When you’re washing, toning, moisturizing and treating, exfoliation can seem like an optional step. However, every time I read something about the best skin care, exfoliation always tops the list as a step that can’t be skipped. Why?
If you have acne-prone skin, exfoliation is key because it removes dead skin cells that could clog your pores. Anything on the skin or in the pores can mix with bacteria and cause more breakouts, so exfoliation plays a major role in keeping skin clear.
But exfoliation has benefits for other types of skin, too. The process of sloughing away dead skin cells can help with oily skin because it clears away oils, making them less likely to collect in the pores and cause the pores to expand. For dry skin, removing the dead skin cells on the surface helps the moisturizers applied afterward sink deeper into the skin and provide better hydration. All skin types may benefit from the way exfoliation can scrub away discoloration that can make the skin look older.
If you have sensitive skin, you might avoid exfoliators because of their abrasive qualities. However, many today come with “micro-exfoliants,” which gently polish away dead skin without irritation.