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  5. How To Remove Dead Skin From Your Face?

Does your skin appear dull despite putting in conscious efforts? Do you notice frequent breakouts and blemishes? The build-up of dead skin cells can make your skin appear dull and dark.

On a brighter side, you can resort to natural remedies to get rid of dead skin build-up and achieve healthy and glowing skin.

Scroll down to know what causes excess dead skin on your face and how you can get rid of them.

What Is Dead Skin?

Our skin has an in-built process called ‘desquamation’ [1] that includes production of new skin cells and shedding off old skin cells constantly. The skin cells are composed of keratin protein, which forms in the epidermis. In their life cycle, these cells travel up from the epidermis to the outermost layer of the skin called the stratum corneum [2], where the skin cells die and get shed off eventually.

“It takes a month for a skin cell to complete the desquamation cycle. While it is normal for your body to shed nearly 40,000 skin cells every hour, the real problem arises when your skin produces dead cells in unusual amounts, which build up instead of shedding. This leads to unwanted skin issues”, says Dr. Zeel Gandhi, Chief Ayurvedic Doctor at Vedix.

old dead cells on the skin's outer surface

Dead Skin Symptoms

  • Scaly dull skin
  • Dryness
  • Flakiness
  • Rough and thick skin texture
  • Itching
  • Acne breakouts

We shed around 500 million dead skin cells daily, which make up the first 18 to 23 layers of our skin. [3]

What Causes Excess Dead Skin On The Face?

In Ayurvedic terms, we can correlate the excessive build-up of dead skin cells to increased Vata dosha, thus, to increased dryness in your skin.

Below are some of the important factors that trigger an elevation in Vata dosha, which leads to the build-up of dead skin cells.

1. Age

In every person, the Vata dosha starts to dominate the body when the age crosses 50. Hence, dryness, dull skin with dead skin build-up is most common among old-aged people.

2. Lack of Proper Cleansing

The longer you leave your skin uncleansed, the more dead skin cells buildup. Also, the unremoved makeup and oil residues can make it difficult for dead skin to shed off.

3. Malnourishment

Lack of nourishment causes dehydration and dryness in your skin, which leads to shorter life span of your skin cells. This results in the production and accumulation of dead skin cells in abnormal amounts.

4. Using the Wrong Or Harsh Skin Products

Skin products with harsh ingredients increase dryness in your skin and damage your skin cells, which build up and form a rough skin texture.

5. Climate Changes

Living in regions with arid and dry climates also increases dead skin production in your skin. Also, from late spring to early winter is the period in which Vata dosha dominates, leading to dryness and excessive dead skin production.

6. Skin Conditions

You may experience excessive dead skin cell buildup during skin conditions such as psoriasis or eczema.

7. Sun Exposure

Harsh sun exposure damages your skin cells [4] and causes them to die quickly. This leads to increased build-up of dead skin cells over time.

What Does Dead Skin On The Face Look Like?

The dead skin on your face may look like a dull and dry skin patch that feels rough when you touch it. Eventually, it turns into a flaky skin patch that doesn't shed off naturally.

irritated reddened skin

To check if you have dead skin build up, put a clear tape on your face and strip it off gently. If you find numerous skin flakes and particles on the tape, then you have dead skin accumulation on your face.

How To Remove Dead Skin From The Face?

1. Ayurvedic Treatments

Ayurveda recommends treating dead skin cell build-up issue in two steps:

Step 1: Control the dead skin cell production by balancing elevated Vata dosha in your skin.

This can be done by doing self-abhyanga daily before taking a bath. Abhyanga is an ancient Ayurvedic practice of massaging your body with warm herbal oils to pacify your elevated doshas. Besides providing rich nourishment and moisturization to your skin cells, self-abhyanga helps to control aggravated Vata dosha by moving your lymphatic system, calming your nerves, improving blood circulation, which in turn counteracts aging in your skin.

“Sesame or almond oil can be the best choice to do self-abhyanga for balancing increased Vata dosha in your body,” says Dr. Zeel.

Step 2: Remove the existing dead skin cells build-up through Ayurvedic herbal exfoliation.

Herbal exfoliation is a time-tested practice to steer clear the dead skin build-up in the deep layers of your skin. You can choose any of the following herbal exfoliant formulations based on your skin type:

A. For Extremely Dry Skin

Add one spoon each of white sandalwood powder, arjuna, shatavari, brahmi, and Indian madder to a cup of chickpea flour to prepare ubtan. Prepare a fine paste by adding sufficient warm milk to the mixture. Apply it on your face, scrub it for 5-10 minutes before leaving it to dry. Later, rinse the ubtan pack using more warm milk. After 5-10 minutes, give a final rinse with normal water.

B. For Normal To Oily Skin

Mix one spoon of turmeric, one spoon of red sandalwood powder, two spoons of orange peel powder, two spoons of neem leaf powder, two spoons of white sandalwood powder, and a cup of chickpea flour. Add sufficient yogurt to the mixture and prepare a fine ubtan. Apply it on your face and scrub it gently for 5-10 minutes. Leave it for half an hour and rinse it with cold milk.

Besides self-abhyanga and herbal exfoliation, practising an everyday skincare routine with dosha-balancing products is a great way to keep your elevated doshas in balance. This way you can maintain your skin’s health too.

Vedix Tip: To balance aggravated Vata dosha in your skin, drink a bottle of water infused with a spoonful of chia seeds every day.

2. Home-Made Exfoliants

1. Grind two spoons of brown sugar into powdered form. Add 2 spoons of almond or coconut oil to it and apply the mixture to your face. Scrub your face gently for 5 minutes and then wash it off using lukewarm water. Repeat twice a week.

2. Prick open the vitamin E capsule and add the content to a spoon of baking soda. Add some water drops to it and prepare a paste. Apply this mixture to your damp face and scrub it for 5 minutes. Later, wash it off with water. Repeat once a week.

3. Grind two spoons of epsom salt into a fine powder and add a spoon of coconut oil to it. Also, add 1-2 drops of lavender oil to the mixture and scrub your face with it for 2-3 minutes. Later, rinse your face with tepid water. Repeat once a week.

4. Add a spoon of coconut or olive oil to 2-3 spoons of grounded coffee powder. You can add some water to the mixture to form a grainy paste. Scrub your face with it for 5 minutes and wash it off with water. Repeat once a week.

5. Prepare a fine powder by grinding 2-3 spoons of oatmeal. Make a paste by adding some water to it. Apply the oatmeal paste to your face and massage it for a few minutes before rinsing. Repeat twice a week.

3. Chemical Treatments

If you have very sensitive skin and natural exfoliation seems not-so-smooth on your skin type, then you can opt for any of the following chemical exfoliation techniques as recommended by your dermatologist:

A. Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs)

It comes in the form of topical lotions and creams which contain citric acids, lactic acids or glycolic acids. However, AHAs can cause sun sensitivity and mild irritation if used in excess. You can go for polyhydroxy acids, which are much better options for sensitive skin type.

B. Beta Hydroxy Acids

Also known as salicylic acid, beta hydroxy acids are useful in treating acne along with removing dead skin cells. These are less irritating compared to AHAs. But, you may need to avoid using hot or cold water when you apply salicylic acid [5].

How To Prevent The Build-up Of Dead Skin Cells?

1. Cleanse your face or take a bath daily to prevent the accumulation of dead skin cells.

2. Load your meals with antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables. Cut off sugars and carbs from your diet.

3. Always wear sunscreen while you spend time outdoors. Your skin cells shed more due to over-exposure to the sun.

4. Quit your smoking habit as it speeds up cell death and skin ageing.

Tips To Exfoliate Dead Skin On Face

1. Avoid over-exfoliation as it can lead to irritation and redness on your face.

2. Hold off your exfoliating treatments when you are experiencing acne breakouts or any other skin infections.

3. Do not use salts, beads or sugar with coarse-sized particles to exfoliate your skin as such large particles can cause microtears in your sensitive facial skin.

4. Always use a moisturizer after exfoliating your skin.

Frequently Asked Questions About Dead Skin

Does Dead Skin On The Face Cause Acne?

If you do not cleanse your face properly, then the natural oils in your skin trap the dead skin cells which together clog your skin pores. This is the perfect recipe for the acne-causing bacteria, Propionibacterium acnes, to feed on your dead skin cells and breed in the pores. This, in turn, results in acne with inflammation.

How Often Should You Remove Dead Skin From Your Face?

Begin to exfoliate your skin once a week and then you can eventually figure out the right frequency by trials based on your skin type and the type of exfoliant you use.

However, Dr. Zeel recommends deep cleansing your face through gentle exfoliation once or twice a week if you have dry skin and on alternative days if you have oily skin.

Important Note:

It’s important you consult a dermatologist or an Ayurvedic doctor before you go ahead with any of the treatments mentioned in this article.

The Last Word

Shedding dead skin cells and restoring them with new ones is a normal process for your skin. These dead skin cells should be cleared off from your skin regularly to avoid your skin turning dry, flaky, and acne-prone. Now that you know how to deep clean your face to remove the dead skin cells, what are you waiting for? Try the above-mentioned natural techniques to gently exfoliate your face and bring out healthier and glowing skin.

We, at Vedix, understand the underlying causes for your skin problems and customize an Ayurvedic skincare regimen for your unique skin needs.

Know Your Dosha Now

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