How To Exfoliate Safely

No one likes having dry skin! And while moisturizing is one way to treat dryness, exfoliation is the next best step to tackling flaky skin. Below, we discuss safe exfoliation methods and what products and tools to use.

Why You Should Exfoliate

Gently exfoliating removes dead, dry, and dull skin cells from the outer layers of your skin, revealing a brighter, more even complexion underneath. The benefits of exfoliating also include maintaining skin elasticity, diminishing saggy skin, and decreasing the appearance of fine lines. You will notice a need to exfoliate more in the drier months, but you want to make sure to exfoliate during the summertime as well. Your skin has likely become rough after being exposed to the heat and sun, and you’ll want to get rid of the accumulated dead skin and clarify your pores.

How to Exfoliate Safely

The American Academy of Dermatology states that if exfoliation isn’t done correctly, it can do more harm than good. So make sure to be gentle when you exfoliate, especially if you have sensitive skin. It’s also important to use a safe, soft exfoliating product like Cetaphil’s Extra-Gentle Daily Scrub ($9.69, shop here), which features micro-fine granules designed to gently buff away dry, dull skin without any irritation. In addition, look out for rough ingredients like fruit pits or seeds, walnuts, shells, or salt, whose jagged edges can cause micro-tears in the skin.

Know Your Skin Type

Remember, your skin type matters when it comes to exfoliating. Know what your skin needs and how it reacts to different products. For example, if you have sensitive skin, you should not practice mechanical exfoliation (which involves using tools or products that physically remove dead cells from your skin) because it can irritate your skin and cause redness. Instead, use gentle strokes with a towel and a mild product one to two times a week. If your skin is oily, use a gentle face brush. Combination skin can safely be exfoliated by the mechanical or chemical method, which is best done by a professional!

Tools and Products 

There are many products, methods, tools, and ingredients you can use to exfoliate the skin on your body and face. Take into account your skin type, allergies, and level of sensitivity when buying or making do-it-yourself scrubs. To safely exfoliate your face, you need a scrub that you will apply in a circular motion with your fingers. You can also use tools such as silicone brushes, pore brushes, face mitts, konjac sponges, and bristle brushes.

When you exfoliate your lips, you will want to have a dedicated toothbrush, a homemade or store-bought scrub, and a lip moisturizer or Vaseline. When exfoliating your elbows, feet, and knees, you can be a little more aggressive, as the skin on those areas is thicker. Always apply your scrub smoothly and in a circular motion. You can further use a loofah to complete the slough.

How often do you exfoliate? Tell us about your experiences with exfoliation in the comments.

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