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How to exfoliate your skin — because there's more to it than most realize

Kori Ellis is an editor and writer based in San Antonio, TX, where she lives with her husband and four children. At SheKnows, she writes about parenting, fashion, beauty and other lifestyle topics. Additionally, Kori has been published i...

The must-know rules to exfoliating for smooth, glowing skin once and for all

If there's one good reason to exfoliate, it's this — exfoliating is a fancy word for removing dead skin cells. When you buff off all that dead stuff on the surface, you expose the new and radiant skin underneath. And if you're looking to get a natural glow for the summer season, exfoliating from head to toe is one of the easiest ways to achieve it.

Yet many of us are making this all-too-common exfoliating mistake: We scrub our faces but forget about everything below the neck. As the weather heats up and you get bikini-ready, you should exfoliate all over. Exfoliation is also important before applying tanning products or when rejuvenating winter-weary skin.

The must-know rules to exfoliating for smooth, glowing skin once and for all
Image: Tiffany Egbert/SheKnows

How to exfoliate


  • Exfoliating cleanser
  • Loofah, body brush or exfoliating gloves
  • Pumice stone
  • Body lotion

More: 5 Great reasons to exfoliate your face tonight


  1. Before stepping into the shower, brush your dry skin with your loofah, body brush or exfoliating gloves. This will help remove the loose skin and prepare your skin for the exfoliating process. Begin with the soles of your feet, working your way up your body.
  2. Get into the shower and wet your body from head to toe. Don't exfoliate your skin if you are sunburned or have any open cuts or wounds.
  3. Use a pumice stone on your feet to eliminate rough spots and calluses. If your feet are extremely rough, soak them in a basin of warm water mixed with a cup of milk for 30 minutes before getting into the shower.
  4. Apply your exfoliating cleanser to your loofah or gloves. Begin scrubbing your body in a circular motion starting with the bottoms of your feet and working your way up. When you reach the bikini area, don't scrub too hard because the skin is very sensitive.
  5. Use a body brush to exfoliate your back and other hard-to-reach places.
  6. Be gentle on your face, particularly around your eyes and mouth. Use an exfoliating product especially formulated for the face, which is gentler than products designed to be used on the body.
  7. Don't forget about your hands. You want them to look and feel soft and smooth too!
  8. Rinse your body with lukewarm water, and follow with the coldest water you can stand.
  9. After stepping out of the shower, apply a moisturizing body lotion all over. Body lotions and facial moisturizers containing alpha or beta hydroxy acids are ideal choices because these acids continue to remove dead skin cells.
  10. Use body moisturizer once a day. Exfoliation is drying to the skin, so you must keep your skin hydrated.
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