People often ask us, “What is the one thing you would recommend when it comes to Skin Care?” The answer for both of the Ladies of LV is always the same. EXFOLIATE. Exfoliating face and body is the most important thing you can do for the skin. Consistent exfoliation will benefit you in so many ways.
For both body and face, when we slough off dead skin it guarantees the products you are using on your skin will penetrate deeper and last longer throughout the day. When there is an extra, or several extra layers of dead skin on top of the epidermis, it acts as a barrier covering your healthy, vital skin. This can be costly in more ways than one. Extra costs for moisturizers and oils because you will be using so much of it without receiving any of the benefits. Also costly to that beautiful, vibrant living skin underneath all of those dead layers.
Our healthy skin has a protective layer of oils and acids called the ACID MANTLE. The Acid Mantle provides protection against virus’, bacteria, pollution and any other contaminants that might penetrate the skin. When we don’t take care of the Acid Mantle by exfoliating and moisturizing, it quickly breaks down and no longer provides protection. This is when we see that dehydrated looking skin (taught, scaly, flakey, dull) as well as breakouts (red or white pimples, blackheads) or congestion (lots of little bumps trapped under the skin).
Exfoliating also improves the skin’s tone and texture. Dull, devitalized skin can be easily brightened by daily skin sloughing. On top of removing that dull dead skin, exfoliating also stimulates your collagen & elastin cells as well as your skin cells. This stimulation sends a message to the brain that says “MAKE MORE COLLAGEN AND ELASTIN”. These are the two proteins that give our face lift, tone and plumpness. These connective tissues quickly slow in their production as we age, in fact after the age of 30 we lose 1% of collagen and elastin production every year. Stimulating these cells with exfoliation is an easy way to keep your skin looking youthful and vital. When our skin cells are stimulated, this helps our skin to turnover and renew itself quicker which will help to improve pigmentation, breakouts, congestion, dullness, fine lines and wrinkles.
Consistent exfoliation not only helps to keep your skin happy and healthy, it will also improve your waxes. During a wax exfoliation helps to mitigate hair breakage. When an esthetician applies wax to dry, built-up skin, the wax has a hard time getting as close as it can to the root of the hair, which creates serious breakage potential. After the wax, it helps to manage ingrown hairs and red bumps. Buffing the skin ensures the hair follicle remains unclogged by dead skin and bacteria so those new hairs will release through the skin without getting trapped.
The next important piece of the exfoliation puzzle is HOW OFTEN?? For both face and body, it is safe to exfoliate every day if you are using the right type of technique/product. If you are just starting out on your exfoliation journey, every day can seem like a lot. We understand, and it is perfectly fine to start slow, we recommend three times a week as your minimum.
Now that you know how often you should be exfoliating, let’s talk about what you should be using to achieve the best results. There are several really incredible methods for exfoliation that everyone should play around with to see what best serves them. For the Ladies of LV, we approve of the following techniques;
- Dry Brush: The dry brush is a powerful body exfoliator that is used before the shower on dry skin. Using the brush in small circular or long movements towards the heart, it easily sloughs off loads of dry skin. Be sure to keep your dry brush clean and dry. We like to use a dry brush once at the beginning of the work week. It is invigorating, improves your circulation and will get you ready for the week ahead.
- Scrub: Scrubs come in many shapes and forms. At LV we believe in simplicity. When you purchase a scrub look for a small list of ingredients that contains carrier oils, essential oils and an ingredient that does the exfoliating. Some of our favourite carrier oils are grapeseed, jojoba, coconut or avocado. Essential oils are different from added “scents”, E.O’s are beneficial to us physically and psychologically. Added scents, however, can be irritating and cause rash or inflammation. As for the exfoliating ingredient, look for things that will degrade naturally. Sugar, coffee, oatmeal, rice are some great ingredients for exfoliating. These also won’t clog up your drains or contaminate our ecosystems. Be careful when using any scrub, if it feels like it is too rough, it probably is. After you exfoliate your body should have a slight pinkness to it and you should feel the heat of your shower a little bit more. If you are red and raw, you are exfoliating with something too harsh for your skin. Also try not to use your scrub under running water, you will probably rinse off more of the scrub than you use which will cost you more in the long run. Shut off the water or stand out of it’s path while you use your scrub.
- Loofah Glove: This little baby is a great segue into exfoliation for the newby. Winners, Shoppers Drug Mart and many other stores carry these gloves. It looks like a 5-finger winter glove but it is coarse and slightly abrasive. Pour your body wash onto it and using circular motions all over your body to slough off the dead skin. If you are feeling extra saucy you can put a scrub ONTO the glove and do a double team exfoliation. We find the glove holds the scrub nicely while you do the motions.
- Mechanical: This type of facial exfoliation is ideal for those who like to feel some kind of grit when they exfoliate. Mechanical just means that you are doing the work yourself. This can be achieved with a facial scrub or the Clarisonic brush. Please be cautious when using mechanical exfoliators. Facial scrubs should be effective but gentle, look for ingredients such as Oatmeal or Rice. When using the Clarisonic, minimize its use to 2-3 times a week maximum. This device should only be used on an oily skin.
- Chemical: Chemical exfoliation usually comes in a the form of a liquid or gel. For dehydrated or dry skin, look for AHA’s in your products. Alpha-Hydroxy Acids such as Glycolic, Lactic or Fruit acid are perfect for everyday exfoliation. These are water soluble acids that break down the glue that holds our dead skin together, which will brighten and revitalize your skin’s appearance and texture. For those with oily or acne-prone skin, look for products containing BHA’s. Beta-Hydroxy Acids such as Salicylic acid are oil soluble acids that get deeper into the skin to clear out bacteria and help to reduce inflammation. Don’t let the word ACID scare you, these ingredients can be incredibly beneficial to the skin when used as directed!
- Enzymatic: Our new favourite type of exfoliation! Certain enzymes act like a PacMan, eating away your dead skin. Enzymatic exfoliators can come in many different products. They can be paired with gentle scrub, powders, gel form or liquid form. After application, they sit in the skin and work throughout the day breaking down dead skin. The enzymes that work best for exfoliating the face are Bromelain (Pineapple), Papain (Papaya), Pumpkin, Oatmeal and Rice. These enzymes not only break down old skin, they also contain anti-inflammatory properties that will soothe the skin. Make sure to keep these types of products in a dark, cool place as they are active/live ingredients. Too much heat or moisture can destroy the enzyme.
Here at the spa, we have a variety of body and facial exfoliators. The Ladies of LV have partnered with Huron Earth to bring in a Sugar Scrub that everyone can use for exfoliation. Huron Earth creates different herbal therapies to help with chronic & acute issues as well as general wellness. Natalie, the creator of Huron Earth uses personally hand-pressed oils, homegrown herbs or locally sourced organic herbs for all of her products. Her focus on natural, organic, homemade products ensures safety and effectiveness for all users. These dry scrubs are the perfect way to polish your face and body. We carry three options; Lemongrass & Mint, Lavender & Chamomile and Frankincense & Calendula. Simply scrub the product into the skin before you are in the water, then go ahead with your shower or bath as usual. The sugar helps to remove dead skin while the oils hydrate and nourish.
Suffering from eczema or psoriasis? This time of year can exacerbate any kind of dermatitis. Dry, itchy, red, flakey skin is no fun at all and sometimes regular exfoliation just doesn’t cut it. Huron Earth has created a beautifully nourishing Salve that will seriously improve your skin’s texture. The Anti-Itch Salve is a blend of Calendula, Plantain, St. John’s Wort, Yarrow, Olive oil, Shea butter, Beeswax and Vitamin E. All of these ingredients contain extremely healing, nourishing and protective properties. Apply this product to the affected areas morning and night and you will quickly feel and see the results. And remember, a little dab’ll do ya!
We also carry several facial exfoliators from Yon Ka and G.M Collin. The first is our Active Exfoliant Powder. It is a triple action mechanical, enzymatic and chemical exfoliator. It is gentle and effective, safe for daily use and safe for all skin types. Next we have the Yon Ka Gommage. This product is crucial for those suffering from dehydration. This soft peel gel exfoliant is incredible. It contains carob, brown seaweed, white nettle and borneol that hydrate while helping shed dead skin. This product can be used a few ways and even as a hydrating mask. It is safe for lips as well as eyelids. Those of you who love to see the dead skin rolling off, this is the product for you. The last exfoliant we carry is fantastic for almost every skin type and condition. The Alpha-Peel is a liquid chemical exfoliant that will have your skin feeling purified and even-toned. Alpha-Peel contains AHAs derived from lemon, passionfruit, pineapple and grape. This product also contains Hyaluronic Acid which plumps the skin to reduce fine lines. This acid holds up to 1000x it’s molecular weight in water! Apply this exfoliation at night to dried skin after cleansing. Paired with the Alpha-Fluid (Moisturizer), this exfoliant is like a take home chemical peel. Saying that, we must caution any hot tub/pool users when using this product. It has a reaction to Chlorine that can cause irritation. It is still safe to use if you want to take a dip or a soak, just make sure to cover your face with a hydrating mask or moisturizer before you jump in. If you know you will be in a pool try to avoid the Alpha-Peel for 24 hours before.
Exfoliation is the key to a solid skin care routine. With that, we have to advise that there is such a thing as over exfoliation. You never want to feel irritated or raw after, and if your breakouts get worse, it could mean you have stripped the skin too much and your oil glands are making up for lost oils! It is all a balance of exfoliation and hydration. Always hydrate after you exfoliate. The Ladies of LV want to see you looking and feeling your best in the skin you’re in. We are always here to answer any questions you may have. Do not hesitate to e-mail, call or send us a DM on Instagram or Facebook. Bonus** Mention this blog post when purchasing a new exfoliator from LV and we will take $5.00 off of your purchase price!