Foolproof facial exfoliation strategies for six key skin types
Do your estheticians know which exfoliation methods to use on each of their clients? DAYSPA surveyed skincare educators and came up with this easy-to-reference guide. (For more on exfoliation strategies and technologies, see Surface Tension by Russell A. Jackson, on page 62 of the June issue.)


Young with Untroubled Skin

Therapeutic Approach: Very little exfoliation—nothing that would disturb the young skin’s natural acid mantle, which serves as a protective layer.
In-Spa Treatment: Non-acidic enzymes; mild glycolic; herbs
Home-care Prescription: A good cleanser to remove environmental pollutants and a treatment product providing food for the skin, including vitamins A and C, antioxidants, peptides and growth factors–and a sunscreen to protect.

Average Man

Therapeutic Approach: Although higher levels of testosterone translate to skin that’s thicker and oilier, men’s skin may also be more sensitive, especially if they have shaving bumps or folliculitis, so be moderately aggressive. However, regular shaving may also mean that less exfoliation is needed.
In-Spa Treatment: An enzyme, lactic or salicylic acid, or simple scrub with jojoba beads or other small granules, can dislodge debris, oil and skin cells (which contribute to razor bumps) and help control signs of aging—it depends on the client’s age and skin condition. A beta hydroxyl acid can address ingrown hairs. Microdermabrasion is also often good for men.
Home-care Prescription: Alpha hydroxyl gel at 8% to 10%, followed by a moisture fluid at night; gentle manual scrub two to three times a week.

Menopausal Woman

Therapeutic Approach: Exfoliation helps to control mid-life breakouts and improve the appearance of lines and wrinkles, as cellular turnover rates decline dramatically after menopause. This client’s skin may turn red easily, but she may be successfully treated as a sensitive-skin client.
In-Spa Treatment: Mild fruit acids; enzyme masks, retinols and lactic acid
Home-care Prescription: Home-use versions of exfoliants above (encourage regular visits to the spa for light chemical peels)


Elderly Client

Therapeutic Approach: Mature skin can be dull and dry, so removing the top layer of dead cells helps curative serums and moisturizers penetrate better and work more effectively. The skin is usually thin as well, so it’s important to go slowly to avoid tearing.
In-Spa Treatment: Very gentle manual exfoliation; 20% lactic acid peel
Home-care Prescription: Mild alpha hydroxyl acids to slowly get skin in shape and prepare it for more aggressive in-spa treatment

Sensitive-Skin Client

Therapeutic Approach: Rosacea-prone skin requires gentle, non-granular exfoliating creams that can be applied with a press-and-release technique rather than active scrubbing.
In-Spa Treatment: Mild fruit acids; enzyme masks, retinols and lactic acid. If steam is used, make sure it’s diffused, light and lasts only three to five minutes. Clients with rosacea should avoid layered exfoliation because it could induce further inflammation. Never exfoliate skin when it’s flared.
Home-care Prescription: Gentle, natural scrub; a daily product containing 5% lactic acid to improve cell turnover and increase hydration

Pregnant Client

Therapeutic Approach: Skin can become overly sensitive due to hormonal changes associated with pregnancy. These clients should check with their doctors prior to using any new treatment or product.
In-Spa Treatment: Some practitioners recommend herbal treatments only. Don’t multilayer and don’t try to brighten; pregnant women must be careful with chemical ingredients because they could enter the blood stream and reach the fetus. Chemical peels and layered exfoliants should be avoided during pregnancy.
Home-care Prescription: Lactic acid is, some feel, the only chemical exfoliant appropriate for pregnant clients.

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