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Leighton Wainohu - Apr 14, 2024

Why Do We Exfoliate Our Skin


Did you know that our skin naturally sheds dead skin cells through a process called 'desquamation'? This raises the question: if our bodies already shed dead skin cells automatically, why do we manually exfoliate?

  • Why Do We Exfoliate In The First Place
  • Understanding Natural Desquamation
  • Different Types of Exfoliation Methods
  • How To Choose The Right Hydroxy Acid
  • Face Scrubs vs Hydroxy Acids

Why Do We Exfoliate in the First Place?

Manual exfoliation complements the body's natural desquamation process. It accelerates the removal of dead skin cells, ensuring a thorough exfoliation of dead skin cells, particularly in areas that may not shed cells effectively on their own. By stimulating cell turnover, it encourages the production of new, healthy skin cells, resulting in a more youthful appearance.

Enhanced Efficiency: The natural desquamation process may not always be sufficient to remove all dead skin cells, especially for individuals with certain skin types or conditions. Manual exfoliation can help to accelerate the removal of dead skin cells, ensuring a more thorough exfoliation and revealing smoother, brighter skin.

Stimulation of Circulation: Manual exfoliation techniques, such as using exfoliating scrubs or brushes, can help to stimulate circulation in the skin. This can promote blood flow, which in turn can enhance the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the skin cells, resulting in a healthier complexion.

Immediate Results: Unlike the natural desquamation process, which occurs gradually over time, manual exfoliation excellerates cellular turnover. After exfoliating, you may notice smoother, softer skin with a more radiant appearance.

Preparation for Skincare Products: By removing the buildup of dead skin cells, manual exfoliation can improve the absorption and efficacy of other skincare products. This allows your serums, moisturizers, and treatments to penetrate more deeply into the skin, maximizing their benefits.

Understanding Natural Desquamation

The process by which skin cells naturally slough off the skin is called desquamation. It's a continuous and natural process that occurs as part of the skin's renewal cycle. Here's how it happens:

Cell Turnover: Within the lower layers of the epidermis, known as the stratum basale, skin cells undergo continuous production. Newly formed cells gradually displace older ones, pushing them towards the skin's surface. Eventually, these cells reach the outermost layer of the epidermis, the stratum corneum—the layer of skin visible in the mirror.

Maturation: As skin cells migrate upwards through the epidermal layers, they undergo changes in structure and composition. They become flattened and filled with keratin, a tough protein that provides structural strength to the skin.

Desquamation: Once the cells reach the outermost layer of the epidermis, known as the stratum corneum, they are considered dead cells. These dead skin cells, also called corneocytes, are tightly packed and adhere to each other. However, enzymes within the skin, such as proteases, help to break down the connections between these cells.

Shedding: Once the connections between the corneocytes are sufficiently weakened, the dead skin cells are shed from the surface of the skin. This shedding process is often imperceptible and occurs gradually over time.

Desquamation is essential for maintaining healthy skin. It helps to remove dead skin cells, prevent the buildup of debris and impurities, and promote the turnover of new skin cells. Various factors, including age, hormonal changes, and environmental factors, can influence the rate of desquamation. Additionally, exfoliation techniques and skincare products can help to facilitate the process and promote smoother, more radiant skin.

Different Types of Exfoliation Methods

Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) are a group of naturally occurring acids primarily derived from fruits and milk. They are widely used in skincare products due to their exfoliating and skin-renewing properties. Some common types of AHAs include:

Scrubs: Face scrubs work through physical exfoliation, which involves using abrasive particles or substances to manually remove dead skin cells from the surface of the skin.

Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA): Naturally derived from sources such as  Glycolic Acid, Lactic Acid, Citric Acid and Malic Acid. AHAs function by loosening the bonds between dead skin cells, facilitating exfoliation and uncovering smoother, brighter skin beneath. AHAs have a smaller molecule size, compared to BHAs and PHAs, this characteristic enables them to penetrate the skin deeply and efficiently, making them an ideal choice for exfoliation and skin rejuvenation. 

Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHA): Derived from both natural and synthetic sources, the most common BHA in skincare is salicylic acid. BHAs, with their larger molecule size, primarily target the top layers of the skin. Their ability to solubise oil enhances their efficacy in penetrating pores and dissolving oils and lipids, making them ideal for addressing oily and acne-prone skin types.

Poly Hydroxy Acids (PHA): Derived from natural sources such as milk, sugar, fruits and vegetables. PHAs are considered more gentle then alternatives to other hydroxy acids. Their larger molecular size prevents deep penetration into the skin, allowing them to work primarily on the surface layers. This characteristic makes them well-suited for individuals with sensitive skin, offering effective exfoliation without the risk of irritation.

What Hydroxy Acid To Choose

Hydroxy acids complement the skin's natural desquamation process, making them inherently more gentle than manual face scrubs. However, when choosing the right hydroxy acid for your skin, simplicity is key. Depending on your skin sensitivity, you'll opt for either a PHA or AHA. Those with very sensitive skin may prefer PHAs. Individuals with oily or acne-prone skin may seek products containing AHA/PHA + BHA. You don't necessarily need all three types; a product with just AHA/PHA suffices. For those with oily or acne-prone skin, opting for a formula that includes BHA in a AHA or PHA formulation would be beneficial.

Face Scrubs vs. Hydroxy Acids

When comparing manual scrubs with Hydroxy Acids (HAs) in terms of their impact on the skin barrier, Hydroxy Acids generally have the edge in terms of being gentler and more skin-friendly because they encourage the skins on natural desquamation process.

Green Envy AHA Renewal Serum
Green Envy AHA Renewal Serum
Image shows the texture of the AHA Green Envy Serum
Green Envy AHA Renewal Serum
Green Envy AHA Renewal Serum
Video depicts the texture of the AHA Green Envy Serum
Image shows the texture of the AHA Green Envy Serum

Green Envy AHA Renewal Serum


A synergistic blend of Glycolic Acid and natural AHA's derived from Australian Finger Lime, Bilberry, Sugar Cane, Orange, Lemon and Sugar Maple that encourages your skin to purge dead skin cells resulting in gentle skin exfoliation for a smoother, brighter and even skin complexion.

Aroma: Lime

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