You trim your hair every few months and file your nails when they get too long, but are you giving your skin the same attention? In addition to washing your face and applying a daily moisturizer, a regular exfoliation routine can help slough off the outer layer of dead skin cells and keep your skin from looking flaky and lifeless. But you can have too much of a good thing: Exfoliation should be done with care and with caution, and how (and how often) you do it should depend on your skin type and sensitivity level.
There are many different types of exfoliation products and methods, from over-the-counter scrubs and brushes to in-office procedures performed by a dermatologist. No matter what type you use, be sure to always use a moisturizer and sunscreen afterward, since the process can leave skin raw and sensitive. "Exfoliation strips away dead skin cells, but it also strips away oil—so you have to replenish that moisture right away," says New York City-based dermatologist Cheryl Karcher, MD. "Still, it can do wonders for a dull complexion if it's done right." Use these five tips to restore your natural glow.