As far as an effective skincare routine goes, regular (but gentle!) exfoliation is key
Beyond the basics of “cleanse,” “tone,” “moisturize” and “apply SPF” are additional steps that make an effective skincare routine. Exfoliating regularly is one of them; it's a step that helps the skin’s natural turnover process move itself along and, in effect, improve overall texture. It’s also a step that makes skin look bright, revitalized and healthy when done right.
That said, exfoliating has garnered mixed reactions (a bad rap included), ranging from perceptions that it’s meant to be a harsh process to the misconception that it’s unnecessary.
There’s not much to it, really. As a beginner, a gentle chemical exfoliant is good. Physical exfoliators are okay (but note: we’re talking about pads or brushes, not beads). The less friction, the better. Two to three times a week works best. But with the basics out of the way, what products can you turn to? Scroll through for a list of some highly recommended exfoliating products you can shop right now.
For gentle but double-duty exfoliation, consider products that are physical and chemical exfoliators in one. Take the Bio-Peel Gauze with Lemon by Neogen, for example, which features pads soaked in a Vitamin C-rich solution that gently buff the surface of skin, unclog pores, and brighten overall complexion.
As a leave-on-then-rinse-off mask, the Resurfacing Peel Mask is one that requires no rubbing or tugging as it gets to work on its own. Simply apply a thin layer to dry skin after cleansing, making sure to avoid the eye and lip areas. Leave this on for 10 to 15 minutes, then rinse it off with water. The key ingredients here are acids, so expect tingling as you wait for the mask to dry. As an introduction, you can start yourself off with masking for eight minutes and just twice a week, then working your way up to the recommended routine of two to three times a week.
For chemical exfoliation that can be left on (insert this step after toner, before moisturizer), try an essence that features Alpha hydroxy acid (or AHA). This is an all-around active ingredient known to gently exfoliate, reduce fine lines, lighten acne scars and leave skin looking smoother. It’s safe for everyday use, too.
For those working an AHA essence into their routines for the first time, start by applying it every three nights. Once your skin has adjusted, you may increase the frequency of use to every evening. It’s important to remember, though, that AHA needs to be reinforced during the daytime: don’t forget to wear SPF and reapply when needed.
Just like the AHA essence above, liquid exfoliants are a dime a dozen and may feature other popular acids. One other example? Salicylic acid. With regular use, this leave-on exfoliator clears up skin as it addresses scarring and hyperpigmentation. Congestion gets addressed, along with any dullness.
A gentle exfoliator safe for all skin types as well as skin ages, the 5% Citrus Fruit & Glycolic Glow Toner is meant to follow the cleanser step. When applied with a cotton round, it works to deeply clarify pores, gently buff skin and even out skin texture. To double-down on the skin transformation, use with the Nudeskin Gentle Hydra-Gel Face Cleanser and follow it up with the Nudeskin Citrus-C Mask and Daily Moisturizer.