The DL on Mechanical Exfoliation
Mechanical exfoliation is anything that physically exfoliates with friction. Examples include scrubs, sugar or salt scrubs, crushed nuts or seeds, brushes, washcloths, loofahs, blades, and microdermabrasion.
Do I recommend this type of exfoliation? Yes and no. Remember when I said that OVER-exfoliating is bad? Mechanical exfoliation is usually not done correctly.
Most clients either use something too harsh or they use it too often—or both. For example, there is a certain scrub on the market that uses crushed walnut shell as its main exfoliant. It is famously known in the Esthetics world to cause micro-tears in the skin, exposing it to infections and irritation…so, that’s bad. Like, really bad. The worst actually.
Usually anything impossibly hard, that is then crushed, will make cuts or tears in the skin. Sometimes a sugar or salt scrub can do this as well because of the extra large size of the granules. A quality sugar scrub is preferred over a salt scrub because the sugar granule is round. A light, gentle hand and lots of water is key here. Be sure the scrub is dissolving easily.
What’s a better option for a scrub? Something that is perfectly round AND can naturally break-down and dissolve. My personal favorite is the Micro Exfoliating Honey Cleanser by Circadia (the primary skin care line here at Elevate Esthetics Parlor), which uses micro-beads of organic BEESWAX. During use, it melts beautifully, hydrates and moisturizes, and absorbs oil at the same time. Cool, huh?!
Now, onto brushes…
Do I recommend a buzzy bristle brush device for face?
Most people overuse the bristle brush device and most don’t change the brush head or clean it properly. Unfortunately, I cannot fully recommend this device unless you find one with an exceptionally soft brush head. It should only be used twice per week, and you should disinfect it each time.
Are there better options? Yes!
Unlike buzzy bristle brushes, the newer devices on the market made with antibacterial silicone are better. These brushes won’t hold any leftover bacteria from your skin or from your bathroom environment. I would even venture to say that these devices could be used up to three times per week—and, hey, you can effectively and easily disinfect them!
Just remember not to overuse. Start by only using the silicone brush once or twice per week. Then, assess how your skin is improving over the course of a couple months. Cautiously graduate to three times per week, and then stay there and reassess again. If irritation occurs, fall back to once or twice a week, but most should not use the device more than three times per week.
Just a reminder, this treatment (and most forms of manual/physical exfoliation) is not recommended for anyone with conditions like rosacea, acne, cystic acne, or a darker Fitzpatrick type, tanning bed users, or those with a recent sunburn.
Here at Elevate Esthetics Parlor, I offer professional treatments that incorporate Mechanical Exfoliation in a safe and effective way, including:
- The Hydra Microderm, a non-crystal, diamond-tip wand that gently glides over wet skin.
- The ever popular Dermaplaning Treatment, a simple and safe technique, utilizing a surgical single-use, stainless steel blade for removing surface dead skin cells, and vellus hair, a.k.a., peach fuzz.
- The Ultrasonic Skin Spatula, a small, hand-held device that features a thin plate that vibrates 25,000 to 28,000 hertz per-second and removes dead skin cells, dirt, and debris. The spatula works by creating high-speed oscillations that extract pores without pain. For those clients with sensitive skin, ultrasonic exfoliation is a wonderful alternative to skin-cleansing brushes, blades and microdermabrasion. I dearly love this device.
- Dry Brushing is also a wonderful option to add on to any facial or also for home use! This is primarily used only on the body. (Although, in the Meditation Facial; I use a super soft heavenly brush specifically made for facial dry brushing!) Benefits of Dry brushing are; removes dead skin cells, stimulates the lymphatic system, unclogs pores and gives stress relief. Dry brushing is a spa-inspired exfoliating technique, using a specific brush, usually made from 100% natural boar bristles that can help loosen dead skin cells from your skin’s surface. At Elevate Esthetics Parlor, I can enhance any facial with this luxurious service! At home, start with clean dry skin and lightly brush in gentle slow motions towards your heart. At your belly, move in a clockwise direction. After your dry brushing session, shower and moisturize.
To find out whether a mechanical exfoliation is right for you, book a skincare consultation today!
Tomorrow, I’ll be sharing part 3… the ins and outs of chemical exfoliation, including my favorite at-home exfoliation superstars!