Skin exfoliation is an essential part of any skincare routine. Exfoliation sloughs away dead skin cells to make way for a softer, smoother complexion. It also improves circulation and allows for fuller absorption of other skincare products, such as facial serums and daily moisturizers. As you learn how to exfoliate skin in a healthy way, it’s important to remember to be gentle. Aggressive exfoliation or exfoliating too often can leave the skin looking and feeling red and raw.
There are two types of exfoliation - physical exfoliation and chemical exfoliation. Physical exfoliators containing microbeads and chemical exfoliators containing acids go to work once you begin to massage the product into the skin. When exfoliating your face, use your fingertips to apply your exfoliant scrub in a circular motion, primarily focusing on your t-zone area where pores become clogged most often. However, don’t discount your hairline and chin, especially if you’ve noticed dull or rough skin or the appearance of acne breakouts. Be careful around the delicate under-eye area, and extend exfoliating down to your neck as well.
As you exfoliate, never pull or tug at the skin. Rubbing harshly may tear or stretch it out and cause more harm than good. After you’re done, follow up with your favorite moisturizer to lock in hydration and provide added nourishment. As you begin to see how this skincare step allows your beautiful skin to shine through, two key factors that’ll keep your skin happy is selecting the right skincare product and maintaining regular exfoliation as part of your routine.
Selecting the Right Skincare Product
Part of learning how to exfoliate skin correctly is picking an exfoliator based on your skin type. For example, if you have sensitive skin, ingredients such as retinol may cause irritation or possibly lead to acne breakouts or dark skin spots.1 Instead, look for skincare products with nourishing, exfoliating ingredients like the amber microbeads found in the Micro Polish Cleanser. This will help keep the skin calm and healthy-looking, while reducing fine lines.
The microbeads work as natural, gentle scrubbers that lift away dead skin cells and melt into your skin leaving dry skin feeling hydrated and smooth. Other natural ingredients found in the best skincare for dry skin that work to slough away flaky skin and revitalize a lackluster complexion are glycolic acid from pineapples and papain from papaya. These are both found in the Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask. The combination of these all-natural, fruit-derived acids smooths and refines the skin’s surface texture while promoting rejuvenation for brightness and toning.
When exfoliating the rest of the body, including particularly rough spots like your knees and elbows, choose a body exfoliator that removes dead skin cells and supports the skin’s natural renewing process. Dry skin responds well to alpha hydroxy acid or AHAs.2 The AHA Smart Renewal Body Serum uses lactic acid (AHA) from yeast to gently exfoliate the skin’s surface and a probiotic extract to strengthen the skin’s barrier, plus xylitol to boost hydration. The result: softer, brighter skin.
Maintaining a Regular Skincare Routine
Now that you know how to exfoliate skin naturally, make it part of your regular skincare routine. The way you protect your skin now will pay off in the future. Plus, setting aside a few minutes each day to care for your skin can feel pampering. A minimum daily skincare routine should include cleansing, moisturizing, and protecting the skin with sunscreen at the very least.
Typically speaking, limit the exfoliation part of your regimen to once or twice a week. Getting rid of dead skin cells is a good thing, but you also need to allow the skin to go through its normal cell renewal process and avoid stripping it of its natural oils. It’s also important to stay consistent to see positive changes. While we like to see immediate results, skincare is an ongoing process.
Also, keep in mind, the weather may affect how often you need to exfoliate. The dry, wintry months can leave the skin feeling chapped and irritated. On the other hand, extra sweat buildup as a result of the summer heat can clog pores on a more frequent basis. As you perform a daily check-in of your skin’s texture and appearance, it’ll become clear how often exfoliation is necessary. Although it’s not a process you’ll want to implement every day, if your skin is extra dry or clogged, try two to three times a week versus one or two.
Learning how to exfoliate skin is simple and makes a big difference in protecting its tone and texture. In the same amount of time it takes to brush your teeth, you can give a healthy boost to your skin. By polishing it on a twice-a-week basis, you’ll help to create a more even skin tone and allow healthy skin cell regeneration to take effect.
Keep your complexion in good shape by exfoliating with a face wash formulated for your skin type. Always follow up with a hydrating clean moisturizer to help achieve a healthy glow. Once this becomes a habit, you’ll see and feel the difference as you put your best face forward.
About the Author
With over 20 years’ experience in luxury beauty, David Delport brings both cosmetics and skincare expertise to his role as Global Brand Ambassador, having worked for renowned brands like NARS, Laura Mercier and Trish McEvoy. During his 12-year career at REN Clean Skincare, David has worked in-hand with product development, while employing his own industry knowledge. Based in London, but regularly working between LA, New York and Paris, David shares expertise through clean skincare masterclasses. His enthusiastic and educational talks help to create press and customer engagement on a global scale. Personally, David is super-passionate about the environment, especially the protection of our oceans. A trained scuba diver, and advocate of nature conservation, he embodies the "Clean to Skin. Clean to Planet." ethos of REN Clean Skincare, making him an ideal and authentic international ambassador for the brand.