An insiders guide to exfoliation

We’ve all been told that exfoliation is good for our skin, but do you know why? Is it all a myth to keep us shelling out on beauty products and treatments, or are there very tangible benefits to exfoliating your skin?

The Secret Oasis Spa has a deeper look at all things skin, to give you the insiders guide to exfoliation…

What does exfoliation do?

It may sound a little gross, but the human body constantly sheds dead skin cells. And it’s not just on your face. The skin is the biggest organ in your body and will loose and replace cells everywhere. But there’s no need to worry, dead cells are replaced by smoother, younger cells, so your body’s ability to shed skin cells is a good thing.

As you age, the rate you naturally shed skin cells slows down. Therefore, when we exfoliate, we speed up the body’s natural process, to reveal healthier, younger looking skin.

Why exfoliate?

Apart from the fact it makes you look good, exfoliation can improve skin health too. When dead skin cells build up it can lead to:

  • Clogged pores
  • Spots
  • Dryness
  • Dullness
  • Dark patches
  • Uneven skin texture
  • And even pronounced wrinkles.

Exfoliation can remove the cause of the above issues and actively:

  • Improve circulation
  • Cleanse and brighten skin
  • Reduce excess oil
  • Decrease pore size
  • Improve skin texture
  • Reduce the effects of acne scarring and pigmentation
  • Decrease fine lines and wrinkles.

Sometimes your body just needs a little extra help, especially at times of the year when your skin is taking a beating from the elements. Taking the time to get into a regular exfoliation routine is not only good for your looks, but can be good for your body too.

Types of exfoliation

As a rule there are two types: we can either exfoliate physically, by rubbing or sloughing away dead skin, or we can use chemical exfoliants, otherwise known as skin peels. Both are very valid ways of exfoliating, though what you choose will depend on your skin type and how tolerant you are of either method.

Chemical exfoliation may sound a little scary, but it’s really not. Most chemical exfoliants are made of either:

  • Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) which are water soluble, natural substances (normally derived from organic sugars, fruits or milk), which dissolve the “glue” that holds dead skin cells together.
  • Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs) which are oil-soluble, salicylic acids, usually derived from tree bark. BHAs can reach deeper into the skin and pores and are known to have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. This type of chemical exfoliator is recommended with those with acne-prone, oily skin and those who suffer from blackheads.

The pros of chemical exfoliants include that they require no scrubbing, so can be milder and gentler on problem skin. They also work on the deeper layers of the skin. It therefore continues to work after physical application.

Cons include the possibility of skin reactions and unwanted interactions with other skincare treatments. Plus you won’t see the full effects immediately.

Physical exfoliation will normally include treatments such as:

  • Face or body scrubs
  • Face and body brushes
  • Exfoliation sponges, loofa’s, flannels or cloths

Physical exfoliation will usually work on the uppermost layers of the skin and give you immediate results. Some more pros to physical exfoliation include increasing circulation and the ability to incorporate it easily into your home skincare routine, (without having to worry about chemicals interacting with your current products).

Cons include having to regularly clean exfoliation tools such as brushes and cloths, and that some skin types may not tolerate the level of scrubbing required to remove dead cells.

Salon exfoliation treatments

If you want to go for a professional exfoliating treatment we recommend the following salon treatments:


Diamond Tip Microdermabrasion is designed to gently exfoliate the surface of the skin, removing dead skin cells, imperfections, blemishes, wrinkles and unwanted pigmentation on the skin. It can be used as a stand-alone treatment, or as part of a longer facial, and will leave your skin looking younger, fresher, rejuvenated and restored. Find out more…

Intensely Cleansing Salt Scrub

For a real treat head for the salon for a salt scrub. This treatment sees fragranced salt rubbed into the skin to remove dead skin cells, encouraging the regeneration of new cells. The salt leaves skin smooth and ready to absorb a deeply nourishing body oil, designed to leave skin deeply cleansed, silky-smooth and glowing. Brilliant as a one-off treatment, or part of a regular routine. Find out more…

Elemis Dynamic resurfacing Precision Peel (Tri-Enzyme)

Clinically proven to target the signs of ageing and uneven skin tone, this pioneering precision treatment uses layers of enzymes for powerful exfoliation and renewal. A new start for smoother, younger-looking skin. Find out more…

Environ Purifying Facial

Created to purify, micro-exfoliate and re-hydrate your skin, this particular treatment assists with the treatment of acne, scarring and deep skin congestion. The combination of scientifically advanced products and techniques revives and refreshes your skin, leaving your skin feeling like new. Find out more…

To find out more about our exfoliating treatments, either drop in to the spa at 765 Fulham Road, London SW6 5HA, telephone 0207 371 5118, or email

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