When it comes to routine skin care, there’s basic, and then there’s ‘extra’. If you already have a good basic skin care routine on a daily basis and are looking to add other treatments, you may want to consider exfoliating. 

There are two types of exfoliation methods—chemical and physical. If you’ve noticed someone whose skin is absolutely radiant and glowing, it’s likely due to some form of regular exfoliation.

Chemical exfoliation usually includes one or more acids such as alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) beta-hydroxy acid (BHA) or poly-hydroxy acid (PHA)

  • AHA is derived from fruit and works on the surface of the skin to smooth out uneven textures.
  • BHA such as salicylic acid actually goes beneath the surface of the skin to dissolve dead skin and extract oil that clogs pores.
  • PHA works similarly to AHA, yet tends to be a bit milder and also has hydrating properties.

In truth, our bodies are naturally exfoliating all the time, with no effort on our part. Dead skin cells are constantly shedding from our body. A chemical exfoliant can help the natural exfoliation process move along faster for better end results.

You can find chemical exfoliants in many forms such as cleansing pads and wipes, facial cleansers and masks. While they are widely used, those with very sensitive skin or allergies may want to consult with a dermatologist before adding this type of exfoliant to your skin care regimen.

Physical exfoliants include scrubs and masks that have abrasive ingredients added such as sugar or salt or tiny beads that work on the skin’s surface to lift away  dead skin cells. Also, facial wash clothes or special facial scrub brushes are great when used in combination with a specific exfoliating topical product.

Once you’ve decided which exfoliating products you will use, these simple steps will help you achieve smooth, luminous skin.

  1. Thoroughly cleanse your face with your favorite cleanser or face wash 
  2. Apply a small amount of the exfoliant on your face, brush or cloth 
  3. Using a gentle circular motion, scrub the entire face with the exfoliant—it’s good to apply a bit of gentle pressure but nothing too rough (be sure to avoid the eye area completely as the skin is extremely sensitive around the eyes)

  1. Rinse the exfoliant off well with tepid water, then finish with a cool water rinse to soothe any irritated areas
  2. Moisturize the face well to help replenish moisture extracted during the exfoliation.

How often should you exfoliate for best results? Not surprisingly, there are differing opinions from skin care professionals on this question, but many do recommend as often as 3-4 times a week. Those with more sensitive skin may choose to only do it once a week or even monthly.

There are plenty of exfoliating products available online or at your local beauty store that are easy and safe to use at home.