How To Exfoliate


If you’ve ever suffered the effects of an overly enthusiastic exfoliation technique, you’ll know it can leave skin feeling sore and even red. But don’t let past experiences of harsh scrubs cloud your perspective. Swot up on the most effective techniques, gentle application methods and must-have products and you’ll be well on your way to helping skin to glow and even improving the performance of your makeup…

What Is Exfoliation?

The top layer of your skin is naturally made up of dead cells that shed as part of a regular cycle of skin renewal. However, as you get older the rate your skin sheds slows down and, as a result, it can end up looking dull and lacklustre. By incorporating regular exfoliation into your skincare routine you can help support efficient cell turnover for healthier, more glowing skin.

What Are The Benefits Of Exfoliation?

Exfoliating has multiple skincare benefits, primarily sloughing off dead cells, preventing breakouts and helping to remove dirt and grime from pores. By helping to gently refine and clear the surface of your skin, it helps to brighten, refresh radiance and increase clarity. The physical action of exfoliating can also help to boost circulation and stimulate lymphatic drainage.

What Are The Different Types Of Exfoliation?

There are two main types of exfoliation: chemical and mechanical. Chemical exfoliation uses powerful active ingredients like AHA and BHA acids to help nibble away at dead cells and refine the surface of skin, while mechanical, or manual, exfoliation relies on a gentle scrubbing motion and physical particles to help dislodge dirt, grime and whisk away dead skin. Typically, physical exfoliators tend to include grains or beads and are applied to skin for a matter of minutes before being washed off. Whereas acid-based chemical exfoliators can either be pads soaked with formula or lightweight lotions that are applied directly to skin and left on to work their magic.

How Often Should You Exfoliate?

As a guide if you’re going to be incorporating exfoliation into your regime for the first time or have sensitive skin, start by exfoliating once a week. If you’re using a mechanical exfoliator this will probably be enough as any more can cause irritation and inflammation. For acid-based exfoliators, try using three times and week and, depending on the strength of the acid, you may want to build up to everyday use.

Best Chemical Exfoliators

For effortless everyday exfoliation, we love Dr Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Universal Daily Peel. The two-step acid-soaked pads help to unclog pores and unify skin tone. For a luminous and dewy complexion, Darphin’s Resurfacing Peel is a gentle glycolic peel, helping to minimise the appearance of fine lines and pores. Craving something a little more intensive? Kate Somerville’s ExfoliKate Intensive Exfoliating Treatment combines a powerful trio of AHA, lactic acid and fruit enzymes to help dissolve impurities and slough off dead cells.

Best Manual Exfoliators

We love Malin+Goetz’s Jojoba Face Scrub, which is suitable for even sensitive skin types and combines nourishing jojoba and biodegradable beads to tackle dullness. Another favourite is Oskia’s creamy Micro Exfoliating Balm that melts into skin and contains tiny grains of MSM and silica to help polish the skin, or try Dr Goldfaden’s Doctor’s Scrub, which is filled with plumping hyaluronic acid and micro crystals and is ideal for smoothing skin.