Much has been made in the beauty and skincare world about exfoliating. There are those who swear by it for smooth, softer skin, and those who say it can be too harsh. The bottom line is this – exfoliation is key to flawless skin and clean pores – if it is done the correct way and you adjust it based on your skin condition and type. Read on for our top tips on how to exfoliate the proper way.

Exfoliating fact:
“Harsh scrubbing is definitely not the answer!” Dr. Mary Lupo, the dermatologist for cult beauty brand Philosophy warns when it comes to problematic and sensitive skin. “Excessive washing only strips the lipid barrier, which increases inflammation.” The rub? Be kind. “It’s best to use gentle sweeping motions with a soft washcloth and a skin-loving cleanser.”

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Exfoliating fact: “Even sensitive skin may benefit from gentle exfoliation,” says Lupo. “Instead of daily physical exfoliation, choose a gentle weekly exfoliation that bathes skin in oxygen, as it rapidly exfoliates, smooths and hydrates to help brighten skin and clear away dead skin cells.” This allows your treatments and moisturizers to work more effectively, while leaving the skin with a beautiful glow.

“With the exception of active acne, exfoliation can help clarify and support skin that may be prone to breakouts,” Lupo says. “By removing the debris clogging pores and compromising the skin’s moisture barrier, your treatments and moisturizers will work more effectively.”

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Exfoliating fact: You want smooth, blackhead-free, glowing skin, so the more you exfoliate, the better—that’s what many of us think, only to end up with irritated skin. “Over-exfoliating can cause redness and dehydration—which can then make medicated creams less tolerable,” says Toronto-based dermatologist Benjamin Barankin. He recommends exfoliating once a week in the winter and twice weekly in the summer months.

Exfoliating fact: Don’t scrimp on the product—take a good scoop of the exfoliator, “enough to apply a good coat of it on your whole body,” says Sara deRuiter, spa director of Body Blitz spa in Toronto and using a firm pressure (you know your body best as to what your skin can tolerate), start from your limbs and in circular motions, work towards your heart. Pay special attention to commonly dry areas, like knees and elbows, and to any problem spots such as hips and thighs.