How to Properly Exfoliate for Radiant, Healthy Skin

We all want radiant, glowing skin. But this can feel like an elusive skincare goal, especially as we age because cell turnover slows down and dead skin cells can give us a dull complexion.1 The good news is that with a proper exfoliating routine for your face and body, you can safely and effectively remove the layer of dead skin and restore your healthy, vibrant glow. Exfoliating may help allow moisturizers and serums to better penetrate the skin and help your foundation glide on smoothly instead of sitting atop flaky skin.

Why Is It Important to Exfoliate?

While you might already know that exfoliating your skin gives it that fresh glow, helping it look better, you might not know that it also improves the health of your skin. “On a daily basis, our skin cells renew, and the cells that form the outer layers of our skin die as the new cells replace them. Exfoliating ensures that the dead cells are completely removed,” explains Burns. “If we don’t remove the dead cells, our skin can appear dull and, in time, our pores can become blocked, which often leads to a breakout of acne or oily skin."

What Are the Benefits of Exfoliating?

"Exfoliating helps to brighten your complexion, improve the appearance of your skin, and crucially, it helps prevent pore clogging, acne spots, blackheads, and whiteheads," notes Burns.

Exfoliating also "helps stimulate collagen synthesis to improve the skin's texture, integrity, and keep the skin looking plump, tight, and young," says board-certified dermatologist Michelle Henry, MD. When it comes to how often you should be exfoliating, Henry says to listen to your skin. Some people prefer chemical exfoliants over physical ones and vice versa, but it's up to your specific needs.

Your Step-By-Step Guide to Physically Exfoliating the Face

McMackin walked us through the best way to use physical exfoliant on your face:

  • Wash your face with a gentle cleanser and warm water.
  • After gently washing off your cleanser and while your skin is still damp, take a pea-sized amount of exfoliant, placing a small dot on your forehead, both cheeks, and chin.
  • In gentle, circular motions spread the exfoliant across your face. Some incredibly soft exfoliators, such as ZO Exfoliating Polish, can be used on the eyelids and over the eyebrows. “The mica in the Exfoliating Polish gives your skin a beautiful glow for a gorgeous cheek and eye pop,” says McMackin.

Ready to restore your skin’s healthy glow? Read on for everything you need to know about how to exfoliate your face and body, which products to use, and expert tips for the best results.


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