Exfoliating allows your youngest, most luminous skin to shine through. But how often should you exfoliate, and are there are times that exfoliation should be avoided altogether?
Apart from products that are specifically designed for daily use (for example, retinoic acid and AHAs), exfoliation is best carried out once or twice a week. However, the frequency can depend on your skin type and the climate you live in. Sensitive or delicate older skin should only be exfoliated every 2-4 weeks, whilst oily skin may benefit from a scrub 2-3 times a week. Warm weather increases oil production and perspiration, leading to faster accumulation of dead cells, and so more frequent exfoliation may be required.
The best place to exfoliate is in the shower when the skin is damp, warm and slightly soft.
If you're exfoliating your face, always use products specifically designed for this purpose. Products designed for exfoliating the body can be too irritating and abrasive for the face.
Always use a very mild product if you have fragile skin and a tendency to develop visible blood vessels on your face, and be extremely gentle when applying it.
Never use an exfoliator on delicate areas, such as under the eyes.
Whatever method of exfoliation you use, be gentle; don't rub too vigorously.
If you're planning a night out and want your skin to look radiant, apply an exfoliator an hour before you go, and then apply a calming serum to soothe any redness.
Avoid exfoliating if you're just about to hit the beach, as it will make your skin more sensitive to the sun.
Be cautious with exfoliating products if you have very delicate, dry, or sensitive skin, as some may be too harsh and dry the skin out even more.
Never exfoliate skin that is sunburned.
If you use alpha or beta hydroxy acids, your skin may tingle; this should stop within 15 minutes.
After exfoliation, protect your skin with moisturiser, and if you're going outside, with sunscreen.