Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Your Ultimate Exfoliation Routine: Daily Facial Exfoliation

This post is the third installment in the Ultimate Circulation and Exfoliation routine series.  So far we've discussed  the importance of promoting high circulation in our bodies.  Then we focused on how to create a full body glow through daily exfoliation. 

Now let's move on to an area that's fairly new to me.  Last year, when I got serious about my skin care, one of the affirmations I would say over and over again is "I have clear, glowing skin."   At the time, my skin was the opposite of the words I would recite on a daily basis.  I didn't even know how to create clear glowing skin.  But then things changed.  A series of random events led me to Lady Dee and things haven't quite been the same sense.  I believe that my journey wouldn't have taken me where I am today if it weren't for my belief in the skin I felt I was capable of experiencing.  My consistent thoughts and focus on what I desired have undoubtedly taken me closer to the outcome I envisioned. 

Prior to recently, I rarely exfoliated my face.  In the past I used St. Ives, Aveeno and other drug store exfoliators a couple of days a week (when I remembered).  I can't say that the results were mind blowing.  I didn't get into the habit of consistent exfoliation until after my first skin peel.  The change in my skin was drastic and  I wanted to do anything I could to maintain those results.  At first, I feared the idea of exfoliating my skin daily.  It just seemed excessive and maybe even dangerous. 

A couple of factors impacted my change in mindset.

1. First, Lady Dee shared that many of her celebrity clients received skin peels on a very regular basis.
2. I read an online article where Chilli (from TLC) shared that she enjoyed chemical peels monthly.

At this moment, I don't intend on doing chemical peels on a regular basis.  So I decided to do what I can daily to keep my skin feeling smooth and to eliminate my acne scarring. 

Allow me share a little about what I'm using currently for my facial circulation and exfoliation routine. 

1.  Fresh Face Polish (manual exfoliation).  You have seen this product mentioned in several posts.  Ladies, I love this stuff with all of my heart.   I  adore the fact that it's gentle enough to be used daily and powerful enough to give my skin a slight glow with every use.  The cost is a little steep but, believe me when I say that you get what you pay for.  The quality is amazing and you get enough product to last a very long time.   I've experimented with using this daily and going without.  When I chose the later option, I can see an obvious difference in my skin.  

2. The Clarisonic (manual exfoliation & circulation).  What's great about this tool is that it provides three distinct benefits.  Circulation, (mild) exfoliation, and toning.  The Clarisonic is one of those things that may not make an immediate shift in your skin right way, but used consistently, you are promoting long term benefits from the stimulation of the circulating brush head.  It took me a long time to fork over $200.00 for a facial brush.  Prior to giving in, I bought a knock off for $40.00 which didn't perform as well and broke several months after use.  Eventually I came to my senses and never looked back.  This product is an investment that you will never regret. 

3.  Mandelic Acid (mild chemical exfoliation): In my skin care routine video I shared that I wanted to begin implementing mild chemical exfoliation into my regimen.  I wanted something mild enough to be used several times a week, if need be.  My search lead me to a mandelic acid peel.  Mandelic acid is derived from bitter almonds and is said to be mild enough to be used on darker skin tones.  I felt like this would be a great place to start.  The peel barely stings.  It's super gentle yet I can tell that something is happening.  This is one of those products which will make a different if used consistently over time. 

4. Glycolic Acid (chemical exfoliation): A while ago, I purchased a glycolic acid solution at a facial spa.  I used it a couple of times then stopped.  Now that I'm serious about flawless skin, I'll utilize this serum over my cheeks for a deeper level of exfoliation.  This one stings when I use it.  I feel like it's kinda harsh which is why I use it less frequently then my mandelic acid.  I like the option of having something stronger to use for deeper penetration.  A couple of days ago, I purchased a glycolic acid & hyaluronic acid serum meant to be used on a daily basis.  Can't wait to try it. 

5.  Face Brushing  (manual exfoliation & circulation):  The fifth tool showed in the picture above is probably my favorite. I've recently added facial brushing to my routine. What is facial brushing?  It's that thing where you use a small wooden (nail) brush on your face.  Kinda like dry skin brushing our bodies but instead we're doing it to our face.  Why would one do that?  Because it's probably one of the most effective methods of creating circulation and stimulation all at once.  Don't get me wrong, facial brushing is a little weird at first.  But I absolutely love the way my face looks afterwards.  Plus, one of my favorite aspects of this method is how it promotes facial toning.  As we get older (in our 30s and beyond).  Our bodies start to succumb to the effects of gravity.  If people work out, they can avoid some of that impact to their bodies.  But usually, our face is left to fend for itself.  When I use my facial brush, my skin feels firmer, more toned.  Some say that this method also helps to promote the production of collagen as well. 

I should also mention that I have some retin A that I use from time to time. Retin A promotes chemical exfoliation by causing our skin cells to quickly regenerate.  Honestly, I haven't been consistent with it because I get turned off by the peeling.  Slight peeling can occur as our skin regenerates itself at a rapid rate.  I know I should be more diligent with my Retin A usage but I have this weird thing with peeling ever since I got over my facial dermatitis.  But I'm committed to try again since I know the peeling is temporary and the benefits are long term. 

The other day at work, I ran into a co-worker who has been out on a 90 day leave of absence.  As we reconnected, I became distracted by how healthy and "glowy" her skin was.  Her face had the look of a young child.  After talking business for a little bit, we got on to the topic of her skin.  She shared with me that she'd taken on a new regimen where she stopped using soap.  Instead she exfoliated daily with a scrub.   The skin looked phenomenal.   Heck, I even received a compliment on my skin after meeting a friend for lunch to catch up.  My skin has the tendency to look congested and textured (rough).  But now that I have implemented exfoliation into the equation, I have fairly smooth skin (which is pretty remarkable). 

If you are thinking of incorporating some exfoliation/circulation techniques for your face.  My advice would be to start slow.  For me, it began with the Fresh face polish which I used 2-3 times a week.  When I realized that my skin could take on more, I experimented with using it consistently.  From there I continued my experiment and paid close attention to how my skin responded.  The true testament to how well this is working for me came when I stopped doing my regimen for a couple of weeks.  I didn't use my fresh clay mask or any form of exfoliation. I just washed my face with soap.  The first week was ok but by week 2 my face was showing obvious signs of neglect.  I immediately went into action to bring back my healthy skin and the changes were almost immediate.

Not mentioned in this post is the PMD (personal microdermabrasion kit) which I haven't used regularly enough to comment.  I do see the benefits of this tool but I find that I work better with something if I have to do it more frequently (like daily) otherwise I skip days, weeks and my inconsistency gets the best of me.  Also not mentioned in this post is facial massage and exercise which I may talk more about in an upcoming post. I hope this helps.  You know your skin better than anyone so try and use what works for you.  For me exfoliation is the way to go, not just on my body but all over. 

  1. These are excellent suggestions and excellent product recommendations! I am a firm believer in exfoliation and swear by the glycolic acid products from Peter Thomas Roth and Reviva.

    But, I think you are missing one crucial step in the exfoliating routine. Sunscreen! (And hats!) Yes, I know, it's technically a moisturizer, but it is extremely important to protect your skin after all of that cell turnover. There is no point in exposing the new cells underneath without protecting them and undoing all of your hardwork!

    Once again, thanks for such an informative article:)

    1. Always good to hear from you Neo! I totally agree on the sunscreen and will do a post on this topic as a part of the series. Thanks!

  2. Hi Nadege!
    I am currently going back through some of your older posts as I create my order supplies list and get myself together.

    Where did you get your exfoliating brush? How often do you recommend that I use it for dry skin brushing since I have a clairasonic pro brush that I use twice daily? Thank you for all that you do. Here's to wonderful skin!!

  3. @Anon,
    Hi! If you are referring to the small brush that looks like a mini-body brush, it's actually a foot brush for pedicures. You can find them at places like bath & body works or in the beauty section of Ross, TJ MAXX, Marshalls.