You know by now that regular exfoliating is a key component to a glowing, ever-youthful complexion, but the thing about it is that if you don't find a product you love, you'll never do it. Or worse—you love your grainy scrub so much that you exfoliate your skin to death.
“Exfoliating is important as it helps with the texture and tone of your skin,” explains YouBeauty Dermatology Expert Jeanine B. Downie, M.D. It does this by removing dead skin cells and bacteria, which improves the overall look and feel while also nixing acne. But just like most things, too much exfoliating can be bad—it leads to inflammation. “Many people tend to over-exfoliate,” says Downie. (Sorry for all the Clarisonic-obsessed: Exfoliating brushes are amazing tools, but using one every day twice a day is too much for most skin, Downie notes.)
Luckily, skincare brands have been coming out with newer and more advanced formulas so you don’t have to necessarily scrub your skin raw to guarantee you remove every last dead and dull cell. Check out a few of our newest faves (and just be sure to use moisturizer and sunscreen afterwards to protect freshly peeled skin!):
The Pillow-Soft All-Natural Sponge
The Japanese have been using the konjac root in Asia (from which these sponges are made) for its medicinal detoxifying qualities for over 1,500 years. In sponge form, it works by naturally drawing out impurities from the skin and gently exfoliating to promote skin renewal. The root itself also absorbs debris and impurities, further helping draw them out and away from your skin. It’s effective but gentle and super soft, so sensitive-skinned ladies can use it without worrying about irritation. You can even use it on your delicate eye area.
The Gentle-Yet-Powerful In-Office Peel
Try it: Dermalogica BioActive Peel, $150 at Dermalogica in SoHo
(Price will vary at each professional spa, salon and skin center where the peel is offered.)
Dermalogica's multi-step, in-office peel is a gamechanger. It offers the powerful benefits of chemical peels, targeting fine lines, hyperpigmentation, roughness and acne, but with little to no redness and post-peel downtime. That's because although this peel is strong and delivers on its promises, its chemical makeup isn't so harsh that it will damage living skin and result in that classic irritated and red post-procedure mess that requires you to hibernate for the next week. After prepping the skin by sloughing away dead cells, an aesthetician applies the peel formula, which contains active ingredients such as salicylic acid, lactic acid, trichloracetic acid (TCA), pumpkin, papaya and other enzymes. This cocktail stimulates collagen production, improving skin structure and appearance, while also speeding up skin cell renewal and ceramide levels in the skin. Then, a deactivator packed with cooling, calming ingredients, neutralizes this strong solution by calming the skin and restoring the natural pH.
The Gel That Binds to Dead Skin
Try it: Sesha ReNu Exfoliating Gel, $42
Sesha's smart, papaya enzyme exfoliator removes only dead skin cells while leaving live, healthy ones untouched, making it a super gentle way to polish skin and unclog pores. Massage the gel formula on your dry skin—it bonds with dead skin cells and beads up. We can attest to how gratifying the visual proof is. All you have to do is rinse away the now-loosened dead skin to reveal softer, glowing skin underneath.
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