When it comes to glowing, radiant skin, exfoliation is key, as this does away with the layer of dead skin cells that sit on the surface of your skin, allowing your fresh new skin cells to show through. By doing so, exfoliation also enables the skin care products that you apply to properly penetrate your skin, in a way that they would not otherwise have been able to, making exfoliation absolutely essential at least twice a week.
Avoid Harsh Exfoliants
Whether you are exfoliating your neck or your nose, the skin from your shoulders up is much more delicate than that on the rest of your body, meaning that extra care needs to be taken when it comes to avoiding harsh exfoliants. These are usually found in scrubs, and come in the form of crushed fruit pits and shells. These are simply too abrasive for the skin on the face and neck, and will leave your face with tiny scratches that are vulnerable to infection and breakouts. Gentler scrubs are much safer, as are chemical and enzyme exfoliants.
While common sense may dictate that exfoliating in the evening will help to rid your skin of all of the dirt and bacteria that has settled onto it over the course of the day, this can also be done with a cleanser, and does not require an exfoliant. If you usually exfoliate at night, try doing it in the morning instead. Since your skin heals and regenerates while you are asleep, you are left with a layer of dead skin cells in the morning, as well as fresh new cells that are waiting for this layer to be exfoliated so that they can show through.
Always Exfoliate on Damp Skin
No matter how much of a rush you may be in, it is important that you always rinse your skin first, with lukewarm water, before exfoliating. This will give your pores time to open up, making your skin much more receptive to the exfoliant that you apply.
Be Careful Not to Over-Exfoliate
As beneficial as exfoliation may be, over-exfoliating is a common problem, and can quickly lead to irritated skin, especially for those who already have sensitive skin. If you are using retinol or acne treatments, these products act as exfoliants themselves, so this also needs to be taken into account. For those with dry skin, try exfoliating once a week to begin with, while those with normal or oily skin can start with twice a week, and then gradually work this up if you need to, paying close attention to how your skin responds.
The skin on your body is relatively tough compared to the skin from your shoulders up, which is why extra care needs to be taken when it comes to exfoliation. After exfoliating, your skin is going to be much more vulnerable to the environment, so be sure to immediately apply a moisturizer, as this will form a thin layer of protection over the surface of your skin.