especially when it comes to treating ethnic skin. In order to provide your patients of color with safe and effective exfoliation procedures, it is imperative to understand the differences in the structure and function of ethnic skin. As we become a more blended global society, many patients we treat will have mixed heritage. Even a patient who has very light skin, but has Asian, African, or Hispanic ancestry will need to be exfoliated with more gentle techniques as if they were a patient with very dark, Fitzpatrick VI skin.

The Benefits of Professional Skin Exfoliation

Human skin, like all other organs, undergoes chronological aging. Skin aging is characterized histologically by irregularly dispersed melanocytes, elastosis, reduction, and alterations in collagen and accumulation of a variety of lipid-derived pigments such as chromolipoids and lipofuscins. These internal and silent histological shifts manifest clinically in the skin and the visible benchmarks are identified by fine and coarse wrinkling, roughness, laxity, dryness, sallowness, pigmentary moddling, and actinic keratosis conditions.

What common link is the primary foundation of skin aging? The environment. Skin in direct contact with the environment undergoes all consequences of environmental damage causing dry skin, thereby exacerbating aging.

Exfoliation of Ethnic Skin

When and how to perform exfoliation treatments on ethnic skin has been complicated by history, and lack of training, in spite of new advances in technologies. Ethnic skin has a propensity to develop hyperpigmentation when overly traumatized, or hyperpigmentation, a lighter discoloration of the skin when the appropriate products or treatments are not utilized. How and why this happens will be explained as it relates to the exfoliation treatments available to most skin care professionals.

Can Aged Skin be Reversed?

The skin care industry has spent the last 20 years on a mission: to slow/stop the aging process and/or reverse damage that has already occurred. If we polled physicians and aestheticians today on whether or not our mission has been "accomplished," the answer would likely be a near unanimous "no". Regardless, the industry claims from manufacturers include an endless parade of "age-reversing", "ageless", and/or "anti-aging" miracle products. Is there any hope of achieving such lofty claims?

Fundamentals of Exfoliation

We are bombarded regularly by commercials and advertisements extolling the virtues of exfoliation. Products contain "micro-scrubbers", apricot pit grounds, and other ingredients touted to scrub away the outer layers of dead skin cells while "making skin appear fresh and beautiful." About a decade ago microdermabrasion was introduced, while chemical peels have been used for decades. Yet as exfoliation use is burgeoning, the incidence of skin cancer has continued increasing faster despite the introduction of high potency sunscreens (>SPF 15). Understanding the science behind exfoliation is important for any skin care professional in order to provide the best service to your clients.

Cosmetic Exfoliants vs. Medical Peels for Sun Damaged Skin

The skin care industry has spent the last 20 years on a mission: to slow/stop the aging process and/or reverse damage that has already occurred. If we polled physicians and aestheticians today on whether or not our mission has been "accomplished," the answer would likely be a near unanimous "no". Regardless, the industry claims from manufacturers include an endless parade of "age-reversing", "ageless", and/or "anti-aging" miracle products. Is there any hope of achieving such lofty claims?

Exfoliation Does a Body Good

How does an aesthetician or therapist determine a recommendation for a body treatment for their guest? Which one works best: Body scrubs, polish, glow, gommage, or chemical peels therapies for an exfoliation treatment that will also soothe, nourish, protocols… how is one to choose? Salt or sugar?  Mud or seaweed? The good news is there is not really a wrong choice – just a more qualified choice for the client Spa guests need education on the value of the services offered, for them to know the importance of each. Most spas fail to promote the only body treatment. While massage is an important aspect or body treatment, there are so many opportunities to treat, heal, spoil, pampers and give the client a wonderful experience with a body treatment.

Excess Exfoliation

As a practicing aesthetician, how do you determine the need for a light to mid-depth peel like trichloroacetic acid (TCA) or Jessner solutions? In some states, these peel treatments may not be permitted by stand-alone aestheticians – even then, it may not be the State, but an insurance carrier preventing the treatment in a facility. Once eligibility is determined, there is the wide-ranging availability of the peel in many solutions, protocols to be followed per the manufacturer, and training that may be required.

Crystals or Diamonds?

Microdermabrasion is an incredible invention! It has allowed us to give our clients spectacular results with little to no downtime. Are you using microdermabrasion in your own spa? If you aren't, you should be! It has gained in popularity over the past 20 years. However, do you know what it really does to your client's skin and why you are getting such great results? What about the newest form of microdermabrasion, the crystal free machine? Do you know the difference between crystal and crystal free and which is best for your clientele? Have no fears, I am here to tell you all the ins and outs of microdermabrasion, what it does to the skin, and educate you so that you can pick the best machine for your own practice.

What Exactly is Microdermabrasion?

Your Business "Illuminated"

Although most of us are drawn to this industry by our enthusiastic passion for skin care, in order to succeed, it becomes necessary for us to focus on the business aspect of our passion and to ask ourselves if we are doing all that we can to attract and retain clients. In addition to having access to professional product lines and providing services in an appropriate atmosphere, we offer the "three E's": education, experience, and expertise. Our clients expect us to use these skills to analyze, treat, and make recommendations specific to their personal needs and expectations.

Choosing the Right Exfoliant

In this age of chemical exfoliants, aestheticians have many choices to make when deciding what to use when treating client's skin. In our struggling economy, we all work hard to make the best choices when choosing which products to use so as to maximize results while minimizing costs in the treatment room. We also have to carefully consider these factors when recommending to our clientele what they should use for their home care regimen to complement the treatments we provide.

Indentifying Professional Exfoliants

Exfoliation is the name of the skin rejuvenation game. Whether treating acne or aging skin, professional exfoliation is of primary importance in determining any treatment’s direction. Indeed, chemical and physical professional exfoliation has a most illustrious history from wine and milk baths (tartaric and lactic acid) to pumice polishing (microdermabrasion) and the blunt knifelike instrument called a strigils, used by the ancient Egyptians for scraping the skin (the forerunner of dermaplaning).

Dangers of Exfoliation

In the conceptualization and planning stages of this feature we were certain it was going to be among the best coverage we have offered in regards to exfoliation. Indeed I think the information in this feature as well as the supporting articles is very informative and well written. What I know now that I didn't know before we began the process of talking to potential writers, is how difficult it would be to find four people who were willing to contribute to this feature, primarily because of the title. I can only imagine what they would have said if they had seen the cover and opening art for this feature. Their reaction might have been similar to your own and even ours when we first looked at these images – a bit shocked and taken aback. But let's stay focused, and I will get back to the art in a minute.

The Need for Speed

The concept of exfoliation is nothing new, and this most certainly is not the first article you have ever read on the topic. There are ever changing products and equipment for exfoliation. However, the one thing that doesn’t change is the physiological way your skin functions. With that in mind, let’s talk about what it is, why we need it, and how to determine when enough is enough!


Dermatologists, aestheticians, and technicians have used microdermabrasion for over 20 years to combat the signs of photo-aging on the skin, provide treatment for acne and discoloration, and minimize the appearance of superficial wrinkles, scars, and stretch marks on the face and body. Experts in the industry continue to make advancements in technology, technique, and sanitation to provide optimal results and protect their clients and staff. As treatments become all too standard, we must ask how much care are we putting into skin care regimens and treatments. It is important to understand the needs, skin types, backgrounds, and daily regimens of clients, otherwise microdermabrasion can be damaging to their skin and diseases may be spread.

Fanny Facials

You shake it on the dance floor; you sit on it all day. If you pick up something too heavy it stain and cause major pain. The gluteus maximus is the most used part of the body and yet it is so neglected. The buttocks are formed by the masses of the gluteal muscles, or “glutes”, superimposed by a layer of fat. There is a treatment that can offer relaxation, hydration, lifting, and yes, even treat acne that is not on face. Clients are raving how their backside feels softer and firmer after receiving the Fanny Facial, which is an excellent opportunity to offer a treatment that will address every nook and cranny or your client’s concerns.

The Impact of Facial Scrubs

Written by Tom Porter
The Impact of Facial Scrubs

Aestheticians have a big responsibility to their clients' well-being in the treatment room as well as after they leave. While facial scrubs may be the most often employed method of exfoliation in the professional environment, knowing how scrubs affect the skin and how critical it is to properly treat the skin post-scrub can be the difference between exfoliation that can improve skin conditions and a procedure that promotes oxidation and aging.
Scrubs are ingredient compounds usually formulated with small, hard particles suspended in a cream, gel, or lotion, often containing a light surfactant cleansing agent plus skin conditioners and moisturizers.

Microdermabrasion Applications

Compared to a chemical peel, microdermabrasion offers the benefit of more precision and enhanced results, with no down time. Treatments are arranged as sessions generally as part of a four to eight visit strategy, with the goal of accelerating the regeneration of cells to the outer surface of the skin. This article will provide additional applications and describe alternative therapies, as well as delineate contraindications.

The Art of Exfoliation

Nowadays we all want to look younger in relation to our individual lifestyles and careers.Younger looking skin is attainable with proper exfoliation, so the less painful, expensive, abrasive, and the more accessible the better. Exfoliation is the aesthetician and the consumer's ticket to an easy and non-surgical way to rejuvenate the skin. Whatever one's budget, time commitment, or pain level, exfoliation can be customized to one's choices and comes in multiple formats. Exfoliation should also be performed at home, on the face and on the body, and has been the secret to beauty around the world. From the days of Cleopatra, exfoliation has been the secret to younger looking skin.

Thinking of Adding a New Service to Your Menu?  Try Microdermabrasion

As a former spa owner, I know how nerve wracking it can be to add a new service to your menu. There is a variety of issues to consider – from staffing to cost to space requirements (if a machine is involved). The first step is to create a list of questions to ask yourself in order to make the best decision possible. Some of these questions include:

  1. What are my clients asking for? What service would they most respond to?
  2. What is the cost involved with incorporating this service into my salon?
  3. Will I need to hire additional staff or pay to train my own?
  4. Do my competitors offer this service? If so, how is the service performing?