What is mechanical exfoliation?

Dr. Ellen Marmur, MD

As old school as it sounds, this method involves physically scrubbing the dead skin off your face. The means can be as elementary as a washcloth or soft brush. A product uses a gritty, granular substance, suspended in a cream, lotion, or gel, that manually scrubs off the surface layer. Granules such as oatmeal, polyethylene beads, salt, sugar, calcium carbonate, dimethicone polymers, or tiny crystal particles are used as gentle buffing tools. Do-it-yourself microdermabrasion kits use a "resurfacing tool" (sounds scary, but it's just a slightly abrasive sponge or soft-bristle brush) to massage a cream with aluminum oxide or mineral crystals onto the skin. If you have a tendency toward sensitivity or rosacea, too much abrasive scrubbing can irritate your skin. It is better to stick with a super-gentle lactic acid exfoliant and use it only once or twice a month at most.

Simple Skin Beauty: Every Woman's Guide to a Lifetime of Healthy, Gorgeous Skin

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Simple Skin Beauty: Every Woman's Guide to a Lifetime of Healthy, Gorgeous Skin

What if a leading dermatologist just happened to be your best friend and you could ask her anything? DR. ELLEN MARMUR, a world-renowned New York City dermatologist, answers all your questions with...

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.