We all want fresher, younger-looking skin, and you can achieve that glow of youth no matter what your age. Exfoliating the skin sloughs off dead skin cells and gives your skin a fresh start. There are several ways to exfoliate. You can rub the skin with a towel or brush, with a facial cream, a peel, a mask, or a body scrub, but using chemical products and creams means you need to sort through a huge variety of products to find the one that is right for you. Here are the key ingredients you should look for when purchasing a skin exfoliator.
Alpha Hydroxyl Acid (AHA) – These glycolic and lactic acids can take years off the skin‘s appearance. They are often found in chemical peels. Over-the-counter products must contain less than 8% AHA, but professionals may use concentrations up to 30%. If you don‘t find the actual percentage listed on the label, it should appear as the second or third ingredient in the list. AHA eases fine lines, removes surface scars, and gives a more youthful look to the skin. It should be noted that, when used in the higher concentrations, AHA can cause redness and flaking that may last for weeks. It is best used on normal to dry skin.
Glycolic Acid – A form of alpha hydroxy acid, glycolic acid can penetrate the outer skin layers and is often used by dermatologists in chemical peel treatments. Concentrations for over-the-counter use should range from 10% to 20%.
Papaya Extract – It is rich in vitamin C, potassium, and vitamin A. This fruit extract exfoliates dead skin cells, aids in the repair of damaged skin, and clears up other skin problems. It also helps speed up chemical reactions. Only a small amount is needed.
Retinoic Acid – This is a vitamin A product that can help reduce lines and wrinkles. It stops pores from becoming clogged with dead cells, improving skin texture and brightness. This ingredient helps with skin renewal by increasing skin thickness and stimulating new collagen formation. Care must be taken when used on delicate or sensitive skin.
Retinyl Palmitate – This is a form of vitamin A. It stimulates new skin cell production, plumps the skin, and increases collagen. It has sunscreen and anti-oxidant properties.
Salicylic Acid – This is a compound found in plants that is often used to treat acne. It works to open clogged pores and encourages new skin cell growth. It also helps prevent bacteria from entering the skin cells. It is best used on normal to oily skin and skin prone to blemishes. This ingredient is often used in dandruff shampoos to help exfoliate the dead skin cells on the scalp and prevent further dryness.