Microbead Alternatives for Effective Exfoliation

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Pallone's Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015, which was signed into law by President Obama, bans the inclusion of plastic microbeads in cosmetics and personal care products in the United States as of July 1, 2017. As the spa community evaluates their retail inventory of exfoliating products and their respective ingredient lists, skin professionals may be looking for a safe and compliant exfoliating scrub that does not compromise on efficacy.

Benefits of Exfoliation

Skin care professionals should remind clients of the simple, yet important benefits of exfoliation, which are listed below.

1. Exfoliation helps promote healthy cell turnover.
2. Exfoliation sloughs off dead skin cells that clog pores and cause acne.
3. Exfoliation helps slow down the aging process.
4. Exfoliation improves pigmentation issues and evens out skin tone.
5. Exfoliation can make large pores appear smaller.
6. Exfoliation can increase natural oil production.
7. Exfoliation can increase blood flow for a more youthful appearance.
8. Exfoliation can help improve the penetration of vitamin A and other vitamins, antioxidants, minerals, peptides, growth factors and hydrating ingredients that are vital for skin health.
9. Exfoliation can help reveal a smoother skin by removing dead skin cells (which are rough in texture) and get down to the dermis level of skin that contains living cells (which are smooth in texture).
10. Exfoliation can improve the appearance of fine lines.

An esthetician working with a patient

Mechanical and Chemical Exfoliation

An effective exfoliating product will contain both mechanical and chemical ingredients, as there are benefits to both exfoliators. The mechanical ingredients in the product that physically remove dead skin cells should be perfectly spherical in shape. This is critical to avoid abrasion damage upon application, which can actually accelerate aging. Products that contain exfoliates with jagged, sharp edges that do not dissolve such as pit fruit seeds and nutshells can easily cause tiny lacerations in the skin. In addition, some nutshells and fruit seeds that are not properly sterilized can cause infection if they tear the skin. Sugar crystal exfoliates which may be square in shape will dissolve in water and become spherical, so they may be considered safe. However, it would be important to advise clients to apply products that contain sugar with water.


There are a number of naturally occurring enzymes that serve as chemical exfoliates, digesting keratin protein and dead keratin cells that primarily make up the upper layer of the stratum corneum. Natural exfoliates that contain alpha hydroxy acids aid enzymatically in the exfoliating process to gently slough off dead skin cells and enhance the appearance of youthful-looking skin. Alpha hydroxy acids have an effect on keratinization, as they can increase desquamation that may have slowed down due to skin dehydration and vitamin A deficiency. Alpha hydroxy acids loosen the intercellular bonding between cells which can allow vital vitamins, minerals and peptides to penetrate to the lower levels of the epidermis. Alpha hydroxy acids can also increase the thickness of deeper layers of skin, promoting firmness.

Natural exfoliates that contain alpha hydroxy acids aid enzymatically in the exfoliating process to gently slough off dead skin cells and enhance the appearance of youthful-looking skin.

Additional Ingredients

While mechanical and chemical exfoliates are working to slough dead skin, some exfoliation products may contain supplementary ingredients that offer multiple benefits for skin health. Products that contain polypeptides, chains of amino acids or proteins can help nourish and protect skin cells and stimulate collagen production. Additionally, some exfoliation products contain vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Vitamin A is critical in cell-communication and can tell the cell to behave like a healthy, younger skin cell. Vitamin C improves pigmentation issues and Vitamin E is an antioxidant which helps shield against free radical scavenger damage.

The Right Exfoliant

The recently launched RapidRenew™ Skin Perfecting Polish, by ROCASUBA, Inc. the official, exclusive distributor of the RapidLash® brand, is consumer tested and approved and does not contain plastic beads, parabens, preservatives, aluminum, fruit seeds or nut shells. RapidRenew™ technology provides duo mechanical and chemical exfoliation with Hexatein® 5 Complex. The magnesium oxide crystals and sodium bicarbonate in the Hexatein® 5 Complex are perfectly spherically-shaped and will not tear skin, yet will provide intense mechanical, immediate exfoliating, smoothing, purifying and cleansing benefits. The natural alpha hydroxy acids in the Hexatein® 5 Complex provide chemical exfoliation. Bromelain, from the leaves of pineapple and lime pearl, extracted from the Australian caviar lime fruit, gently loosen up the dead skin cells from the surface of the skin and boost cell turnover.

RapidRenew product

RapidRenew™ contains vitamins A, C and E and peptides which are extraordinarily advantageous to skin health when applied topically. RapidRenew™ formula also contains ingredients that create a warming and cooling effect on the skin. The warming effect takes place in the beginning of application, which prepares skin for the exfoliating elements and helps improve their efficacy. When water is applied for rinse-off, there is a cooling effect that helps soothe and calm the complexion and provides a clean, refreshed feeling. This dual sensory effect is unique and beneficial in the exfoliating process.

The Right Protocol

Skin care professionals should be adept at prescribing an at-home regimen that is suitable for their clients' skin. A client with healthier skin, for example, can tolerate an exfoliating protocol 2-3 times a week, while a client with thin or delicate skin may only be able to tolerate an exfoliating regimen once a week. The face, neck, décolleté and body can be included in the protocol.

Exfoliation is a necessary process of caring for skin, irrespective of skin type, gender, ethnicity, or age. Offering both professional treatments and a retail product is advantageous in terms of caring for clients' skin and increasing sales for the practice.

To learn more about RapidRenew Skin Perfecting Polish, please contact ROCASUBA, Inc. at [email protected] or 877-760-6677.


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