The top layer of what we see and call our "skin" is the Epidermis and it is in a constant state of flux; we are continually shedding that top layer of skin. The medical term for that process of cell turnover is "desquamation" (des-kwa-MA-shun) and it's a completely natural process in which skin cells are created, sloughed away, and replaced. In a 24 hour period you shed a million dead skin cells. That dry skin, those flakes and flaky patches? Those are dead skin cells.
The Dermis, the layer beneath the Epidermis, is the actual living organ. Although sweat, oil and hair (which is also not a living organism), all exit on the Epidermis, the actual living and functional organ that houses the hair follicles (engines), sweat glands (producers), oil glands (producers), blood vessels and nerves is the Dermis. And this is why from a scientific standpoint, what we put on our "skin" - the Epidermis - is not as important as what we put in our bodies. Gorgeous skin is healthy skin and healthy skin is the result of taking care of the Dermis; a healthy diet, plenty of water, cell oxygenation (no smoking and plenty of excercise), and all the things that we know we are suppose to avoid or take in moderation like alcohol, sunshine, and stress to name a few. More on that another time.
The Hypodermis, the fat layer below the Dermis is not going to be addressed in this blog because I do not want to bore you to tears.
Exfoliation speeds up the turn over of dead skin cells by removing the flaky Epidermis to not only reveal your healthy new skin cells beneath it, but also to allow lotions and oils to be better absorbed. Moisturizers applied to dead skin cells just sits there and can't do its job.
Look at the picture above, see the exit point of your hair follicle and sweat and oil glands? Dead skin cells can also block that exit. Exfoliating will "unroof" that exit point and prevent clogged pores. Clogged oil glands cause acne. My 3-in-1 Salt Bars work very well for exfoliation as do salt and sugar scrubs, loofahs, and brushes. I am not a fan of chemical exfoliates. A good non-abrasive, mechanical scrub works wonders.
Get your skin in tip top shape and summer ready now, exfoliate! And then moisturize.