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How Often Should I Exfoliate?

In the world of skincare, it is commonly understood that one should take heed when exfoliating the complexion. Over-buffing can exacerbate the flakiness, irritation, and dryness that required the sloughing in the first place!  

It’s important not to discount exfoliation, though, because it’s crucial to healthy, glowing skin. Fun fact: the average adult human sheds approximately 50,000 skin cells each minute! This is part of the turnover process that maintains your skin’s youth and vitality. Dead cells tend to build up and block pores, causing dullness and flaky skin among other concerns.

So—how often should we be exfoliating our faces? Here are a couple of rules to follow to the letter:

  1. The frequency with which you should be exfoliating depends on the type of exfoliant that you’re using. Reference the exfoliator types below to hone your method.
  1. Don’t “layer” exfoliators. If you’re using a physical exfoliator, don’t follow with a chemical exfoliator; don’t layer an exfoliating mask with an exfoliating serum, and so on. This rule lets you avoid irritation and skin damage.

There are three main types of exfoliating products: physical, chemical, and enzymatic. 

  • Physical exfoliants are the ones you’re most used to seeing in the marketplace. They often called “scrubs” and contain microbeads or granules that physically remove dead cells and flaky skin.

YouTuber Penny Tovar explains that physical exfoliators should be massaged into the skin in the same way that one might massage the skin of a tomato. She also recommends chemical exfoliators over physical, because chemical exfoliators don’t require you to massage the skin or apply pressure. 

Physical facial exfoliators should only be used two-to-three times per week. We like to save physical exfoliation for the skin on the body, which is more resilient and can be exfoliated often—daily, even! Our Coco Rose and Amethyst body polishes are perfect bathtime companions and leave your body feeling ultra-smooth and soft.

  • Chemical exfoliators use alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs), poly-hydroxy acids (PHAs), and beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs) to dissolve and break down impurities and reveal freshly exfoliated skin. 

Our Prism 12% AHA + 3% BHA Exfoliating Glow Serum contains a potent combination of naturally derived AHAs and BHAs. Use chemical exfoliators like these as frequently as your skin can happily handle: start with two nights per week, working up to five or more nights per week. If you notice any irritation or returned flakiness upon increasing your frequency, give your skin a few days to recover, then begin using the product again with less frequency.

Those with very sensitive skin will do well using our more gentle chemical exfoliator, Prism 5% Exfoliating Glow Potion.

  • Enzymatic exfoliators are like chemical exfoliators but gentler. Our Brighten Pineapple + Gemstone Mask, for example, puts natural pineapple enzymes to work at banishing dullness and toning the skin. Acne-prone Herbivore fans will adore our Blue Tansy Resurfacing Clarity Mask, which combines fruit enzymes with other clarifying ingredients to prevent future breakouts.

In general, it’s best to use enzymatic exfoliators every other day on very dull skin, and two-to-three times per week to maintain your glow.

It’s always a good idea to also use a soothing toner, like our Rose Hibiscus Hydrating Face Mist before and/or after using an exfoliating product. 

Maintain your skin’s glow and moisture after an exfoliating treatment with a soothing facial oil like Lapis Facial Oil or Emerald CBD + Adaptogens Deep Moisture Glow Oil. Or better yet—combine exfoliation and moisture by creating your own perfect oil-and-serum potions!

Questions or comments? Please leave them below! We’d love to hear from you.

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