The 411 on Exfoliation

I’m often asked:

  • Why exfoliate?
  • Is exfoliating OK for my skin type?
  • What’s the best method?

First off, let’s break down the logistics! There’s two types: mechanical and chemical.

Mechanical exfoliation includes scrubs, Clairisonics, and microdermabrasion. The idea is to manually remove dead skin by using pressure and movement. Most people use these too aggressively! Too much pressure can lead to microscopic tears in the skin, which causes a breakdown of collagen and elastin, which eventually leads to wrinkles. Microdermabrasion is probably the worst of these – it’s a dry tool against dry skin! If you prefer using facial scrubs, just use them super lightly AND find one that has tiny beads similar to the consistency of sugar. I recommend this one: Skin Ceuticals Micro-Exfoliating Scrub

Chemical exfoliation includes popular acids like glycolic, salicylic, lactic, and retinol. These work by breaking apart peptides that hold skin cells together, causing them to slough off and encourage faster cell turnover. This is why peels are so popular – they take off a layer of old cells so that new, healthy skin can grow in faster. Enzymes are another option. They work by “eating away” dead surface cells. They’re very mild, but perfect for anyone who is pregnant or has extra sensitive skin. Chemical exfoliation is the cleanest process with no damage done.


Having this step in your routine is beneficial, no matter your skin type! Exfoliating will help to improve skin tone and texture, lessen the depth of fine lines and wrinkles,  give the appearance of smaller pores and help control breakouts. If you’re dry, your moisturizer will work more effectively and go further not having to work through a thick dead cell layer. If you’re oily, it will create a less desirable environment for bacteria and oil to collect. 

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