When it comes to skin I am a big believer in exfoliation. Exfoliation can be accomplished by two methods either mechanical or chemical. Personally I use both types of exfoliation. Mechanical exfoliation are things like scrubs, washcloths, and micro dermabrasion. In the past I have had professional micro dermabrasion done at a doctor’s office. But it has been about 10 years since I’ve had that done since I get good results with my at home products. Exfoliation is crucial because if you have a thick layer of dead skin cells on top of your skin your products are not going to penetrate and work as well. One product that I really like combines both mechanical and chemical exfoliation. It is called the 2 piece Vitamin C micro delivery peel and it is from Philosophy. It is a two-step process. The first step consists of vitamin C infused crystals that you rub on clean skin for about a minute and then you apply the activation gel on top of the crystals. The activation gel foams and heats up. You leave the gel on for about a minute and then rinse off. This is a great system for mature skin because of the vitamin C. I like to use this about once a week and I like to use it in the evening. Depending on your skin you may not need to use any other kind of mechanical exfoliation during the week. I order mine from www.qvc.com and the product number is A55438. You can also order it at Sephora (www.sephora.com) as a side note this is not an all natural product. I normally like to use organic or natural products. This product however, does not fall into that category. It does have some ingredients I am not real crazy about, but I get such good results with it and since I only use it once a week I am not getting a daily dose of these ingredients.
Another really good product for mechanical exfoliation is a micro peeling and cleansing cloth. This is basically a special kind of washcloth. I have just always liked to use a washcloth at night to remove my makeup. Even if I am using a rinse off product, I like to use a washcloth to dry my face and then wet it and remove any of the residual cleanser around the edges of my face. These washcloths are made of microfiber have a special weave that helps to mechanically exfoliate dead skin cells. Technically, you can wet one of these washcloths and just remove your makeup without any sort of cleanser. But like I said, I do like to use a cleanser to remove my makeup and any residual makeup with this. It is especially good for removing any kind of residual eye makeup. I ordered these washcloths from www.folica.com The name of the company is Claroderm. They are called micro peeling and cleansing cloths. They are about half the size of a normal washcloth but I find that they work well.
I use a glycolic acid treatment cream for my chemical exfoliation. I use the cream every night except on the night I use my 2 piece micro delivery peel from Philosophy. Glycolic acid is part of a group of acids called alpha hydroxy acids or AHA’s. These acids are found naturally in plants and fruits. Glycolic acid is actually a sugarcane derivative. It works by loosening dead skin cells and allowing them to slough away, leaving new smooth cells. It also helps to unclog pores and helps with hyperpigmentation. Glycolic acid creams come in different concentrations. If you have never used a glycolic acid cream I would suggest that you start off with a 5% solution and use it about 3 nights a week and then build up. As your skin gets more acclimated to the glycolic acid you can go to a 10% cream. The one I like comes from Reviva (www.revivalabs.com) they carry both a 5% and 10% glycolic acid cream. When you apply the cream it is going to sting a little and this is normal. This is a treatment product and not really a moisturizer. I only use my glycolic acid cream at night and I do not put it on my neck and chest. I then apply a night cream on top of it. If this feels like it stings too much then you can apply your night cream first and then apply the glycolic acid cream. The only night I do not use my glycolic acid cream is the night I use my 2 piece mircro delivery peel from Philosophy since my skin is a little more sensitive from being freshly exfoliated. Although Reviva products are not considered organic they are all natural. This brand is readily available in both most health food stores or you can order it online.
There is another product that I use occasionally if I happen to get a breakout. I do not breakout very often, but every three or four months I might get a few pimples. If I feel this happening what really handles it for me is one product by Proactive called Repairing Lotion. Proactive contains finely milled benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid. Salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid. In fact it is the only beta hydroxy acid and is derived from the birch or willow tree. Salicylic acid acts much like the alpha hydroxy acids according to the literature. The main difference is that alpha hydroxy acids are water soluble and work best on mature sun damaged skin and beta hydroxy acid is lipid soluble and therefore can penetrate the pores better and works best on skin with blackheads and whiteheads. Benzoyl peroxide is an antibacterial agent. The combination of these two seem to work well on my skin if I get a little breakout. Benzoyl peroxide can be very drying, but the way this product is formulated does not seem to dry out my skin and like I said, I only use it occasionally, and just for the time that I’m having a breakout. You can also just use it as a spot treatment if you get a pimple or two now and then. When I need it, I apply it morning and night and then apply my regular creams on top of it during that time. I do not use my glycolic acid cream when I am using the Repairing lotion. Proactive is not an organic or all natural product, but it is the only thing I have found that works when I get these occasional breakouts. I order mine from www.qvc.com the item number is A31083.