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Exfoliation – The Full Story

As winter is fully upon us, it’s a great time to reinforce the role and benefits of exfoliation. This frequently overlooked step in a skincare regimen can be accomplished with either a physical exfoliator (a textured substance massaged onto skin to manually remove surface debris) or a chemical exfoliator such as the hydroxy acids which chemically dissolve the debris. Regular exfoliation to the face and body primarily sloughs off dead and dry skin, but there are also other less well-known benefits.

Sweeping away dead, dry skin cells and surface debris effectively unclogs pores and can reduce breakouts of whiteheads and blackheads. Used once or twice weekly, a physical exfoliator also allows your other products to penetrate more deeply as the dead skin cells are no longer creating a barrier between your skin and your favorite serum or moisturizer. Chemical exfoliators such as alpha and beta hydroxy acids act to improve skin tone by reducing dark spots, rough texture, and pigmentation, as well as the signs of premature aging such as fine lines. Exfoliation increases circulation and boosts skin’s radiance through cell turnover, resulting in fresh glowing skin.

Whether you prefer physical or chemical exfoliation, listen to your skin to determine how often to exfoliate. Someone with sensitive skin or rosacea may tolerate once weekly, while normal skin can handle a gentle exfoliant several times weekly. Irritation and redness are signs you may be being too harsh on your skin. And exfoliation’s benefits are not limited to the face! It’s a great time to regularly pamper your hands, neck, and decolletage as well!