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Skincare · May 15, 2021

The Best Facial Exfoliator for Every Skin Type

If You Have Dry Skin

Those with a dry complexion should opt for a gentler, hydrating formula with a finely milled physical exfoliating agent. This type of exfoliator helps to remove dead skin cells while keeping the barrier intact, says Dr. Zeichner. Your skins barrier is the outermost layer of skin, which is essential for protecting against the elements and other irritants.

We dry-skin-havers at Birchbox are into Acure Organics Brilliantly Brightening Facial Scrub, which is made with sea kelp & French green clay to fight a flaky complexion without leaving your skin feeling stripped. Start by using it once a week and if you don't notice any irritation, build up to three.

If You Have Acne-Prone or Oily Skin

If you suffer from breakouts on the regular (same), forgo physical scrubs as they can cause existing breakouts to rupture and spread bacteria, leading to more breakouts. Instead, to exfoliate and reduce blemishes, Dr. Zeichner recommends looking for a formula that contains salicylic acid. Salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid that works to remove dead cells from the surface of the skin and also helps regulate oil production. Try Balance Me BHA Concentrate, which contains salicylic acid along with a calming and anti- inflammatory blend of bio-active ingredients that complement the acids to smooth and hydrate the skin.

If You Have Combination Skin

Got an oily T-zone (forehead, nose, and chin), but suffer from dry patches? Dr. Zeichner says your best bet for eliminating flakes from your combo skin is with a glycolic acid-based exfoliator. Glycolic acid is a plant-based alpha hydroxy acid that works to dissolve any excess oil and dead skin cells. Plus, it's safe to use on both dry and oily skin types. Our pick? Dr. Dennis Gross Peel Pads, which work to improve the texture of your skin, minimize pores, lighten dark spots, and add moisture. Sweep the pad over a freshly-cleansed face once per day. Note: You may experience a slight tingling sensation, which means its magic is working. Still, the tingling should subside quickly.

If You Have Sensitive Skin

While its important to exfoliate regularly to keep skin healthy, those with sensitive complexions should be more cautious about which formula they choose. Since sensitive skin is prone to redness, its best to choose an exfoliator that is extremely mild and doesnt contain large scrubbing agents, says Zeichner. We suggest customer-favorite Real Chemistry Luminous 3-Minute Peel (it has over 57,000 reviews in the Shop!), which is an acid-free chemical peel filled with pH-neutral proteins that bind to dead skin cells to form actual solids. Once a week, apply, massage using circular motions, then literally watch your dead skin wash away (it's so satisfying!). In just three minutes, youll have a smoother complexionwithout any irritation.

If You Have a Balanced Complexion

If you have a fairly well-balanced complexion (minimal breakouts, excess shine, your skin doesnt get irritated easily), then you have the luxury of experimenting with a variety of different exfoliators. If you want to diminish dullness, Zeichner suggests using a chemical exfoliator as they penetrate deeper into the follicles on your face, removing all the gunk sitting deep inside your pores and hindering your glow. We love Sunday Riley Good Genes All-in-One Lactic Acid Treatment, a lactic acid-based treatment that dissolves dead skin, plumps fine lines, and evens out tone. Apply a thin layer over clean skin, then follow with moisturizerORif you prefer a traditional scrub, but still want the brightening benefits of a chemical exfoliant, we recommend Vasanti Brighten Up Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator, which has both agents in one suped up formula. The customer-favorite features papaya enzymes (chemical) and microderm crystals (physical) to remove dead skin cellsplus aloe vera, coconut, and vitamins B and E nourish. Apply to wet skin using circular motions 35 times per week.

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Alexis Bridenbaugh