Exfoliation - there are so many things that can be said about this. It's definitely the most misunderstood and can potentially cause more harm than good, but with a little trial and error can bring brighten your face and add some much-needed balance to your routine.
Unlike facial cleansers, most exfoliators should be done on a bi-weekly basis for smooth, glowing skin. (And in case you want to read up on cleansers, you can find that post here).
Being the adult-acne-sufferer that I am, I absolutely love exfoliating. It's probably one of my favorite parts of the day because it sloughs off dead skin and (slowly) reveals the perfect skin I pine for. Now, exfoliants can either be physical (i.e. St. Ives Scrub) or chemical (these can be BHA or AHAs). They both have the same end goal, to reveal brighter, younger skin. This, in turn, helps your products like serums and moisturizers absorb better.
Personally, I lean towards chemical exfoliants since there's less of a risk of getting a micro-tear. Although, physical exfoliants help you achieve softer skin :).
Here are a few I find myself going back to time & time again.
m-61 PowerBlast Facial Mask
I absolutely love this mask and everything it's able to accomplish within 60 seconds. It's a foaming mask so you can "feel" the bubbles working away to reveal brighter, calmer-looking skin. I usually reach for this during bad breakouts as it's the only thing that makes my angry skin slightly happy. It's still a staple in my cabinet and used twice weekly.
Vichy Idealia Night Peeling
This is incredibly gentle which is surprising for a glycolic product. Unlike most products listed this is for PM use only and be layered on top of. It slowly, keyword here, renews and evens out the skin. I would imagine it would do the same for wrinkles long-term but the only improvement I've seen is faded acne marks. Can be used daily.
Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Lotion
This exfoliator has made multiple appearances throughout skin-related blog posts and my Reddit posts for good reason. It's an OG on my shelf and if you had to pick one chemical exfoliator out of all listed here, I'd recommend this hands down. The gentle formula means I can swipe on during the AM and not have to worry about red, flaky skin later on. Another reason I prefer to apply this in the morning, it smooths skin for even makeup application. Can be used daily.
m-61 PowerGlow Peel
Although these individual pads don't immediately give results after swiping they are extremely effective in showing you good skin over time. Skin looks tighter, pores look smaller, and acne marks fade quicker. The formula is a little harsh, I mean it is called PowerGlow, so I wouldn't recommend to those with sensitive skin. Can be used daily or 3x a week.
Nip + Fab Glycolic Daily Cleansing Pads
These daily cleansing pads are a super easy and convenient way to introduce Glycolic into your skin care regiment. I prefer my Glycolic acids to come in a bottle but I would recommend Nip + Fab's jar for traveling. The pre-moistened pads make it easy to exfoliate nearly anywhere - just make sure you keep the jar completely closed otherwise you run the risk of drying out the product. If you can't afford the cost of these, a close second I'd recommend is Stridex's Daily Pads. Can be used 1x or 2x daily.
Derma e Microdermabrasion Scrub
I find myself coming back to this scrub time and time again. The scrub has fine-textured crystals made of detoxifying dead sea salt and citrus essential oils that buffs away dullness and smooths out acne scars. I also love how soft my skin feels right after. Use twice a week for the best results.
Derma E Anti-Wrinkle Vitamin A Glycolic Scrub
This scrub reminds me of the iconic St. Ives scrub but better. I found myself using this for those moments when I crave a good deep buff. It's a little on the pricey side but I do love how there's vitamin A to help renew skin. Can be used daily but prefer twice a week.
e.l.f. Exfoliating Scrub
This affordable scrub works to buff skin for a brighter appearance. I absolutely love that it contains no parabens, sulfates, or phthalates. My skin doesn't feel dry after use but instead moisturized. You can use this daily.
Biore Charcoal Acne Scrub
The brand is known for its iconic pore strips but they released a slew of scrubs earlier this year too! This scrub, in particular, has a tingly sensation that feels amazing. The formula contains salicylic acid which keeps acne at bay but doesn't dry out skin. Pro-tip: use this stuff in the shower for easy clean up. You can use this daily.
What are your favorite exfoliators? Drop me a comment down below!