Sign in

Skin Care: Then and Now—Exfoliation

Lydia Sarfati September 2013 issue of Skin Inc. magazine

Get the Skinny! This is just part of the article. Want the complete story, plus a host of other cutting-edge articles to make your job easier? Sign up!

As the leaves begin changing color and the weather starts to shift into the fall season, it is the perfect time for renewal ... and what better way to help treat your clients’ skin then by giving it a fresh start. Exfoliation is an essential part of maintaining healthy, beautiful skin for your clients. This is not a new concept: In fact, the ancient Egyptians used abrasive tapes made with alabaster, honey and sour milk to exfoliate, and then abraded the skin with finely ground sand to keep it silky smooth. Luckily for today’s professional skin care clients, the beauty industry has advanced by leaps and bounds when it comes to exfoliation.

The early days of exfoliation

There have been phenomenal advancements in exfoliation techniques even since the early days of professional skin care in the United States. When thinking back on the methods used in the 1970s to force the creation of new, healthy skin cells for clients, it becomes apparent that it has truly been a journey. One of the main forms of exfoliation during that time was a method called gommage, which comes from the French word meaning “to erase.” This process involved applying an enzyme-based cream that would sit on the face for a few minutes until it dried and then the hardened cream would be rubbed away, just like an eraser. Although this was effective, much easier and less messy forms of exfoliation have come into play today.

I also used to mix together granule concoctions of almonds, honey, oatmeal and buttermilk that would leave clients’ skin nice and smooth. Little did I know, I was actually using alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), which are now used regularly in the esthetics world. To help get rid of dead skin cells even further, other common kitchen items were often used, such as sugar, lemon and oil. Many of these ingredients are actually still used in exfoliants today, but the formulations have become so much more advanced. This time period laid the foundation for future advancements. Along with topical products, estheticians would use electric brushes and pumice stones, which seemed advanced at the time.

The evolution of chemical peels

Want the rest of the story? Simply sign up. It’s easy. Plus, it only takes 1 minute and it’s free!

Related Content



Welcome to the new!

Delivering the best information on the spa, skin care and wellness industry is our passion, and we’ve worked hard to design a powerful new website that incorporates cutting-edge technology to bring you:

  • Mobile-friendly Design
  • Integrated Sample Request
  • Refreshed Look and Feel
  • Dynamic Content
  • Free Registration

Mobile-friendly Design

Providing a unified experience from mobile to desktop, responsive design allows you to access Skin Inc. content from any device, whether you’re in the treatment room, at home or on the go!

Integrated Sample Request

Visit Featured Product pages to quickly and easily identify new suppliers and request product samples and information.

Dynamic Content

Articles are now linked with relevant products so you can find the products and treatments you need to provide the best results for your clients.

Free Registration

Create your user account to gain unlimited access to Skin Inc.’s unparalleled content.

Enjoy the New!

Thank you for joining the Skin Inc. community of passionate skin care professionals. We look forward to providing you the best information to enhance your career!