Exfoliation for NVQ level 2 beauty

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Task 3 – Exfoliants

  1. Which can be used

  1. How to use them

  1. Benefits and effects

  1. Ingredients

  1. Examples

  1. Appendices

  1. Bibliography

i) _        Which can be used and on what skin type?

Before we can answer which should be used on a specific skin type, we need to first briefly cover the different types of exfoliants and exfoliating techniques that are available.

Firstly there is mechanical exfoliation. This involves  ‘sloughing’ off the dead skin cells of the Stratum Corneum and Stratum disjunctivum, using either a tool (e.g. a brush or a sponge etc…) or a substrate such as oatmeal or rice.

Results will depend largely on what type of abrasive is used, and how much pressure is applied during exfoliation. The International Dermal Institute recommends that you avoid abrasives which can cause irritation i.e. crushed fruit stones or shells. These may actually be damaging layers further down in the epidermis, and irritation could lead to premature ageing.


Secondly we have chemical exfoliants. These include natural acids (or fruit enzymes) i.e. Papain (from green papayas) and Bromelain (from Pineapple), Hydroxy acids (often referred to as AHA [alpha hydroxyl acids] or BHA’s [Beta Hydroxy Acids] and enzymes from bacillus ferment, a bacteria produced enzyme that aids digestion of the protein Keratin and speeds up the cell renewal rate.  

These chemical exfoliants work by ‘unglue-ing’ the dead cells on the surface of the skin, breaking down the bonds of intracellular glue (made up of keratin and calcium) that are holding them in place.

Microdermabrasion is on the whole very similar to mechanical exfoliation, but involves the use of a tool to propel tiny rough grains or crystals at high speeds at the surface of the skin.

The basic principal of microdermabrasion is that by removing or breaking up the stratum corneum, the body will interpret this as a minor injury and rushes to create new healthy cells. This type of treatment produces edema (swelling) and erythema (redness) for anything from one hour up to two days.

There are four basic steps to microdermabrasion:

  1. It pulls and raises a small section of skin to work on.
  2. It creates mild swelling and brings some of the impurities to the surface.
  3. It shoots a stream of crystals across the targeted skin patch.
  4. It collects the used crystals and dead skin for disposal.

Figure 2 - taken from  

i.i         Skin Types

Everybody is born with a skin type, and this will stay with them for life. Although we can change the condition of our skins, and reduce the effects of our skin type, our skin will be prone to behaving in a particular way. This is our skin type. The four main skin types are Dry, Oily, Sensitive and Combination.

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i.i.i        Dry Skin

For a dry skin I would recommend an exfoliant based on AHAs or Alpha Hydroxy acids. In particular Lactic acid.

AHAs offer the additional advantage of helping to retain water in the skin, at the same time that exfoliation is taking place. This is due to an effect they have on skin cells, helping to repair their lipid barrier, adding increased protection against dryness. AHAs can also enhance the production of ceramides in the skin, which can help to keep it moist and healthy.

To ensure that a product will be effective in ...

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