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14 Oct, 2016

How often should you exfoliate?

Exfoliation allows your freshest, youngest and most radiant skin to shine through. It’s easy to get addicted to how silky smooth your skin feels after exfoliating, but too much scrubbing can also leave your skin dry, red and irritated. Here’s what you need to know about exfoliation – from top to toe.

What are the benefits of exfoliation?

Exfoliation removes the layer of dead skin cells, revealing radiant and smooth skin. What’s more, it clears and tightens pores and preps your face and body for better absorption of serums and moisturisers.

Long-term exfoliation can increase collagen production, especially if you suffer from sun-damaged skin thanks to too much time at the beach, which results in younger-looking skin. Acne-prone ladies will also benefit from exfoliation as this skin type sheds more skin cells than normal. These cells then stick to the skin, clogging pores and encouraging blemishes.

When it comes to your body, it’s important to exfoliate before applying tanning products to ensure even coverage and to rejuvenate dry, dull skin in time for the warmer months. Bikini ready? You bet.

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The risks of exfoliation

There are literally hundreds of exfoliating products and procedures, but all come in one of two forms: physical and chemical. Physical exfoliants, like an over-the-counter face or body scrub or a professional microdermabrasion, work by manually removing dead skin cells. Chemical exfoliants loosen dead skin cells from the skin’s surface with acids or enzymes – think everything from cleansers containing salicylic acid to chemical peels that clean rather than scrub.

Unfortunately, it’s possible to overdo it with both types of exfoliation. Scrubbing too vigorously with physical exfoliants can leave skin dry, red, irritated and sensitive. Going overboard with chemical exfoliants – using them too often or choosing one that’s too strong for your skin – can leave skin red, raw and inflamed.

The verdict

So what’s a happy medium between too much scrubbing and not enough? It depends on your skin type and the strength of your exfoliator. If you have dry or sensitive skin, it’s best to choose a mild option to protect your delicate skin – and don’t forget to scrub gently. Oily skin can benefit from stronger chemical treatments, but if you have acne or rosacea it’s best to avoid scrubs. Most experts recommend exfoliating your face once or twice a week if you have dry to combination skin and up to once every two days if you have oily skin.

As for the rest of your body, once a week is often enough to reap the rewards of a good scrub. Jump into a warm shower, exfoliate and finish with a moisturising body wash such as LUX Soft Touch, to nourish your skin and make the most of that silky, smooth feeling.