As we grow older, our skin’s natural exfoliation process slows down resulting in a build up of dead skin cell. This build up of dead cells causes the skin to appear dull and emphasizes the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. A good skin care regimen that includes regular exfoliation helps speed up the cell renewal process and hydrates the remaining cells resulting in the appearance of younger, healthier skin. Women over 30 should use a mild exfoliation product regularly, this product should be formulated to remove the build up of dead skin cells and should not cause any type of irritation at all. You can use a more intensive treatment product on a monthly basis but no more than that (dryer skins should do this less often than oily skin types). Exfoliation is great and when done regularly, results in healthier and younger looking skin, but what happens if you over exfoliate. Over exfoliation affects our skin by disrupting the natural balance of our skin and can cause our skin to become unable to regulate itself naturally. Over exfoliating will make your skin more moisture dependent and you will notice the ‘glow’ that you used to get (which is the initial hook) will disappear. Over exfoliating can remove too much of the skin’s protective layer, which renders the skin slick and unable to absorb moisture (when it needs it most) or protect itself from bacteria- ‘so as a result of over exfoliation you may find your skin is not as resilient in its natural process of hydrating itself from within or absorbing the moisturizer you put on top of it. This, in turn, will cause the skin to become unable to hydrate itself causing a parched slick appearance and will cause the skin to become thin and extremely dry and flaky. Over time this will cause adverse affects on the skin and premature aging. If your skin reaches this point, it is a good idea to let the skin heal on its own accord for a month or two using just the basic moisturizing products and mild cleansers and toners. Anyone who has ever had a dermatological peel that took off several layers of living skin should be extremely careful about any exfoliating and should discuss exfoliation with their doctor first before using any exfoliation product. We exfoliate our skin to help speed up the natural cell renewal process, not to take the place of our skin’s natural exfoliation process. The is not a case where a little is good so a lot must be better (Wrong!). Do not use harsh exfoliants that leave your skin feeling raw or scratched, so choose a product with round grains or softened ingredients like the pre- soaked almonds and oats or man-made polybeads. Our skin is a living organ and needs to be treated with care. Because our skin changes as we grow older, it is important to remember that what we do today affects our skin in the future. Stop by the Merle Norman Cosmetics and The Chic Boutique with any questions or concerns. Good skincare gives results that last a lifetime.