See a doctor before you exfoliate – Ogden Clinic provided source, Standard-Examiner 4/7/2015
LAYTON – Regularly exfoliating the skin can improve its appearance and help topical treatments be more effective. However, some exfoliation treatment can actually make some people’s skin worse, so before you start scrubbing away, you may want to talk to a dermatologist.
“Normal healthy skin is able to exfoliate by itself appropriately,” said Dr. Jason Hadley, a dermatologist at Ogden Clinic. “That said, there are many skin conditions that seem to improve with exfoliation. Keratosis pilaris and some forms of acne are a few examples.”
Hadley said the benefits of exfoliation include decreased plugging of pores and smoother skin. This can be especially noticeable when patients have dry bumpy skin on the backs of arms called keratosis pilaris.
“Another benefit is that exfoliated skin allows certain medications to enter the skin more easily, including acne medications,” Hadley said. “Many patients just feel like their skin has a more healthy appearing glow when the topmost layer of our skin has been exfoliated.”
The American Academy of Dermatology also states that people can benefit long term by exfoliating the skin, which can increase collagen production, resulting in younger looking skin.
But there can be a downside to exfoliation as well. People with inflammatory acne, which includes cysts and pustules should always see a dermatologist before choosing an exfoliation method, the board states. The same goes for people with rosacea and other conditions that cause redness and drying of the skin. Aggressive exfoliation can also cause dark spots on the skin and can also aggravate other skin conditions such as herpes simplex and warts.
Once you consult a dermatologist, Hadley said there are many effective over-the-counter exfoliators including urea, lac-hydrin, and salycylic acid. Retinoids are also good exfoliators. They have other helpful qualities as well, but helping the topmost layer of the skin slough more easily is one of their great benefits.
Hadley also said cleansing brushes are an easy way to help exfoliate, are safe and generally quite easy to use.
“When done by a trained provider, chemical peels can be quite safe. The weaker peels are great for exfoliation and helping with acne,” Hadley said. “The stronger chemical peels can help remove sunspots, and even deeper peels can retexture skin and decrease some wrinkles. The deeper peels should be performed or directly overseen by a physician, preferably a board-trained dermatologist, as there can be side effects that need to be managed.”
Hadley said any product that exfoliates your skin removes a layer of skin that helps retain moisture. To avoid excessive drying, patients need to moisturize.
“Also, those top layers of skin protect our skin from the sun, and so it is easy to get a sunburn after you’ve exfoliated. Remember to use your sunscreen,” he said.