As we approach summer, I want to look at exfoliation more than just ridding the skin of dead cells. To expand the meaning, how can we free negative thinking and have the most amazing life ever? In what way can we exfoliate our consciousness to focus on seeing what is possible? Every one of us can create the possibility if we see the beautiful life we could have. This article will explore not only how to exfoliate the skin but also how to exfoliate our consciousness. First, let’s discuss what we are exfoliating on the body.
Our skin is the body’s primary barrier and the largest organ. The main function of the skin is to protect the body. Without it, we would evaporate and die. Skin cells never stop growing and dividing. Keratinocytes are the most common skin cells that account for 90% of skin, while melanocytes give skin its color. We realize the desquamation process slows down as we age. We recognize new skin cells replace old ones, but how many skin cells are on our bodies?
Our bodies contain an estimated 19 million skin cells for every inch of your body and 300 million skin cells total. Wow, that is a tremendous amount of exfoliation. You can see why the Korean body scrub is a very detailed and effective treatment. Every inch of the body is exfoliated and rightfully needed.
We lose anywhere from 30,000 to 40,000 skin cells a minute. In 24 hours, we lose around a million dead skin cells that leave a trail of dust. This dust can weigh up to around nine pounds in one year. Dead skin cells make up close to a billion tons of dust in the earth’s atmosphere.
When exfoliated, the color of the dead skin cells are gray and take on a rolling appearance. Here is another gross but interesting fact about our dead cells—they smell. Yes, you read that correctly. The squame, or a scale or flake of skin, serves as food for bacteria that is found in the air conditioning units, which produce an odor even in dust-free air conditioning systems. These systems give off a urine-like smell in air conditioned areas, according to a study from Baptist University in Hong Kong. The squames from the skin of the human body contain keratin (structural proteins) that degrade by keratinase, enzymes produced by some bacteria. The released protein-based fuel source is then consumed by bacteria and broken down into ammonium. With limited amounts of carbon available in the environment, it can lead to excessive amounts of ammonium being emitted into the air and lead to a urine-like smell. There are also other microbial nutrients from skin squames that are consumed by these bacteria to emit a body odor smell. 1, 2
Exfoliation is defined as, “the process of removing dead skin cells from the surface of your skin using a chemical, granular substance or exfoliation tool.”3
As we know, there are many ways to exfoliate skin such as physical, chemical and mechanical. Exfoliating allows the surface of our skin to be radiant, smooth, brighter and more luminous. This gives a youthful look to the skin, which is always appreciated.
Provide clients with education about why exfoliation is important, not only for their appearance but also the health of their environment as discussed above. This information would make an excellent newsletter for your clients and an encouraging reminder to schedule an exfoliating face and body treatment at least once a month. By educating your clients, you are not only keeping their skin healthy but you are also building your business and increasing their visits to you. If we look beyond facials and focus on what the skin needs from head to toe, that makes technicians a resource and truly a skin care expert. When we educate our clients about the needs and issues of their skin, they can look at their skin differently.