Exfoliation…Myth or Miracle? The Celebrity Take
Want to look younger? More vibrant? Cooler? Try a bee venom facial! Or a full-body caviar rub! The celebrity world is always unveiling the next biggest trend, no matter how outrageous. And while you might like to write it all off as a bunch of nonsense, deep down you are probably curious. We humans share a strong desire to stay young and beautiful.
Nowadays, one of the hottest celebrity skincare trends is exfoliation. But what’s real and what’s fake when it comes down to the products, the process, and the promises? Let’s debunk a few celebrity myths and give you the low-down on how your skin really likes to be treated.
1. You Should Exfoliate Every Day…NOT TYPICALLY!
Many celebrities, including Beyoncé and Elle Macpherson, have been known to tout daily exfoliation as the secret to their youthful look. But is it possible to overdo it? The answer is absolutely yes!
Exfoliation is really individual, and how often you choose to do it needs to reflect what works for your skin. Otherwise, you might end up doing more damage than good. For instance, one online reviewer wrote a piece for Mind Body Green about her experience following Gwyneth Paltrow’s personal skincare routine.
The reviewer ended up with red, angry skin after the evening portion of the process and was nervous to even look in the mirror in the morning. Luckily, her skin had recovered overnight, and the results were even pleasing. But she decided she probably wouldn’t encourage that kind of epidermal freak-out every 24 hours!
So, for some, daily exfoliation can be the way to go, but it’s not the norm. Most dermatologists recommend one to two times a week as a good place to start, and that’s often just about right. The important thing is to find what gets your skin glowing, and that may require a bit of trial and error.
2. Exfoliation Will Make You Cellulite Free…FALSE!
Many celebs swear by exfoliation methods like dry brushing for keeping cellulite at bay. And of course, pretty much anything that gets rid of cellulite—that uneven, lumpy appearance of the skin—sounds like a win. That’s why various beauty magazine writers have chronicled their dry brushing battles against cellulite, and numerous online sources claim they’ve found the cure!
But unfortunately, this myth is false. There’s no proven evidence that exfoliation corrects cellulite. Celebrities and others who claim that exfoliating improves the appearance of their cellulite are not totally off base though. Any kind of massage or stimulation of the skin results in increased circulation, as well as an added plumpness to the skin. This temporary effect can certainly reduce the skin’s dimpled look, but alas, it doesn’t last and is only a short-term fix.
That’s because cellulite is a condition that occurs underneath the skin when fat pushes through the connective tissue. Though scientists have not determined exactly who is most prone to this, or why cellulite occurs more in some people and less in others, there are indications that there may be a hereditary component.
So here’s the key takeaway: Exfoliation is great for the body for myriad reasons, but when it comes to cellulite, the best attack plan is to prevent it in the first place. A healthy diet and exercise can help keep fat in check and keep the skin nourished and happy.
3. Chemical Exfoliation is Better Than Mechanical…IT DEPENDS!
There are three different camps when it comes to exfoliation—those who go chemical, those who opt for mechanical, and those who blend a bit of both. Chemical exfoliation refers to the use of a chemical substance, such as alpha hydroxy acids, to remove the top layer of skin, encouraging it to generate new cells. Mechanical or physical exfoliation refers to the use of a body scrubber, brush, or another tool to accomplish the same goal.
Some celebrities and beauty experts insist that chemical exfoliation is the only way to go, stating that it’s gentler than any other method. But both types of exfoliation actually have their uses. For instance, a mechanical exfoliator can be really helpful when you’re dealing with oily or acne-prone areas, such as around the nose or along the hairline. In those tricky spots, a mask or wash with tiny granules (a physical exfoliator) might be the best choice.
In other situations, a chemical exfoliator can do the job equally well. Gwyneth Paltrow is one celebrity who swears by chemical exfoliation, and she even included an alpha and beta hydroxy acid mask in her “Goop” skincare line. According to Vogue Magazine, the mask is one of Paltrow’s “pro tips” for smart skincare.
However, what works for Gwyneth may or may not work for everyone. Going the chemical route doesn’t always pan out. Take for example, skin peels, a chemical exfoliation method so popular that Oprah even outlined the pros and cons on her website for curious readers. While some people have excellent results after undergoing a peel, others experience significant irritation and would never get one again.
As with most things related to being human, it’s all individual. Finding the right exfoliation routine requires a bit of experimentation. You might choose a sea sponge or bath brush for a full-body experience and then try a chemical exfoliator just for the face. Your skin will let you know what it likes and what it doesn’t.
4. Exfoliating Will Give Me Skin Like a Celebrity…COME ON!
Sure. You can follow the skincare routine your favorite celebrity shares online, but it’s important to know that there’s probably more to it. Keep in mind that stars have an entire entourage looking after their appearance, and they shell out tons of dough on their full skincare routines. Women’s Health Magazine published an entire article estimating how much well-known celebrities spend on their skin regimens.
One example was Kim Kardashian who has been known to drop a couple grand at a time for specialized laser skin treatments. She also outlined her morning skincare routine on social media, and the cost of the products she relies on totaled around $1250. So while the beauty pros often have good tips, remember that a whole lot goes on behind the scenes, as well.