A DIY Guide to Exfoliating Face Scrubs

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How to Exfoliate

Ask anyone with a healthy, glowing complexion, and they'll tell you exfoliation is an important part of their skin care routine. Our skin renews itself every month, but sometimes those older skin cells stay on the skin's surface, giving it a rough texture and dull appearance. Exfoliating removes dead skin cells, keeps pores clean and improves blood circulation. [source: HowStuffWorks.com]

To exfoliate the skin on your body, loofah sponges work wonders. But the skin on your face, which benefits from exfoliation just as much as the rest of your body, requires something gentler.

The easiest way to exfoliate your face is with a scrub or face wash that contain jojoba beans, microbeads or crystals that gently slough off dead skin cells. If your skin isn't sensitive, you can try face massagers (like Clarisonic skin care products) and chemical exfoliators (like retinoic acid-based products) for a deeper scrub.

Try your favorite product using exfoliating tips from Dr. Sonia Badreshia-Bansal, UCSF clinical instructor:

  • Exfoliate one to two times a week: Over exfoliating can cause harm in the skin repair barrier.
  • Steam it up: Fill your sink with hot water and, with a towel draped over your head, slowly lower your face to a few inches above the water's surface. The steam will help open the pores.
  • Scrub in circles: Use lukewarm water to wet the skin, then gently apply an exfoliating scrub onto your skin in a circular fashion.
  • Refreshing rinse: Wash off the scrub with cool water to close the pores.
  • Pay attention to your skin type: Since dry skin can be sensitive, if you want to use gentle retinols, apply them every other night. Follow them with a moisturizing cream to help even skin tone, texture and color while continuing to hydrate the skin. [source: American Academy of Dermatology]