Saturday, May 23, 2009

Dear Friend,

Today I’d like to discuss the use of special brushes for exfoliation either with or without a scrub. These brushes are available in either manual or electric versions. But, as usual, there are warnings you need to know about before using/purchasing a facial brush.

First, the bristle ends on inexpensive brushes have sharp edges that can cause damage when they ‘snag’ the pore opening leaving a slight tear in your skin. Remember that any cut, abrasion, or tear in the skin provides an opening for bacteria to set up housekeeping. Bacterial growth can lead to infection and possible scarring, in the most severe cases. In this case, spending a little more money will protect your skin from damage. However, it's very important to read the product label. Don’t buy any brush, no matter how expensive, unless the product promises that the bristles have no sharp edges.

Secondly, we tend to feel that if a little scrubbing is good, more will be better. Nothing could be further from the truth. These bristles tend to be super efficient ‘scrubbers’ just like the appliances sold for cleaning floors! It is too easy to over exfoliate when using them. Over exfoliation results in raw skin, hastens premature aging, and leave our skin vulnerable to bacteria.

There are several new electric exfoliators available in the $25 range. If you invest in one of these inexpensive versions, please, please, please only use the sponge head attachment with a good scrub and avoid the creams that usually come with the appliance. Read the scrub label closely. These creams usually contain aluminum crystals. Aluminum crystals aren’t suitable for scrub use. Only a skin care professional, trained to assess skin types, can determine if your skin will tolerate such vigorous abuse. If you read the previous post about scrubs, you are aware of the dangers of using scrubs that contain nutshells. Imagine how sharp and damaging aluminum crystals are to your skin.

You may be aware that aluminum crystals are often used during microdermabrasion treatments and you’d be correct. However, they are not used during the first treatment, or at least they shouldn’t be. Softer crystals are used early in a series of treatments to gradually prepare the skin for more aggressive exfoliation as the series progresses. Additionally, and this is very important, crystals are blown against the skin during microdermabrasion not rubbed repeatedly over the surface of the skin in a scrubbing action.

WARNING!!! Remember it is much better to exfoliate a little one to three times a week than a lot once a week. Start by using your exfoliator once a week to see how your skin reacts. If there is no adverse reaction, add a second treatment each week. Never, never, never exceed 3 times per week. Your skin will not be able to replenish its protective layer fast enough between treatments.

My next post will cover an electric exfoliator I highly recommend based on my personal and professional use.


Carolyn Johnson

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