What is Exfoliation and Why is it Important?

6 minute read

You might be wondering, what is exfoliation, what is cell renewal, and why does it matter to me? We are here to break it down for you and help you learn about your skin's natural processes as well as the best products and ingredients to safely incorporate exfoliation into your regimen!

Let's Dive In!

When we are in our 20s our skin cells renew themselves approximately every 28 days. As we enter our 40s this rate decreases to 45-60 days and continues to decline as we age. In addition to a decreased renewal rate, the rate that our skin naturally sloughs away dead skin cells also declines. Combined, this can cause a “traffic jam” of skin cells that result in skin that appears dull, dry, and unhealthy. 

There are a variety of factors that cause this decline, such as hormones, environmental exposure, lifestyle, stress, and cellular senescence. While it’s a natural part of aging — certain ingredients and products can support a healthy cell renewal rate.

What is Cell Turnover?

Before we answer the "what is exfoliation" question, we need to talk about cell turnover. Cell turnover is the rate at which new skin cells are created in the epidermis. As new skin cells are created, it pushes older skin cells to the surface which allows us to exfoliate them away. 


When left to decline, cellular senescence can take over — causing a decline in healthy skin cell creation as well as an increase and build up of damaged, unhealthy skin cells. While visibly this can lead to uneven tone, rough texture, and wrinkles — it can also cause inflammation in the skin which further impacts our skin’s health. 

What is exfoliation? Cellular turnover explained

Why Exfoliate?

Regular exfoliation removes the top layer of dull, dead skin that accumulates as our skin cells renew. When dead skin cells accumulate on the surface of the skin, you can experience skin concerns such as

  • Uneven texture
  • Breakouts
  • Blackheads
  • Dehydration
  • Dullness and uneven tone

In addition to the skin concerns that can result from a lack of exfoliation, if the skin's surface has a build up of dead skin cells, it can prohibit the absorption of your treatment products which results in an overall less effective skincare regimen.

While some skin cells naturally slough away, incorporating exfoliation into your skincare regimen helps maintain healthy cell turnover and skin sloughing while.

What Exfoliators Should I Use?

Exfoliators are either physical (like a scrub) or chemical (like a peel). Physical exfoliators remove dead skin by way of physically buffing it away while chemical exfoliators use ingredients like acids to dissolve the sebaceous glue that holds dead skins onto the surface.

Physical Exfoliators

While physical exfoliators do a great job at instantly removing the top layer of dead skin cells, they can cause damage if used incorrectly. Many scrubs are created with particles that are too abrasive which can create microtears in the skin, resulting in a damaged skin barrier. It's not to say all scrubs are bad; properly formulated scrubs can offer a great sensory experience and provide an immediate result for the right skin types. When looking for a scrub, it's important to use a high quality product and ensure your skin is able to tolerate a scrub. Scrubs are best avoided when you have sensitive skin or if you are experiencing an active breakout, but are great for those without skin that is reactive, damaged, or has advanced aging concerns. 

Chemical Exfoliators

Chemical exfoliators work on a deeper level in the skin, leveraging ingredients to dissolve the sebaceaous glue that holds skin cells on the surface of the skin. Chemical exfoliators can range in intensity, from mild-daily use products to professional treatments that cause physical peeling of the skin. In addition, different acids offer different levels of exfoliation - Glycolic Acid being one of the most advanced while Lactic and Azelaic Acid being more gentle. In order to prevent irritation, it's important to choose the right intensity for your skin and it's advised to start slow and gradually increase as your skin's tolerance allows. However, because of the variety of ingredients and formula types, chemical exfoliation products tend to be more inclusive of all skin types and concerns.

How Often Should I Exfoliate?

The frequency that you exfoliate is based on the type of exfoliation product you are using however you should aim to incorporate exfoliation into your routine weekly.

  • Scrubs - 2-3 times a week
  • Gentle chemical based toners or pads - Every other day up to daily
  • Glycolic Acid based products - 2-3 times a week, up to daily if the concentration is low. Only use in the evening.
  • At home chemical peels - 1-2 times a week, less often if high concentrations of acids are used.
  • Masks with AHAs - 2-3 times a week
  • Professional peels - Every 6-12 weeks, based on your unique treatment plan designed by a licensed aesthetician

What is EVER's approach to exfoliation?

EVER skincare is formulated specifically for women well into their 30s and beyond, which means all of our products take careful consideration to the changes our skin naturally faces as we age such as cellular senescence, collagen loss, cell turnover decline, increased inflammatory response, and sensitivity. Because of these changes, we want to work with the skin's natural processes and not further damage or irritate the skin. That is why we prefer gentle, chemical based products that can be used daily. The benefits of this approach mean that exfoliation is more consistent, simpler to incorporate, and can be incorporated without a concern for redness, stinging, or irritation.



Think of your professional chemical peel that you get at the medi-spa but broken down into tiny, daily, microdoses. That is REVEAL. (Oh, and it's also a 2x Allure Best of Beauty Winner!)

A daily dose of Azelaic Acid, Lactic Acid, and Caviar Lime gently exfoliates in less than 10 seconds In addition, these ingredients work deeper in the skin and offer benefits beyond surface level exfoliation, such as hydrating, reducing the look of dark spots, softening lines, and decreasing the appearance of pores. 

REVEAL Biomimetic Peel Pads with LSR10® (45 Pads)

REVEAL Biomimetic Peel Pads with LSR10® (45 Pads)


Dramatically smooth and re-texturize the surface of your skin without irritation. Product Details: 45 count These powerful daily peel pads will work wonders by smoothing and re-texturing the surface of your skin. With daily use, skin feels firmer and becomes… read more

The Result?

Now that we've answered the burning question, "what is exfoliation" and explained why it's important to skin health, the benefits are probably pretty convincing. Incorporating exfoliation in any form, as long as it's right for your skin, is guaranteed to give you brighter, more radiant, healthy-looking skin and a perfectly primed surface for treatments and moisturizers.

Happy exfoliating!

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