Tips for Exfoliating Skin

I've been using apricot scrub for years to exfoliate on my face and body, but I was recently told that this is the absolute worst product ever for exfoliating your skin, especially the skin on your face. What's better?

Doctor Answers (2)

Regular exfoliation is one step to more luminous and...

+2

Regular exfoliation is one step to more luminous and smooth skin. It is particularly effective in conjunction with medical peels and microdermabrasion.

There is no one method for every individual, and like all effective skin care options, it is a matter of trial and error to find your best option. Your dermatologist can guide you with the decision. I have found both mechanical (rough face cloth or fine scrub) and chemical (AHA, salicylic acid) are effective.

I am not a fan of salt on the face. Sugar is popular for body scrubs. I usually recommend fine particulate scrubs on the face, or gentle enzyme peels.

It is important to inform your skin care provider about allergies and the use of retinoids like Retin-A. Always remember that exfoliation is important just before using an "active" like antioxidant or moisturizer to enhance penetration.

Use regular sun protection to prevent future damage while you are correcting the old damage from sun exposure.


New Orleans Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

You don't need a lot of special products to exfoliate...

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You don't need a lot of special products to exfoliate your skin. A good, old-fashioned washcloth works, when soaked in warm water and used gently.

  • If you want to use an exfoliating cream or scrub, be sure to test it on your hand first.

Make sure it has very fine grains or particles. Many commercially available scrubs contain abrasive particles that can scratch and irritate the skin. Be gentle and don't use them more than once or twice a week, as you can cause more harm than good.

  • Acid-based products dissolve the bonds between skin cells on the surface of the skin as opposed to physically rubbing off the surface of the skin.

These are a very good choice, particularly for sensitive skins. These come in cleansers, creams, and scrubs. Again, start light and don't use these more than once or twice a week until you see how your skin responds. And watch the strength of the acid -- the stronger the acid, the deeper the effect.

  • For most people, exfoliating every day is not a good idea.

That can be too harsh for the skin and can cause skin irritation, crusting, and other problems. Once or twice a week is usually sufficient for most people for at-home exfoliation. If you are going to your doctor for chemical peels, once every 2 to 4 weeks is probably enough, but the frequency really depends on the strength of the peel.

Jordana S. Gilman, MD
Atlanta Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.