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Exfoliation is a vital part of a proper skincare routine.

As with any skin treatment, there are benefits, things to avoid, and different methods. Here are my thoughts on how to get the most out of it this important step.

Exfoliation allows the other parts of your skincare routine to become more effective.  It removes congestion and dead skin cells, unclogging the pores and allowing the products that follow to absorb into the skin better.

There are 2 types of exfoliation: chemical and physical. The most familiar, physical exfoliation, uses an ingredient that physically scrubs old, dead cells from the surface of the skin. These can offer instant gratification--skin immediately feels softer and looks brighter, however, It is easy to get carried away with this type of exfoliation and overdo it.

Over scrubbing can irritate skin and strip it of its hydrating oils.  It can also create micro-tears, creating inflammation and making your skin more sensitive. Since physical exfoliation is somewhat harsh, depending on your skin’s condition, do not do it more than 2-3x a week .

I would not recommend using physical exfoliation if you have acne. Physical exfoliation can actually pick up the bacteria in your skin and spread it, causing more breakouts.

Chemical exfoliators, believe it or not, are less harsh. These exfoliators use a variety of chemicals to promote skin renewal through regeneration. They contain alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) such as glycolic acid or beta-hydroxy acid (BHA) such as salicylic acid. They melt away the dead skin cells, rather than scrubbing them.

There are many different types of acids you can use to exfoliate your skin, such as Retinoic Acid, Lactic Acid, Citric Acid, and Carbolic Acid, to name a few.

Biologique Recherche Lotion P50V 1970, a micro-exfoliating toner,  is my favorite, and comes in many strengths to address a variety of skin conditions. It speeds up the epidermis’s natural exfoliating process, and the reconstruction of the epidermal skin. It makes  your skin look brighter, cleaner, and clearer. (I like to pair it with their Creme Masque Vernix for a hydrating boost).

Another great form of chemical exfoliation is vitamin A. I really like Environ’s Vitamin A C-Quence step up system because it uses retinyl palmitate, which is milder than other forms. If you are using the correct version of a chemical exfoliator, you can use it every day.