Want clear, even, bright skin? Exfoliation is one way to get closer to that picture-perfect glow—if you use your exfoliant correctly.
What is an exfoliant?
There are two main types of exfoliants: physical and chemical. Physical exfoliants, like scrubs, manually buff away dead skin cells and debris with ingredients like apricot seed powder. Chemical exfoliants, often in the form of lotions, serums or masks, use acids or enzymes to dissolve or loosen the cells and allow them to be wiped or washed away.
The benefits of exfoliating
This simple addition to your skin-care routine may have a wide range of perks.
- Sloughing away dead skin cells to encourage cellular turnover
- Clearing pores to minimize breakouts
- Improving circulation
- Evening and brightening skin tone
- Softening and smoothing the skin
- Helping serums to penetrate
How often you should exfoliate
In general, it’s safe to exfoliate two or three times per week. Some extra-gentle exfoliants can be used more often—but read the label! Also make sure you pay attention to how your skin feels. If it’s dry or irritated, you may want to exfoliate less often.
How to use an exfoliant
For physical exfoliants:
- Wash your hands and face.
- Gently rub the scrub over your damp face in circular motions.
For chemical exfoliants:
- Wash your hands and face. Pat dry.
- Your next step will depend on the formula. If it’s a lotion, you might apply it to a cotton ball and sweep it over your face. If it’s a serum, you could just pat it into your skin and allow it to dry. If it’s an exfoliating mask, you may leave it on your face for five to 15 minutes and then rinse.
- If it’s a lotion or serum, you won’t rinse the product off.