Exfoliation: Slough years off your skin's age

Remember that effortless, luminous glow your skin had when you were young? It may still be there – hiding beneath layers of dead, dry skin. You see, every month or so, your skin renews itself, creating new cells to replace old ones. But as the new, fresh skin cells rise to the surface, the older, dryer skin cells can accumulate on the surface. Beneath that layer of dull skin lies your hidden glow.

To shed this dull mask, add exfoliation to your skin care routine. Exfoliation removes the dead, dry skin to improve surface appearance and help to prevent clogged pores. Exfoliation can also enhance your skin's collagen production and improve skin elasticity.

The two main kinds of exfoliation products are scrubs and chemical exfoliants. Scrubs often contain ground seeds or grainy salts, sugars, or rice that have been blended into a cream or oil base. Scrubs rub away dead, dry skin cells. Chemical exfoliants contain acidic ingredients that dissolve dry skin cells.

Your skin type and its needs will determine what type of exfoliation you should try. Dry skin may require a gentle scrub so as not to irritate skin and cause further dryness. Scrubbing may inflame acne, so if you're prone to oily skin you might choose to try a mild chemical exfoliant. If your skin is normal or combination, you could go either way. Try out both chemical and grainy scrubs to see which provides the best results. And if you have sensitive skin, stay away from fragrance and opt for soothing ingredients.

All skin types can benefit from exfoliation. Always top skin with a moisturizer and limit exfoliation to no more than 2 or 3 times a week, depending on the type and strength of product you use, unless you've been told differently by your dermatologist.


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