If you want to start exfoliating your skin but have no clue where to start, you’ll be glad to know we’ve got a dermatologist’s top picks to help guide you on your mission. Exfoliation can help fix acne breakouts, address fine lines and wrinkles and improve pigmentation.
But what even is exfoliation? In basic terms, it’s the removal of dead skin cells from the surface of your skin. It makes it easier for your skin to absorb topical products like serums, oils and creams, and creates a smoother surface for makeup, resulting in a better application.
Dr. Lindsey Zubritksy, a Mississippi-based board-certified dermatologist, told HuffPost that for most people, exfoliation is an important, beneficial step in a skin care regimen — when done properly.
“While exfoliation is a great step to add to our skin care regimen, if done incorrectly, it can cause more harm than good,” she said. “The key to correctly exfoliating is to be gentle. Less is more when it comes to exfoliation. If you over-exfoliate, it can lead to a damaged and unhealthy skin barrier, which can cause dryness, irritation, redness, more acne or eczema breakouts, and even worsening of hyperpigmentation and wrinkles.”
There are two types of exfoliation. Chemical exfoliation, like the name suggests, involves using chemical ingredients such as alpha hydroxy acids or beta hydroxy acids to remove dead skin cells. Physical exfoliation involves things like scrubs, brushes or dermabrasion to manually remove dead skin cells.
Zubritsky said she typically stays away from physical exfoliation other than dermaplaning (you can find her favorite tool for this below) or getting dermabrasion in a clinical setting.
“Mechanical exfoliation can work and be safe if performed correctly and with the right product, but it can be tricky to achieve that. For that reason, I recommend chemical exfoliation since it’s safe and just as, if not more, effective,” she said. “If performed incorrectly, mechanical exfoliation can traumatize the skin and damage the skin barrier, leading to more irritation, discoloration or redness.”
Below, we listed Zubritsky’s go-to dermaplaning tool and the chemical exfoliants she says are extremely effective.
HuffPost may receive a share from purchases made via links on this page. Every item is independently selected by the HuffPost Shopping team. Prices and availability are subject to change.