The trick to smooth, supple skin? Consistent and effective exfoliation. Abrasive scrubs—also known as “mechanical exfoliation”—can be unnecessarily harsh on the complexion, but choosing to remove dull skin via chemical means has a long list of benefits. Not only can chemical exfoliation be much more effective in the short term, but it can also change the way that skin ages! Chemical exfoliators that contain alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) like glycolic and lactic acid—or beta hydroxy acids (BHA’s) such as salicylic acids and enzymes—are derived naturally, meaning the skin-enhancing benefits are huge.
Exfoliating regularly will decrease buildup of dead (and often, acne-causing) skin cells, allow serums and moisturizers to sink in more deeply (making those products more effective!) and can also address texture and pigmentation concerns. Want to know more? Follow along on our first Beauty 101 lesson!
Effects: Brightens, tones, tightens, increases cell turnover, boosts collagen, reduces and prevents acne and rosacea, humectant benefits.
Routine: As with anything, consistency is key, and results will increase with cumulative treatment. If you are new to exfoliation—or have sensitive skin or an inflammatory condition (like acne or rosacea)—your skin will need some coaxing before you launch into a regimented routine. Start by using an exfoliating product once a week (doing so at night is best), and move up from there over the period of a month. Keep an eye on the way that your skin reacts: a bit of peeling and flaky skin is normal, but long-term redness and irritation is not. Post-exfoliation is the perfect time to apply vitamin-packed serums and moisturizers—these will immediately soak deep into the skin and produce better results!
By Erin Gerlach of The Sparkle
Salicylic Acid: Derived from the bark of a willow tree, salicylic acid is a BHA. This ingredient is ideal for the treatment of acne—its anti-inflammatory properties penetrate to exfoliate deep into blocked pores at percentages of .5-2%.
Try: SkinCeuticals Blemish + Age Defense ($82)