Exfoliating Like It's 1985?

08/05/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011
  • Lauren Fornes Skin health expert and co-founder of The Skinny (

Skin Layers (photo credit: wikipedia commons).

As recently as 2005, I was exfoliating like it was 1985.

Skincare in the '80s was synonymous with chemical peels and harsh exfoliation. The idea was to traumatize to the skin to trigger faster cell turnover. Good in theory, perhaps. But with age, I find moderation more appealing.

This said, exfoliation - the removal of the outermost, horny layer of skin by chemical or mechanical means - does play an important role in an effective skincare regimen. Exfoliation aids in product penetration, in addition to evening the texture and appearance of the skin.

For this reason, ultrasonic exfoliation captured my attention at the IECSC trade show in Las Vegas. Ultrasonic (also known as ultrasound) exfoliation uses sound waves to vibrate a smooth metal "rake" for lack of a better description. The rake is used to "comb" the horny layer (stratum corneum) of the epidermis, knocking off dead cells.

The result is ultra smooth (think: baby's bottom) skin without the redness, irritation and inflammation commonly associated with exfoliation. Plus, the treatment has a relaxing, almost hypnotic quality to it.

So despite all of the great inventions that came out of the '80s (pop rocks, jelly sandals, rubix cubes), exfoliation lagged. Lucky for us, the technology finally seems to be improving.

Note: While the even texture is great for getting active ingredients to penetrate to deeper layers of the epidermis, it's important to remember UV rays penetrate more easily also, so be sure to minimize your sun exposure during treatment.