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How often should I exfoliate?

Like many women, you probably have a daily skin care routine: wash, moisturize, repeat. This basic beauty regimen may seem to be working just fine, but by not exfoliating, you’re wreaking havoc on your skin in the long run.

Young woman looking into the mirror

Why do we need to exfoliate?

You might not be aware of it, but your body is constantly producing new skin cells. That, combined with environmental factors and the use of makeup, can be damaging to the skin. If you don’t exfoliate, your pores can accumulate dirt and other debris, causing breakouts. Exfoliation helps slough off dead skin cells, remove dirt and keep pores looking smaller — all for a more glowing complexion.

Should you exfoliate every day?

No. While your skin does need to be buffed and refreshed on a regular basis, exfoliating more than necessary can actually cause skin to become rough, dry and patchy. Instead, follow these guidelines to get your freshest, most youthful-looking skin.

Oily skin

Most people think only teenagers have oily skin. Wrong! Women of all ages can experience it. As a general rule of thumb, the oilier your skin, the more often you can exfoliate. Instead of using hot water to remove excess oil and dirt, opt to use warm water and a mild exfoliator like the Clarisonic Deep Pore Detoxifying Solution. Having oily skin makes it hard for dead skin cells to make their exit, but the detoxifying solution penetrates deep into the pores, gently flushing away debris and oil and leaving you with flawless-looking skin.

Sensitive skin

Women with sensitive skin should avoid harsh scrubs and peels as it can lead to excessive irritation. Instead, use a gentle exfoliating cleanser twice a week to gently remove dead skin cells. Opt to use a washcloth instead of other exfoliating tools as the brushes can cause allergic or irritant reactions. Also, make sure to use a clean washcloth when exfoliating. Using the same washcloth can breed bacteria and ultimately do more harm to your skin than good.

Dry skin

Many people believe that exfoliating may be too rough or abrasive on dry skin. This is not the case. In fact, women with dry skin actually get an abnormal buildup of skin cells, preventing normal exfoliation and normal moisture retention. Exfoliating helps the dead skin cells shed at a more normal rate, making room for new skin cells and hydrating the skin. If you’re a woman who has dry skin, use a mild exfoliating cleanser in combination with a cleansing brush twice a week to help sweep away dead skin cells more quickly and see softer, clearer and more hydrated-looking skin.

Normal or combination skin

Women who have normal or combination skin often have a T-zone that is oily and cheeks that are dry. These women also tend to have large pores, especially on the nose, and they experience occasional breakouts. If this sounds like you, then a chemical peel that contains alpha hydroxy and beta hydroxy acids is the right thing for you. Such peels are extremely effective in eliminating excess oil through the T-zone area. How often you should use such peels varies by product, so make sure to always follow the directions. Women with normal skin can also use exfoliants like scrubs up to three times each week.

Remember: If you’re in search of an exfoliating tool, these items will do the trick

Exfoliating gloves

Exfoliating gloves (Ulta,$3)


Washcloth (Target, $4)

Clarisonic Mia

Clarisonic Mia2 (Clarisonic, $150-$169)

More skin care tips

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