Regular spa treatments will keep your skin in top condition, but it’s also possible to get spa-quality cleansing at home. Firstly, let’s consider how the process of cleansing and exfoliation works.
Exfoliation results in the appearance of smoother, more radiant skin because it removes the dead outer layers of skin. These layers are made up of cells naturally rich in keratin, which makes them harder. As skin cells move up from lower to upper levels of the epidermis (the outer section of the skin, itself made up of several layers), the attachments between cells become weaker and cells start to slough off. This process removes damaged cells and ensures the skin remains healthy. It also allows products such as moisturisers to effectively penetrate the skin.
The process of sloughing off dead cells is more efficient in younger skin. The attachments between the cells are denser in older skin, so the number of cells builds up and it becomes more difficult to remove them. The result is duller, thicker skin with less tone. So it becomes even more important to remove the outer dead cells as we age.
However, exfoliating is useful for all skin types, not just older and dry skin types. It’s especially helpful if you have an uneven skin tone which results in a blotchy appearance. Exfoliating will help smooth out the skin tone. For oily skin, exfoliating can help remove the outer layers which trap oil and sebum, resulting in a cleaner and fresher appearance.
Of course, the process of cleansing is about more than exfoliation. For a complete spa-quality cleansing treatment, there are several other steps, including steaming and, afterwards, toning and moisturising. Steaming beforehand will open up the pores and help with any acne problems, as well as boosting circulation and giving skin a warm glow. A gentle cleanser can also be used instead of exfoliating.
Exfoliation itself may be either mechanical or chemical. Mechanical exfoliation, as the name suggests, works simply by scrubbing off the outer layers. Mechanical exfoliators often contain small plastic beads known as microbeads. In contrast, chemical exfoliators such as hydroxyl acids work chemically to remove and regenerate cells. They are often stronger than mechanical exfoliators. Always consult a professional if you’re not sure which treatment is most suitable for you. Also, don’t be tempted to overdo exfoliation as overuse of some products can lead to irritated skin.
Any spa-quality exfoliating treatment needs spa-quality tools as well as a top quality exfoliating cream. A gentle cloth, dry brush and exfoliating gloves are ideal. Dry brushing can be carried out before showering – apply oil beforehand to get the best benefits. Then hop in the shower, apply exfoliator and use exfoliating gloves to scrub skin in a circular movement. Rinse off with mild to warm water and pat skin dry.
After exfoliating, don’t forget to tone and moisturise. If you use an eye cream, it’s best to apply this after toning but before moisturising. And there you have it – a complete spa-quality cleansing treatment at home.