Exfoliation: What is it and Why is it important?

by Devon Ost March 28, 2017

Hello Beautiful,

Happy Spring! There is nothing quite as uplifting as seeing the first blooms of spring pop up as the world thaws out from Winter. Do you agree? Months of freezing temps have not only dampened our moods, but the constant cold air (and all those heaters) have dried out our skin, too. The winter season leaves its trace on our skin in the form of dry spots, larger pores, and redness. Now is the best time to prepare the skin for the warmer season. As our parched, dull skin may still be singing the Winter blues. So, as we welcome the warmer weather, our skin is still in survival mode and may need a little help with the transition to happier and more hydrated times.

While you may be cleansing, moisturizing, and applying sunscreen, daily. If you’re not exfoliating, your skin isn’t as healthy as it could be. It is very important to exfoliate your face and body all year round. But after the winter, sloughing away all that dead skin seems even more necessary.

What is Exfoliation?

Exfoliation refers to the removal of the dead skin cells on the skin’s surface. Exfoliation can be performed manually, with brushes or using our fingers and gentle scrubs on the skin. There is also, exfoliating chemically. This is performed by using products such as; masks or peels that contain special types of acids that dissolve and remove the dead skin cells without scrubbing.

Why is Exfoliation Important?

As we age, the process of cell regeneration slows down. This means that the body is slower to shed skin cells and generate new ones. When old skin cells start to pile up on the surface of the skin, it can leave skin looking dull, rough, and dry. Furthermore, the build-up of dead skin cells can result in excess oil and clogged pores, leading to blemishes and acne.

Exfoliation not only helps many skin problems, it also increases blood circulation, which in turn helps you to achieve healthy and glowing skin. This opens the way for moisturizing products to penetrate more deeply into the skin, which makes them more effective.

We suggest exfoliating twice a week as part of a good White & Elm home care regime. While it’s important to remove dead skin it’s also important not to strip away too many of your natural oils, so a good balance is essential. The best type of exfoliation depends on your complexion and the health and sensitivity of your skin. If you have extremely sensitive skin or acne, you will want to choose a clean and gentle exfoliating method. Most women use manual exfoliation on a regular basis (once to twice a week) and reserve chemical exfoliation for more intermittent use. If you use a manual exfoliating scrub, choose one with smooth, round granules rather than jagged, rough particles to avoid injuring your skin. Be gentle with the scrub—a light touch is all you need to slough off the dead skin cells. Any more than that and you’re likely to irritate your skin.

At White & Elm, we offer three gentle exfoliating products, that may be incorporated into your regimen 1-2x a week. The first is our Exfoliating Micrograins. This exfoliating scrub drives away pesky blackheads, whiteheads and acne scars too to make your skin flawless. It improves skin’s texture by removing excess dead skin cells, making room for newer and younger skin cells. They can also stimulate collagen production, a protein vital for healthy skin. Oats are a super-ingredient that help to repair the epidermal skin barrier, inhibit free radical formation, stimulate and aid in wrinkle reduction. They also act as an anti-inflammatory agent and have tremendous moisturizing and humectant properties. Adzuki Bean Powder is an ancient Japanese method of smoothing and brightening the skin. Gently ground Calendula Flowers lend their fresh, soothing scent while helping to heal and repair the skin. High on nutritional value, almonds are considered beauty food because of the high volume of vitamin E and good fats residing in them. Vitamin E is termed as beauty vitamin for it skin nourishing and rejuvenating power. Almond powder, when used topically on your face, up your beauty parameters, bringing a beautiful glow to your skin and face. We recommend a tablespoon of Micrograins with a tablespoon of your preferred cleanser or oil. Pairs nicely when mixed with our Foaming Cleanser or Deep Pore Oil Cleanser.

Our second exfoliating product is our Brightening Mask.  Packed full of Strawberries! Why Strawberries you ask?  Well, Strawberries are a natural source of salicylic acid, which penetrates deep into the pores to dissolve dead skin cell build up. It encourages the skin to shed its top layer and prevents the pores from becoming congested.  The mask also contains Vitamin C which brightens skin tone and helps to lessen the impact of free radical damage.  White Willow Bark is another unsung hero in this mask.  White Willow Bark is an anti-aging marvel.  Clinical studies have shown the use of White Willow Bark to significantly improve the tone and texture of your skin.  The Brightening Mask can be incorporated into your skin care regimen 1-2x per week. It mixes well with our Balancing Toner. We recommend 2-3 teaspoons of product with your choice of liquid. 

Lastly, our third exfoliating option is our Exfoliating Enzyme Mask. The Papaya fruit enzyme papain restores the even-toned look of your skin by accelerating the shedding of dead skin cells. Papaya repairs damaged with the help of antioxidants like Flavonoids, Vitamin A and Vitamin C. Papaya reverses the signs aging due to its skin repairing, exfoliating and hydrating action. Pineapple has long been the most effective vitamin for people with sensitive or inflamed skin, or for those with acne. Pineapple juice also contains vitamin A, which can reduce inflammation and act as a natural anti-fungal and antibacterial. As an exfoliator, the enzyme in Pineapple works to break down the keratin in the skin resulting in a smoother, more even complexion. Plus, it's loaded with Vitamin C, a super antioxidant for repairing free radical damage. Glycolic acid is part of the group of active compounds known as AHA's (alpha hydroxy acids). A natural ingredient derived from sugar cane, it can penetrate the skin deeply and easily, making it the most effective for treating fine lines, acne, blackheads, dullness, balancing out your natural oil production. 4% Glycolic acid is used in this formula. With using a product that contains Glycolic Acid, it is important to test your skin's sensitivity prior to use. Patch test on the inside of your wrist is recommended. Apply a thin layer to the inside of your wrist. Let it sit for 10 minutes and then rinse off. Our Enzyme mask can be incorporated into your skin care regimen 1-2x per week as well.

After exfoliating your skin, because you are increasing blood circulation, breaking down toxins and encouraging new skin cells to come through, our best advice is to drink lots of water which helps the skin to eliminate toxins. It is also important to apply a good moisturizer to hydrate the skin from the outside in. Do not expose your exfoliated skin to the sun, without applying your SPF. This sun protection is another thing you should do all year round. But, it’s even more crucial as we head into the warmer months when we’re outside more often. Take good care of your skin and put your best face forward this Spring!

If you have any exfoliating or regimen questions, feel free to reach out to me anytime at Esthetician@whiteandelm.com


As always, we thank you for your continued support!



White & Elm

Devon Ost
Devon Ost


Devon Ost is White & Elm's staff Esthetician and Brand Educator. Devon graduated from the Esthetics program in 2002 from Douglas J. Aveda Institute, in East Lansing, Michigan. Her passion for clean, safe and effective skin care products is what lead her to White & Elm. Her mission is to educate W&E's community on why our products are incredibly effective and safe for the entire family as well as our environment.

1 Response

Janell Ost
Janell Ost

March 28, 2017

Interesting and informative!

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