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How to Exfoliate Your Skin for a Glowing Complexion

Exfoliation can have some beautiful results—smooth, flake-free skin, a glowing complexion, better product absorption—but over-exfoliating is one skincare mistake almost all of us make at one time or another. Overdoing it can lead to dryness, redness and, eventually, visible lines. Learning what products and exfoliation techniques are best for you will help you achieve and maintain radiant, glowing skin for the rest of your life. (You’re welcome.)

First of all, it’s important to know the actual definition of the word. “To exfoliate” is to remove dead skin cells from the surface of your skin. There are several different ways you can do this, like using a chemical ingredient, an exfoliating scrub or a tool like an exfoliating brush. Chemical exfoliation means using an ingredient, like an acid, to remove dead skin cells while also stimulating collagen production for plumper skin (win-win). An exfoliating scrub will typically have an ingredient, like sugar, to gently scrub away dead skin cells, while a brush or other tool is usually best reserved for skin that is visibly flaky, the kind that seems to pop up every winter.

Exfoliation looks and feels great, but how often should you do it? Knowing when to exfoliate is as much about knowing when not to exfoliate. Over-exfoliation can weaken the skin’s natural barrier, drying it out and stripping it of its natural oils. This can eventually lead to increased signs of aging. The general rule of thumb is to limit your exfoliating to no more than three times a week, but some skin types may require even less exfoliation than that. If you have sensitive skin, as more and more of us do, you may find that exfoliating once a week is enough. Keep an eye out for signs that you’re over-exfoliating, like redness, irritation and dry skin patches that get even worse—oh, the irony!

Without a doubt, the most satisfying way to exfoliate is with an exfoliating scrub. Kind of like a dead-skin scrub, it does exactly that: scrub off any dead skin to reveal a brighter, fresher complexion underneath. An exfoliating face scrub from the Pure-Sugar Scrub collection is a must-have. (Hot tip: They can also be used to exfoliate lips!) This line of four face scrubs has an option for every skin type out there, and each is made with the best naturally-derived ingredients, like kiwi. L’Oréal Paris Pure-Sugar Kiwi Scrub for Oily Skin uses extracts from the fuzzy green fruit along with three sugars to polish away dead skin while also removing dirt, sebum and other impurities. If your skin falls more on the dehydrated side of the spectrum, L’Oréal Paris Pure-Sugar Cocoa Scrub for Dry Skin pairs those three natural sugars with nourishing cocoa, coconut oil and rich cocoa butter, making for a rich scrub that conditions while it exfoliates. L’Oréal Paris Pure-Sugar Coffee Scrub for Rough Skin contains Kona coffee to energize while it smooths, while any dullness can be remedied by the grapeseed oil found in L’Oréal Paris Pure-Sugar Grapeseed Scrub for Dull Skin.

Another effective exfoliation method is called chemical exfoliation, but don’t let the name fool you. Chemical exfoliation doesn’t mean you have to head to a dermatology clinic for an aggressive chemical peel. Look for a product that contains an active ingredient, like glycolic acid, that will exfoliate for an even skin tone and reduce dullness without scrubbing. Derm-inspired L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Bright Reveal Day Moisturizer SPF 30 is an A-list example of an all-in-one cream that hydrates, provides broad-spectrum sun protection, reduces the look of fine lines and, yes, exfoliates. Meant to be worn every day, L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Bright Reveal helps to promote skin’s natural exfoliation process with glycolic acid, a member of the alpha hydroxy acid family that’s sometimes called the holy grail of exfoliation.

We love exfoliating because it’s an easy step to add to your beauty routine and can have instant results. Exfoliation can give you a glowing complexion and an even skin tone. And because it increases product absorption, you’ll benefit even more from the other skincare products in your routine. Done gently and by using just the right amount, exfoliating really is the skincare gift that keeps on giving.

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