Ask a Dermatologist: How Usually Ought to I Exfoliate My Face?



Once I was 15 years previous, I purchased my first exfoliator. It price $5 from the drugstore and felt grainy on my pores and skin. I used to be fairly pleased with this buy on the time and anticipated it to work wonders for my pubescent, acne-ridden face. I beloved the gritty stuff. I felt further clear each time I used it; plus, it smelled like apricots.

The one drawback was I didn’t know the solutions to those important questions: How typically ought to I exfoliate my face, and what elements ought to I search for when purchasing for an exfoliant? You hear about all the advantages one can reap from exfoliating, however figuring out the right technique to incorporate it into your skincare routine is usually a little bit of a thriller. Since I used to be 15, I’ve tried virtually each sort of exfoliator in the marketplace, and I nonetheless typically ask myself the identical questions I did again then. To set the document straight for everybody, we had a panel of trusted skincare consultants weigh in on all issues exfoliation. Hold scrolling to seek out their solutions to those primary (however essential) questions!

What are the primary advantages of exfoliating your face?

Let’s begin from the highest: Why exfoliate your pores and skin within the first place? In response to celeb esthetician (and Byrdie’s favourite skincare guru) Renée Rouleau, there are a plethora of advantages to common exfoliation for all pores and skin varieties. For these vulnerable to blemishes and clogged pores, exfoliation ought to be the primary focus of your routine. There are a number of various kinds of exfoliants (which we’ll get to in a second), however for these acne-prone pores and skin varieties, Rouleau recommends utilizing a chemical exfoliant formulated with beta hydroxy acid (strive her BHA Clarifying Serum), which is able to work “to cut back micro organism on the pores and skin whereas exfoliating and cleansing clogged pores.

Exfoliation is essential for anti-aging as nicely. For these involved about wrinkles, Rouleau says, “As you improve your exfoliation, you’re tricking the pores and skin into performing younger once more.” Retinoic acid and retinol are particular forms of exfoliants that work significantly nicely inside deeper layers of the pores and skin. “With continued use, pores and skin will look youthful and smoother every day,” she says.

Plus, for all pores and skin varieties, exfoliation merely offers the face an instantaneous glow, each by clearing away the lifeless pores and skin cells that trigger dullness and by permitting your different anti-aging merchandise to penetrate the pores and skin extra successfully.

Renée Rouleau Extremely Light Smoothing Serum $50.00


Allantoin is a compound that’s naturally discovered in lots of organisms and is produced from uric acid. It’s synthetically produced for skincare merchandise, nonetheless, and should have anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties.

Which kind of exfoliator is greatest to make use of?

There are two fundamental forms of exfoliants: bodily exfoliants (like face scrubs and clay masks) and chemical exfoliants (like acid serums and peels). There are additionally merchandise that incorporate each.

As for the most effective type? There is not any 100% goal reply (although most consultants do warning you away from over-exfoliating with bodily scrubs). Rouleau’s favourite sort of exfoliator is a leave-on acid serum (formulated with BHAs and AHAs), which is tremendous efficient at brightening pores and skin and clearing pores with out irritation. “When utilized to the pores and skin, [the serum] lowers the pH of the pores and skin … and begins to dissolve and digest the cells each on the floor and deeper throughout the pores and skin—with out having to wash and tug on the pores and skin the best way it’s a must to with bodily exfoliators.”


Alpha-hydroxy acids are a bunch of acid compounds, most frequently derived from plant-based sources. There are a number of various ones on the market, a few of which embody glycolic (derived from sugarcane) and lactic (derived from bitter milk). Whereas all of them act on the floor of the pores and skin as chemical exfoliants, they differ in measurement, and subsequently penetration and efficiency.

For those who’re extra of a masks fan, PCA Pores and skin makes some superb ones for exfoliation. “Their Purifying Masks makes use of pumice, pink clay, and algae to tug out any particles caught within the pores,” says Daniel Behroozan, MD, FAAD, director of the Dermatology Institute of Southern California and assistant medical professor of dermatology at UCLA College of Medication. “The pumice provides a pleasant grit to the masks that leaves the pores and skin actually comfortable.” The model’s Revitalizing Masks presents pure chemical exfoliation, utilizing papaya enzymes meant to eat away any lifeless pores and skin cells on the floor of the pores and skin.

PCA Pores and skin Purifying Masks $64.00

How typically do you have to exfoliate your face?

The reply to our million-dollar query is fairly common throughout the board: You need to exfoliate your face about two to a few instances per week. (An acid serum two to a few nights per week, plus a weekly masks or peel is a superb routine to shoot for.) You could have heard solely as soon as per week, however dermatologists say that for many pores and skin varieties, that is not sufficient. Encouraging that further, uninteresting layer of pores and skin cells to go on their merry approach two to a few instances per week stands out as the secret to clean, glowing pores and skin.

Dove Light Exfoliating Magnificence Bar $5.00

What are the exfoliating elements to search for?

Once you go to select an exfoliator, it is essential to search for expert-approved elements. For chemical exfoliators, maintain a watch out for glycolic, lactic, and salicylic acids, in addition to lesser-known acids like malic, lactobionic, and mandelic, which improve cell turnover like loopy. Plant enzymes like papaya, pineapple, and pomegranate are additionally potential pure exfoliators for delicate pores and skin varieties.

If it is bodily exfoliation you are searching for, strive pure elements like pumice, poppy seeds, and jojoba beads.


Jojoba oil is a pure oil produced from the seed of the chinensis plant, a drought-resistant shrub native to southern Arizona, California, and Mexico. It mimics pure sebum and circumstances and seals moisture within the pores and skin with out clogging pores or exacerbating pimples.

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