At SuperNatural Skincare we have been asked many times: is over-exfoliating ageing your skin? On the face of it, it would seem reasonable to assume that if you want the skin to look young and new, it would make sense to remove the old skin and make way for the new.
Well that’s the theory that has resulted in the unsuspecting consumer willingly traumatizing their skin (literally) and even causing long term damage; which is the exact opposite of what was hoped for.
It is a known fact that our epidermis (top layer) never thins:
- From our twenties, our true skin (dermis) thins at a rate of about 1-1.5% a year.
- The skin places a priority on maintaining the epidermis because a loss of epidermis leads to death (through infection, fluid loss, etc).
- The true skin (Dermis) receives nutrients through its capillaries and prioritizes what goes where and sends the scarce supplies up to the epidermis even while thinning itself.
The Dermis thins when attached by free radicals and inflammation from sun, diet and stress. The skin of smokers and partiers thins faster because added toxins constrict the blood vessels. Many of us have of overlooked nourishing the true skin to reduce ageing.
So, is over-exfoliating ageing your skin?
There is no question that exfoliating the epidermis does speed skin turnover but it is not because it is a healthy process, it is because the skin is rushing to fix the damage…to the detriment of the true skin (dermis). When the true skin is forced to restore the epidermis, it must divert nutrients that it would have used to maintain itself. We believe over-exfoliation simply speeds up the ageing process.
Exfoliating the skin temporary plumps fine lines and mildly lightens hyper-pigmentation. However, the skin has less melanin (pigment) protection, because the outside layers of skin have been intentionally peeled off resulting in more damage to repair. Loss of moisture from protective lipids leads to oil/oily T-zone, and, most importantly, a significant increase in the amount of free radical damage to our skin cells and their DNA. The FDA has considered putting cancer-promoting warnings on the bottles of Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA) products. Given that free radicals and increased sun exposure is the primary cause of ageing/damaged skin, how can anyone recommend a process that makes that substantially worse?
Complex processes are involved in wound repair, DNA repair, as well as normal skin/cell maintenance. There is no logical reason why causing inflammation could make our skin younger or healthier. When we look at research on the body’s ability to repair itself, it almost universally has shown us that it never recovers 100% (and it certainly does not recover 110%) when damaged. The theory of daily exfoliation has been practised for 30 years, but there is no scientific evidence that it has benefited the skin and there is a tremendous amount of evidence that it leads to more damage. It is time we try a new approach to restoring the skin’s health and repair activities to the full potential.
If you want a young looking skin, feed the true skin which is located below the surface layers. Feed it with the right nutrients that can be absorbed by the skin via a delivery system that ensures the product will penetrate to the right level and provide nourishment where it is needed. This is the way to achieve optimal skin health, clarity and beautiful skin.