Exfoliation is often the ‘go to’ in many people’s minds for treating congested or dull, tired looking skin and microdermabrasion certainly exfoliates thoroughly. This unfortunately is a simplistic approach and will not treat skin issues in the long term. All skin conditions involve an inflammatory element, whether it be caused by environment, skin flora, or hormones. Simply exfoliating the skin may temporarily unblock follicles or brighten the skin from removing a superficial layer, but it will not change the health of the skin cell and the way it behaves, or offer further protection or control of the internal or external environment that is causing the problem in the first place.
A large percentage of skins that we see will be impaired and compromised from accumulative damage from UV and the use of poor skin care and make up, and poor diet and lifestyle. You may be genetically predisposed to a more inflamed skin, but conditions often arise from those external elements.
This being the case, it is essential to repair what is termed as ‘the lipid barrier’, which should be a beautiful synergy of excretions from the skin of fats, ceramides, and lipids. This is essential for skin health as it is antibacterial, antiviral and maintains all important hydration in the skin. For many people, these external aggressors completely disrupt this protective layer which leads to hydration loss, less protection and subsequent sensitivity, redness and inflammation. Even an oily skin will have an imbalanced lipid barrier or flora, which allows bad bacteria to thrive, continuing the inflammatory cycle.
So, you can see why microdermabrasion alone won’t answer your skin issues – for some it is just not the correct treatment and for others it will not work long-term without using mediums that will change the skin from ‘unhealthy’ to ‘healthy.’ Mediums that change the skin are ingredients such as vitamin A (retinols), antioxidants, AHAs and BHAs. These ingredients, if recommended with the appropriate formulation and dose, will change the internal environment of the skin. They will restore the lipid barrier, resulting in homeostasis or balance in the skin. This reduces bad bacteria in the skin and reestablished hydration. Good hydration effects so many functions in the skin as it is necessary for enzymes to communicate and initiate processes to maintain skin health and protection.
Thickened sun-damaged skins, or thickened oily skins become quite resistant, so a good exfoliation can be necessary. At a superficial level exfoliation will unblock blocked follicles that create acne or brighten a dull skin by removing dead skin cells, but the condition will reoccur without changing the internal environment of the skin.
Points to remember:
Is your skin sensitive? Then exfoliation at least initially will not be appropriate for you.
Have you been advised to prepare your skin before treatment on good active skincare? This is always key to an optimal result.
Do the exfoliation treatments or treatment plan that you have been recommended involve putting topical nutrition back into the skin?
Is your skin truly oily? Often acne can be caused by dry, hyper-keratinised or thickened skin.
Making skin cell changes or reversing damage in the skin takes time. The damage that has occurred in your skin has happened over many years., so don’t expect a ‘quick fix’. A course of three or four treatments of most modalities will not answer your skin concerns long-term.
Your Skin Team Leader Lauren x