By: Angela Nobile and Sarah Pitchford
Winter skin, that dull dry skin we all dread as we go into the winter months, is actually preventable with some easy do-at-home techniques. Exfoliation is the No. 1 way to prevent dull skin and to maintain healthy, glowing skin through the winter.
When we are young our skin replenishes at a much higher rate than it does as we age. Early in life, skin cells are replaced every 14 days, resulting in that soft smooth “baby skin” we all love. By the time we reach middle age, it takes 28 to 42 days for the same process. This is why skin can appear dull as we mature. Winter tends to dry out skin, causing even more frustration. A natural reaction is to slather on more lotion, but often it doesn’t help as the lotion just sits on the top layer of dead skin, builds up and doesn’t reach the deeper layers that actually need the moisturizing.
We can help our skin renew itself quicker and absorb moisture more effectively through exfoliation. This can be done by physical or chemical means. While both achieve the same thing – newer, healthier skin – there are options that are better for different parts of the body.
Physical exfoliation uses small particles or a tool to physically scrub dead skin cells away. Body brushes, loofas, salt or apricot scrubs are all examples of physical exfoliation. Chemical exfoliation uses ingredients to dissolve the “glue” that keeps the dead skin holding on. Fruit enzymes, glycolic acid and salicylic acid are a few common chemical exfoliants.
However, more important than choosing an exfoliant is making sure to use it properly. Some physical exfoliants like apricot and salt scrubs are too aggressive for delicate facial skin and can create micro-tears in the tissue. This results in inflamed and damaged skin, which can increase signs of aging. These types of scrubs are best suited for the thicker body skin. An esthetician can help determine the best combination of exfoliants to keep skin soft and glowing all winter long.