When it comes to the skin, seasonal transition can take quite a toll on it and in the quest for glowing and radiant skin, one step that we shouldn't miss is exfoliation. It is perhaps the key to healthy and plump skin. With age, the dead skin layer tends to grow faster and hence that is when we need exfoliation to do its task. It helps in removing the dead skin cells and allows new cells to regenerate. There are times that even after layering the skin with serums and hydrating moisturisers, something lacks in the skin and hence it still feels dull and dry but at the same time if you are rigorously scrubbing off your skin in an attempt to make it better, put a halt to that right way as you might end up damaging it. Microexfoliation is a solid middle ground that is a gentler version of exfoliating and tends to give you healthy and glowing skin. To decode more about the same, we speak to beauty experts on the how-abouts of this trend.
What Is Microexfoliation?
Scrub! Scrub! Scrub! is what rushes to our mind when we say exfoliate. Exfoliation is known to improve your skin turnover. Exfoliating helps in removing the dead skin cells and allows repair with newer ones. "Microexfoliation is a gentler version of regular exfoliation. It helps to decrease the dead cell build up and encourage new skin turnover. Microexfoliation involves use of actives and enzymes in lower percentages rather than the physical scrub granules or bicarbonate foaming solution (barely existent granules)," explains Dr Madhuri Agarwal, founder and medical director, Yavana Aesthetics Clinic.
Seconding the notion, Dr Chytra Anand, Celebrity Cosmetic Dermatologist and Founder of Kosmoderma Clinics & Skin Q explains, "Skin needs to be exfoliated once in 4 weeks for skin health and micro exfoliants can be used weekly without injury to skin and daily for T-zones. The weak active acids or enzymes soften the dead skin and clean the skin surface."
How Does Microexfoliation Work?
Skincare 101 is here and microexfoliation is a gentler approach that our skin needs. It is all about using milder enzymes and skin acids in a comparatively lower percentage. "It helps to brighten up dull skin and improves the skin texture by reducing the dead, blocked skin occurrence. Since it is a milder form of exfoliation working on the topmost layer of skin, it does not make the skin rough unlike the regular exfoliation. It has lesser potential of skin inflammation and damage," explains Dr Madhuri.
Granular movement on the skin can be sometimes harsh. In order to get rid of those blackheads on the tip, we might have gone rough with the exfoliation process. "A lot of people aggressively exfoliate with physical scrubs or strong harsh acids. When you exfoliate too much you can end up with a damaged epidermal barrier, making your skin red, irritated and sensitive. Choosing gentle exfoliation protects your skin," says celebrity skin and wellness expert Dr Kiran Sethi, MD at Isya Aesthetics.
How To Look Out For Actives And Enzymes?
Enzymes and acids that are milder in nature and work soft on the skin are what you need to give a heads up to this microexfoliation process. Experts decode the best ones to use. "Look for enzymes like papain or acids like mandelic acid, lactic acid or poly hydroxy acids; they work by gently exfoliating off dead skin. One should do this no more than 2 times a week," says Dr Kiran.
Further explaining the same, Dr Madhuri states, "Actives like lactic acid, mandelic acid ,lower percentage of glycolic (6-8%) and salicylic acid (2%) are recommended in microexfoliation. Enzymes such as pineapple, papain and other fruit enzymes are used in microexfoliation. The enzymes work as protein catalysts for skin degrading the glue holding the dead skin cells together. They break the keratin protein into amino acids and clear up skin."
How Often Should One Micro Exfoliate?
Just how the saying goes, overuse of anything could be harmful, the same is with this skincare trend as well. Always observe your skin before getting into the process and during it. If you experience patchy or rough skin, then it might be a sign to stop it or reduce it. "I normally recommend the use of microexfoliation only 2-3 times a week. Avoid daily manipulation or rubbing of skin even though it is a gentle form of exfoliation . Dry skin types should use it only once a week," says Dr Madhuri. She further adds, "There are no major disadvantages .However since its exfoliation of skin it can lead to irritation and allergic reactions if done frequently and with multiple change of actives not appropriate for skin type."
"It is perfectly suitable for thicker, oilier skin, aging skin, and dull skin. Don't over exfoliate as it can create sensitivity if overdone. Otherwise it is safe to do", says Dr Chytra.