Are you amongst the ones who has gone to town scrubbing your skin with a microbead-laden face wash everyday. I am amongst them and have raised my hand high, and yes, I am cringing, too. By now, I know that plastic microbeads aren’t just bad for our skin, they’re also harmful to the environment. But what if you, like me, miss that satisfying scrubbing feeling? Turns out, there are plenty of exfoliants out there that are not only safer for our planet, but also much more effective at gently sloughing off that outer layer of dead skin to unearth younger, glower cells.

How do you know which kind of exfoliator is best for your skin? Or how often you should be exfoliating? Here is the answer to these questions.

What are the Benefits of Exfoliation?

Regular exfoliation is key to a glowing complexion. Physical and chemical exfoliation help to brighten the complexion by sloughing off the old dead skin cells and revealing the fresh new cells underneath. This shedding of the outer layer unclogs pores, keeps skin clean and helps reduce acne breakouts. It also smooths and polishes the skin, decreasing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Which Exfoliation Method is Best for You?

Physical exfoliation is a good method if you have non-sensitive skin or if you use retinols, because, chemical exfoliants often increase retinol’s potential to cause irritation and dryness.

Chemical exfoliation is great for all skin types, but especially those with acne, sun damage or very sensitive skin. They work to exfoliate the top layer of the skin, just as physical exfoliants do, but they often work a little deeper within the skin to break apart and dissolve bonds holding the dead skin cells in place.

How Often Should I be Exfoliating?

An exfoliating routine should be just one to two days per week and then working your way up to no more than four days per week from there, only if your skin doesn’t become too dry or irritated.

When Should you Avoid Exfoliating?

Don’t do anything else irritating to your skin right before exfoliating. For example, if your skin is irritated or inflamed from extractions or a sunburn, then this won’t be a great time to exfoliate. Also, if your skin is inflamed from a rosacea flare or other breakout, then it’s best to wait until irritation goes down.

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