We all know that exfoliation is key to maintaining a luminous complexion. But as much as we love using a good scrub to rid our dermis of dirt and grime, our favorite products may be doing our skin more harm than good, especially the ones that have jagged, sharp edges that do not dissolve, such as pit fruit seeds and nutshells. “They’re very abrasive and tear, scratch and rip your skin. These tiny abrasions might not be immediately apparent, but they damage your skin and accelerate aging,” says Kerry Benjamin, a licensed esthetician and owner of StackedSkincare Spa.
Sugar and salt scrubs are finer in texture and less abrasive than their large, granular counterparts, but it’s still easy to go overboard with these physical exfoliators. So please, use gentle pressure when scrubbing to avoid further irritation. Over-scrubbing can cause dehydration, redness and premature aging.
Some better exfoliating options to keep your skin clear? “Peels are much better for your skin than scrubs. They’re not abrasive and they perform so many other functions besides just exfoliation,” advises Benjamin. “In addition to being a deeper exfoliator, peels can hydrate, kill acne-causing bacteria, lift hyperpigmentation and speed up cell turnover.” Look for exfoliants containing glycolic, salicylic or alpha hydroxy acids. For those with sensitive skin, exfoliators containing fruit enzymes, such as pumpkin, papaya and pineapple are a safer bet. They slough away dead skin and impurities in a gentler fashion.
So whether you’re acne-prone or have a sensitive complexion, here are nine of our favorite exfoliators that are easy on skin and will give it a radiant glow.