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Our 7 favorite products for exfoliating skin

In the beauty community, exfoliators are the products everybody’s become obsessed with as of late. The thinking is, if you can slough off that first, dead layer of skin, then the new skin will come peeking through, and you’ll look as amazing as you did five years ago.

2 types of exfoliation that are totally different

Yup, that’s pretty much how exfoliating works, but there’s little more to the story. As Maggie Kelly, the licensed aesthetician and owner of Minnesota’s Complexions On Carter Skincare Boutique tells SheKnows, exfoliation can be divided into two categories:

  • “A physical exfoliation entails removing the top layer of dead skin cells by sloughing them off with a scrub or a professional microdermabrasion treatment,” Kelly says.
  • A chemical exfoliation entails applying a product that contains ingredients that dissolve the dead skin cells, revealing fresh skin and a healthy glow. Kelly explains that chemical exfoliating ingredients may include retinols; alpha and beta hydroxy acids (AHAs & BHAs), such as glycolic acid (AHA), lactic acid (AHA) and salicylic acid (BHA); and enzymes, with pineapple and papaya being some of the more popular enzymes products.

Exfoliation is important because it keeps the skin smooth and allows hydrating ingredients to work deeply into the skin, while dead skin buildup prevents the skin from using active ingredients,” Kelly says.

More: 8 ways to whiten your teeth at home that aren’t whitening strips

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