Jul. 06, 2020

The truth about exfoliating

An exfoliant , better known as " peeling ", is a cosmetic treatment in which superficial and dead skin cells are removed. This allows new and young skin cells to surface and gives your skin an even and fresh look. There are different types of exfoliants and each type also has a specific mechanism of action.

We explain it all for you in the blog below.


When you take a cross-section of the skin you can see that the skin is made up of different tissues that can be roughly divided into 3 layers. The lower layer is called the hypodermis or subcutis. In the middle layer is called the dermis. The horn layer, also called the epidermis , is the upper layer that lies on the surface.

The epidermis protects us against toxins, bacteria and moisture loss. This skin layer can be divided into 5 sub-layers. These cells, which are created in the lower layer, migrate to the skin surface. During this migration, the cells undergo changes. This process of cell renewal, takes a total of about 28 days . The outer layer of the epidermis, which is called the horn layer, contains the flat and dead cells that eventually flake off.



The use of an exfoliant or peeling has several advantages. By exfoliating, the dead skin cells in the upper skin layer are removed . The skin gets an even, healthy and fresh appearance. Other skincare products are better absorbed by the skin.

In addition, an exfoliant also helps against the formation of pimples. Acne is caused by poor exfoliation of the skin cells which, in combination with an accumulation of sebum or sebum, clog the skin pores. By removing the dead skin cells the formation of acne can be prevented.



There are 3 ways to exfoliate, depending on the type of ingredient: a mechanical peeling, a chemical peeling and an enzymatic peeling .


What? Often a firm gel or paste-like formulation with a grain, to exfoliate and then rinse off your face.

Action? The "physical" grain works mechanically like sandpaper and theoretically rubs away dead skin cells, giving the skin a beautiful glow. In practice, you have little control over how hard you rub and how the grain works. Moreover, you not only scrub away the dead skin cells but also the healthy underlying cells. This damages the natural skin barrier. If you scrub every day, you can even develop rosacea. So it is better to avoid a facial scrub, especially if you have sensitive skin, eczema or rosacea. A granular scrub has an aggressive effect on the skin and is therefore not suitable for the thin skin on the face. So it is better to opt for a chemical or enzymatic peeling.



What? A lotion, cream or liquid applied to the skin with the aim of "loosening the dead skin cells" and giving the skin a beautiful and healthy glow.

Action? In a chemical (acid) peeling, the dead skin cells are as it were "loosened" by the acid present. The two best-known groups of acid peeling that you can do yourself at home, work on the basis of hydroxy acids. And these are:
(1) Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) or fruit acids ; including glycolic acid, apple and lactic acid - more suitable for dry or normal skin
(2) and Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs) ; such as salicylic acid - more suitable for oily skin . A chemical peel, unlike an exfoliator, will only act on the top layer of the skin and is therefore less aggressive to the skin.

A prerequisite for good peeling effectiveness is a sufficiently high concentration and a correct pH. For glycolic acid a concentration of 8% is required to be effective, while for salicylic acid a concentration of 1-2% is sufficient. The optimum pH of an exfoliant is between 3 and 4. If the pH is too high, the active acid is neutralized and ineffective.


What? A peeling (cream, gel, lotion or liquid) based on enzymes that detach dead skin cells from healthy skin cells.

Action? In enzymatic peels 'eat' enzymes (eg betaine, bromelain, papain) as it were the connections between dead and new skin cells. As a result, the dead and loose cells are 'nibbled off'. Where acids will always act on the upper cell layers, enzymes work differently: if there are no dead skin cells ready, there is nothing for them to nibble away. This makes an enzymatic peeling milder and less harmful to other healthy skin cells. Because of this mild effect, an enzymatic peeling is also suitable for people with sensitive skin. Always use sun protection because a (chemical/enzymatic) peeling makes the skin more sensitive to sun damage anyway.


We are convinced that exfoliating your skin from time to time is certainly useful. It ensures that the dead skin cells and associated dull complexion are removed from the skin.

At Nomige we prefer mild techniques, preferably an enzymatic peelings. This type of peeling will only loosen and remove the dead skin cells and will not affect the healthy skin cells. If there are no dead skin cells, the enzymatic peeling will do nothing. Thanks to this action mechanism, this type of peeling can also be used for people for sensitive skin types. Did you know that Nomige also uses an enzymatic peeling in their cleansing products? Nomige's exfoliating tonic contains ' galactoarabinan' , which acts as an enzymatic peeling.


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Everything you need to know about your skin
Skin School
Everything you need to know about your skin