Dead skin; everyone is covered with it and sheds bits of it all day, every day. Each week, the body discards approximately a third of an ounce of dead skin, comparable to the weight of a car key.1 Over a lifetime, sloughed-off dead skin cells can add up to half the body weight of an average person.2 During the shedding cycles, it is estimated that people re-grow about 1,000 new skins throughout their life.3
These statistics illustrate why exfoliation matters in skin care regimens. Layers of dead skin cells block skin care products from effectively penetrating the skin surface. The result? Hydrating ingredients, nutrients, antioxidants and anti-aging actives might be left knocking at the door, trying to get in and do their work. Exfoliants prep skin, clearing the way for maximum absorption of nutrients like moisture-boosting molecules, protective antioxidants, fatty acids and skin-transforming growth factors, stem cells and peptides. When active ingredients get past the skin’s surface, the stage is set for youthful-looking radiance and skin renewal.
Professional estheticians have countless choices of exfoliants. But, what if scrubs or face brushes are too harsh for dry or sensitive skin? What about acne-prone or inflamed skin? What if clients prefer “clean beauty?” In most cases, fruit acids and fruit enzymes provide the solution.
Fruit Acid 101
Some fruit acids used in skin care include tartaric, malic and citric acids, which belong to the alpha hydroxy acid family (AHAs). These water-soluble acids are usually derived from foods or plants. They weaken intercellular bonds between corneocytes, or “cellular glue” that makes dead skin cells stick together. After acids loosen those bonds, dead cells slough off, creating a smooth surface. Skin is prepped to absorb nutrients and anti-aging actives.
Exfoliating fruit acids have additional benefits. They promote cell turnover, encourage collagen synthesis, smooth lines and wrinkles, improve sun-damaged skin, suppress hyperpigmentation and help blemish-prone skin.
Each one produces slightly different results while exfoliating. Mild, over-the-counter exfoliants containing fruit acids typically range from three to five on the pH scale and are used regularly in home care. However, it is recommended that concentrations over 15% only be applied by trained, licensed professionals and be buffered to minimize risk of skin irritation.
Founder and CEO of Le Mieux Cosmetics and PurErb, Janel Luu has over 38 years of experience in the beauty industry as an educator, researcher, and formulator. She has taught over 40,000 skincare professionals and physicians on topics ranging from the latest anti-aging cellular technology to centuries-old Meridian gua sha techniques. Janel firmly believes that every day, you have the opportunity to learn new things, re-create your vision, and change your destiny.