Exfoliation is a vital step in obtaining a smooth radiant complexion. Not only does exfoliation refine the skin and even the skin tone but it also removes dead skin cells allowing the skin to more effectively receive your skin care products thus increasing their efficacy. The most common exfoliation methods are manual exfoliation and chemical exfoliation.
Manual exfoliation involves physically removing dead skin cells by hand. For the face, choose exfoliators with scrubbing spheres or beads and massage gently without applying too much pressure. Rougher scrubs made with ground nutshells, etc. can scratch or tear delicate facial skin. If you have very sensitive skin or active acne, manual exfoliation is not recommended.
Chemical exfoliation is achieved with skin care products that contain one or more acids or enzymes, most commonly Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA) or Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA). Both AHA and BHA exfoliate the surface of the skin, but BHA can exfoliate inside pores. BHA also has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory actions, which makes it ideal for blemishes, acne, sensitive or reddened skin. AHA works well for those with more tolerant skin or those seeking to reduce sun damage, dryness or thickness.
Exfoliation generally should be done 1-3 times per week but be sure to follow the manufacturers guidelines included with your product choice. And remember exfoliation comes with the risk of increased sun sensitivity so be sure to always incorporate a sunscreen into your beauty routine.