Aug 12, 2019
What Is Gommage Exfoliation and How Does It Work?
For skin care customers seeking the benefits of an effective exfoliation treatment without the uncomfortable effects of too-strong chemicals, gommage exfoliation offers fast, dramatic results without drying out the skin. Gommage exfoliants (the name is derived from the French verb meaning “to erase”) are enzymes in a gel formulation that is applied to dry skin, allowed to sit until it begins to feel tacky, and is then rubbed off. As the product falls away in small crumb-like balls, dead skin cells get sloughed off as well. The results are similar to those achieved with a traditional chemical peel that is rinsed off, except gommage exfoliation provides a satisfying tactile sense of feeling the dead skin cells fall away.
Traditional gommage treatments used to require the product to dry completely before being rubbed away, which put more strain on the skin. The new formulations which have been growing in popularity, in contrast, are rubbed off sooner. The gel is meant to be completely removed by the rubbing process, although depending on the other ingredients in the formula, some brands may still need to be rinsed off at the end. The treatment can be performed by an esthetician, or consumers can use the products at home on themselves.
Skin product customers seek out exfoliating treatments because by removing the dull, outer layer of dead skin cells, they can brighten their complexion, reduce the appearance of fine wrinkles and unclog pores. Gommage exfoliants can be developed for the face or body, and they can be used between one and three times a week, depending on the formulation and the individual’s skin constitution.
In general, this treatment is ideal for normal to oily skin, advise experts. People with dry or irritated skin will want to use the exfoliant slightly less often, and they will still see benefits, especially if extra moisturizing ingredients are added to the formula. Customers with mature skin can also use this product, unless their skin has become extremely thin with advanced years. The exfoliant is also not advised for skin with acne blemishes or wounds that have not yet healed.
The enzymes used in the treatment are the key to the process. They soften and digest the outer layer of dead skin cells. Plant-based enzymes commonly used are papain, derived from papaya fruit, and bromelain, which comes from pineapple. Two other frequently-used enzymes are pancreatin and trypsin, which are sourced from meat by-products. (Be aware of how the target market of your private label skin care brand will react if some of your ingredients are meat-based.)
Once you have decided to add a gommage exfoliant to your private label skin care line, you have the option of customizing your formula to meet the specific needs and interests of your market. The examples listed below are a small sampling of the many options available:
Acne prevention (avoid on new blemishes): turmeric, neem, zeolite
Brightening: raspberry, cranberry, sandalwood
Exfoliation: chickpea powder, rice powder, black sugar, volcanic sand
Soothing: white nettle, lime, CBD oil
Moisturizing: honey, goat milk
Another selling point of gommage exfoliants is in what they don’t include, which are plastic microbeads. These tiny granules were once added to exfoliating products as a gentler alternative to apricot kernels, but they are now banned in many countries due to their harmful effect on marine life and inability to be collected for recycling.
Although gommage exfoliants have time-tested popularity, they are not yet as well known in the United States as other treatments. Established brands such as Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent, as well as many boutique brands, already carry their own versions, but several other companies do not.
Many private label skin care brands would benefit from establishing a presence in the market at this time as the treatment begins to rise in the public’s awareness. Adding illustrated directions or a video to explain the unique gommage technique can help familiarize your customers with the product, and they may even draw in web traffic from internet searches about how to use the exfoliant. Once a customer is interested, you might also consider suggesting complementary moisturizing serums or lotions as part of a multi-step routine.
As gommage exfoliation grows in popularity, skin care brands can start researching their markets now to see which formulations would best engage their market.