Friday, 29 July 2011 16:05

Looking Beyond the Basics of Exfoliation

Written by  

Exfoliation and aesthetics simply go hand-in-hand. Aestheticians have been using exfoliation means in the form of chemicals, enzymes and scrubs for decades and have an understanding of skin biology that allows them to recognize the characteristics of healthy skin at any age. Exfoliation is a critical process in skin rejuvenation and the maintenance of healthy skin. Regular exfoliation can help improve skin appearance, smooth the texture of the skin, reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and promote a more even skin tone by visibly reducing the signs of hyperpigmentation.

In the past 20 years, the aesthetics industry has evolved and grown, yet the means of exfoliation have remained tried and true. One thing that has changed is the beauty industry as a whole. Exfoliating products, chemical peels and at-home microdermabrasion kits have created a variable for all aestheticians to consider before performing an exfoliation treatment. As beneficial as exfoliation may be, there is its opposite, over exfoliation. Every aesthetician should comprehend the fundamentals and the process of exfoliation to offer a treatment with beneficial and long lasting results.
One of the most important tools an aesthetician has is three of the five senses: sight, touch and sound. These senses should be used simultaneously in the treatment room for every aspect of the service. During the consultation process, actively listen to the client and make note of what they may be using at home. Perform a skin analysis with the eyes and hands, these senses may tell you a lot about the skin and help determine the treatment path. Does the skin show visible signs of dehydration, sun damage, capillary damage, wounds or breakouts? Color is another important observation. Is the client's skin multiracial or have more red, brown or yellow tendencies? Do they have any signs of over-exfoliation: Increased sensitivity, redness, increased dryness or dehydration? Feel the skin for surface imperfections, warmth, hydration and turgor. Performing an active consultation can help determine which treatment path is best suited for the client.Exfoliation procedures may be classified into three simple groups – mechanical, chemical and enzyme – and measured by the levels of exfoliation they may achieve. When the exfoliation process is achieved with a common scrub, shaving, dermaplaning or microdermabrasion it is called mechanical exfoliation; it requires the work of a tool or product in motion to remove very superficial layers of skin. One of the interesting aspects of mechanical exfoliation is that the depth of exfoliation can vary greatly from one tool to another. For example, dermaplaning has become a popular treatment for aestheticians to perform. Plastic surgeons performed dermaplaning procedures long before aestheticians discovered the procedure, by using a scalpel to essentially plane dead skin down to the papillary dermis for skin rejuvenation. Aestheticians have learned to modify the procedure to help remove unwanted vellus hair from the face. A beneficial alternative to a facial waxing procedure. Performing a chemical peel or enzyme exfoliation before the dermaplaning or microdermabrasion process in the treatment room may accelerate the result you can achieve for sun damaged or non-inflamed acneic skin types.

Chemical peels are classified into several groups (alpha or beta hydroxy acids, acid-enzyme blends, Jessner or TCA) with the concentration or strength being measured by percentage, pH and the solution suspension or buffering.
All of these factors will help determine whether the chemical peel is left on the skin for absorption or if it is neutralized within a specific time period. Peel strength and blend may also determine the type of skin the chemical should be used on for the best result. For example, dry skin benefits more from the moisturization results from a lactic acid, whereas an oily problematic skin will benefit from a pore refining and oil-minimizing salicylic acid. Sun damaged skin may receive accelerated benefits from a combination of glycolic acid and microdermabrasion or a single superficial to medium treatment with a TCA or Jessner solution. Chemical peels can be beneficial when used as directed and on the appropriate skin type. A salicylic acid treatment followed by ultrasonic technology may increase the risk of skin irritation and dehydration on some clients.
Most acids are water-soluble or partially soluble in water. Alpha hydroxy acids – depending on the strength and suspension – may continue to penetrate through the layers of skin until neutralized with blood. Hence, why aestheticians should always monitor the skin for signs of over-exfoliation and follow the manufacturer's instruction during a treatment. For example, a chemical peel with added enzymes applied then neutralized could promote improved moisturization and retention after the treatment.This same peel may also be used with steam or hot towels, or left on the skin for a longer period, yet result in a chemical or first-degree burn that may require more down time for healing and re-epithelialization. Without proper application or instruction, a client may suffer from burning, weeping, crusting, hyperpigmentation, inflammation or irritation of the skin, or have an allergic reaction. Aside from basic chemical solutions, superficial to mid-depth chemical exfoliation may result in scarring, lines of demarcation, hyperpigmentation or hypopigmentation. One of the most important aspects of performing a chemical peel of any kind is for the aesthetician to have proper training and licensing with the different solutions and to educate the client on the importance of skin care at home.
Exfoliation followed by daily sun protection is vital to help maintain the anti-aging benefits received from these treatments. Tanning is the skin's natural response to ultraviolet radiation. It involves the process of melanogenesis and keratinization to produce a natural sun shield and help protect the underlying layers of skin and body tissues. As the skin is exfoliated, this protective layer is damaged and the newly surfaced cells are more susceptible to sun burn and damage. Anti-aging procedures are generally designed as treatments to help reverse the signs of sun damaged skin. Exfoliation is one of the primary means to help accelerate the results and improve the absorption of amino peptides, vitamin C and hyaluronic acid. Without sun protection, the results may be short-term and there may be unknown long-term consequences for repeated sun exposure after exfoliation.

In recent years, professional exfoliation treatments have become readily available with group coupons and clientele can purchase "professional" peel products, prescription retinol and at-home microdermabrasion machines over the Internet. The ultimate question is what can aestheticians do to help educate them on the pros and cons of exfoliation, while maintaining the safest and most beneficial procedures in the treatment room? Professional skin care providers must make an active effort to keep their personal education up-to-date, follow the rules of exfoliation, and educate their clientele on the importance of exfoliation, home care andsun protection.

A skin care professional in all aspects of the aesthetic industry, Tina Zillmann is a practicing aesthetician, business owner and director for San Antonio, Texas-based Skin Rejuvenation Clinique®, Inc. and the nationally recognized skin care line Advanced Rejuvenating Concepts™. Her recognition as a valued educator, writer and speaker continues to fuel her spirit for aesthetics for future generations of aestheticians.





Polish, soften and smooth skin with Citrus Lavender Sea Salt Scrub from Astara Skin Care. Dead Sea salts and papaya enzymes promote the absorption of a nourishing botanical cocktail, to nourish the skin and nurture the soul. A glycerin base leaves skin hydrated without an oily residue. 888-728-9191 or

Using the tourmaline charged exfoliating cleanser from Aveda™ increase cell turnover and remove impurities. Then, nourish stressed feet with foot relief™ which is a soothing cream blended with active herbs, exfoliating fruit acids and plant-derived oils like jojoba and castor; tough, stressed feet are smoothed, cooled and moisture-charged. 763-951-4137 or

Bath By Bettijo's new CocoaMint Fresh Foot Scrub combines raw cocoa butter and sugar to buff away dry skin, leaving your client's feet soft and smooth. Pure peppermint essential oil revives aching muscles, putting a little pep in their step. 877-528-1584 or

hydrating body buffer from cures by avancé® provides a gentle process of exfoliation by way of purifying seaweed extracts that delicately buff and brighten the epidermis. Perfectly polished, the skin becomes velvety smooth with a soft shimmer. 800-777-7546 or

Used as a scrub, de la terre SKINCARE®'s Herb Rich Clay, brightens pigmentation, reduces redness, purifies clogged pores and provides nutritional supplementation. 828-252-8400 or delaterreskincare

Elina Organics SKIN CARE's Organic Scrub is an all-natural formula that gently and naturally exfoliates the skin with walnut shells; extracts of rose hips, yarrow, honey; and essential oils of lavender, mandarin and rosewood. 877-384-8300 or

The GUINOT Sugar-Kiwi Body Scrub has a delectable texture and is formulated with 100 percent natural active ingredients. It includes four different types of exfoliating particles; white and brown sugar, salt and kiwi seeds. 800-523-1030 or

The E.A.R.T.H. range of products, from kyoků for men®, fuses together Indonesian heartwood and quartz crystal to provide anti-inflammatory effects and promote skin firmness. BDY-SC EARTH: earth body scrub deeply cleanses the body with a grounding smokey and woody scent.

MALIBU®'s light, plant-rich, hydrating Botanical Facial Scrub gently exfoliates the surface layers of skin leaving skin refreshingly toned and radiantly smooth. 800-622-7332 or

Delightfully creamy, Silky Skin Body Scrub, from pevonia® BOTANICA, gently polishes away superficial impurities with jojoba beads, rosemary, sage and allantoin. As rough patches vanish, radiant, silky-soft skin emerges. 800-PEVONIA or

Sanítas Skincare's Lemon Cream Scrub is a fresh scented facial scrub that manually exfoliates dead skin cells and stimulates new tissue growth while delivering nutrients and antioxidants. 888-855-8425 or

South Seas® South Pacific Sunrise COFFEE SCRUB is a tantalizing blend of premium ground coffee, shea butter and essential oils, coupled with the firming effects of caffeine, known to reduce cellulite, gives skin a younger, healthier appearance. 866-961-9903 or

SOY BEAUTY®'s VELVET SKIN POLISHER is a soothing gommage peeling cream and exfoliant that leaves skin feeling velvety smooth. The all natural gentle facial scrub rich in soy isoflavones helps remove blackheads and unclog pores, while revealing the skins' surface. 866-640-7546 or

The Organic Pharmacy's Resculpting Body Scrub is a unique gel formula scrub that rinses off easily, leaving skin smooth, soft and nourished. Massage all over in circular movements concentrating on thighs, buttocks, tummy and upper arms. This scrub is enriched with green coffee, chili, ginger and bamboo exfoliant. theorganic-pharmacy

Floridian, from TERRA DOLCE® has a warm citrus scent that will rid your client's skin of all impurities and dullness. This scrub improves circulation, texture, tone and health of the skin; plump and smoothes skin through exfoliation. 888-693-6523 or

The Spoiled Mama's Mojito Sugar Scrub is a non-alcoholic cocktail scrub that exfoliates and prevents stretch marks. Contains essential oils, lime, and certified organic turbinado sugar that will revive your client with the bracing scent of juicy lime and fresh mint. 877-657-7645 or thespoiledmama


Dr. Grandel's Effect Peeling is based on enzymes and finely grinded bamboo that thoroughly removes keratinized upper skin cells and impurities, giving the skin a radiant and refreshed look. At the same time China clay absorbs excess sebum production, refines the pores and the skin surface, promoting a smooth and clear complexion. 866-693-7006 (W), 888-845-1191 (SW/MW/NE/SE), 800-561-3766 (Canada) or

The Cane Sugar Scrubs from Ola hawai'i moisturize skin while smoothing away imperfections. Hawaiian cane sugar and organic Lehua honey are whipped together to refresh and rejuvenate skin with the added tropical oils and nut butters to provide vitamins and proteins that are essential for healthy skin and a natural glow.


Want to read more?

Subscribe to one of our monthly plans to continue reading this article.

Login to post comments


body { overflow-y: auto; } html, body { min-width: unset; }