What Are the Best Tips for Gentle Exfoliating?

B. Miller

Regular exfoliating of the skin is important to remove dead skin cells, and give it a healthier, fresher appearance; it also makes it easier for the skin to absorb moisturizer. This is true for the face and body, but it is important to do more gentle exfoliating on the sensitive facial skin than on the body. People with sensitive skin overall, though, or very dry, red skin may want to do gentle exfoliating all over. There are a few different ways to do this, but experts generally recommend softening the skin first with warm water, then using an exfoliating product such as a skin scrub, or even just a washcloth, to gently rub the skin in a circular motion.

A washcloth is a gentle and inexpensive exfoliator.
A washcloth is a gentle and inexpensive exfoliator.

There are many different types of exfoliating cleansers that can be used for gentle exfoliating, some of which are better than others. Sugar or oatmeal scrubs are some of the best options for exfoliating the skin on the body, and these can even be made at home with a little effort. Other exfoliators may include small plastic beads or pieces of apricot, which are common for facial cleansers. Single-use exfoliating cloths that already have cleanser in them can be a good choice for daily gentle exfoliating.

Using sugar or oatmeal scrubs may result in smoother, more glowing skin.
Using sugar or oatmeal scrubs may result in smoother, more glowing skin.

Exfoliating skin in the shower or bath is a good idea because the skin has already been softened, and it will be easier to remove the dead skin cells with less effort; simply splashing warm water on the face beforehand can accomplish this as well. The exfoliating cleanser can simply be applied with a washcloth; an exfoliating brush or loofah are other options that also work well. Apply the exfoliator and then gently rub the skin in a circular motion; it is generally a good idea to work in smaller sections of the body rather than trying to do it all at once.

Rinse the skin thoroughly, and then after stepping out of the shower or bath, immediately apply a moisturizer because the skin will be ready to absorb it. Some people may find that they want to do gentle exfoliating every day, while others may find that it is best only do it a few days per week, or just once per week. It can be a helpful practice for both dry and oily skin types, but as with any other skincare regimen, overdoing it can have the opposite of the intended effect, and make skin conditions worse; so be sure to carefully observe the skin and see how it responds to exfoliation.

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