Exfoliation involves the removal of the outermost layers of your skin known as the stratum corneum of your epidermis. These cells, on the most external surface of your skin are your oldest skin cells and are actually not even alive. You can have this layer of dead cells removed by using an exfoliation technique. Exfoliation can be achieved through mechanical (microdermabrasion) or chemical means (peels)
The use of exfoliation techniques to help achieve skin health and beauty has been used for centuries. The ancient Egyptians were the first group to practice of exfoliation using topically applied chemical agents. The etymology of the word exfoliate comes from the Latin exfoliare (to strip off leaves)
New skin cells are created in your skin's lower layer, the dermis. Over time, these new cells migrate to the surface of your skin and become more dehydrated, lose their elasticity and become more and keratinized. In other words, over the 30 days or so that it takes for your skin cells (created in your dermis) to reach the outer layer of your epidermis (Stratum Corneum), these cells are dead and cornified (filled with hardened connective tissue). Unfortunately as you age this process takes longer and longer. Consequently an older person may take 45 days or even 60 days to created new skin cells. Therefore, as you age the appearance of your skin becomes uneven, which gives skin a dry and rough character. The good news is that exfoliative treatments can remove the outer layer of your skin to reveal the newer, healthier, smoother, more beautiful skin beneath. Exfoliation of the outer cornified layer of your skin unclogs your pores, keeps your skin clean and smooth, and can even helps reduce acne outbreaks.