Here's How Often You Actually Should Be Exfoliating

It seems like almost every other skincare product boasts its incredible exfoliation abilities — and we're certainly correct to take heed. As we age, it's important to remove dead skin cells to assist with regeneration. According to Alpha-H, during your 20s, your skin loses as much as 30 percent of its ability to naturally exfoliate. And when you put on makeup, sunscreen, moisturizer, or any other topical treatments, you're actually applying it to dead skin cells. That means that exfoliation is imperative to ensuring that your skin receives the nutrients it needs from the rest of your skincare routine. But, do we really need to be exfoliating every day?

Not quite. Exfoliation is important, because it sloughs off dead skin cells, unclogs pores, and refreshes your complexion — but you can definitely overdo it. Your skin naturally overturns cells every 28 days, so when you exfoliate, you obviously expedite that process (via Glamour). In addition, over-exfoliation can strip the skin of its natural oils, which it needs to keep your skin hydrated. Without this natural oil, your skin is more prone to breakouts and wrinkles. Plus, scrubbing and removing the top layer of your skin daily can cause inflammation and redness.

If you exfoliate every day now, don't panic. Just reduce the frequency of your exfoliation — and take a look at other more gentle cleansers to implement into your routine.

You should only be exfoliating a few times a week

Dermatologist Elizabeth Tanzi recommends exfoliating "two to three times a week for normal and combination skin, and once a week for sensitive skin." (via Glamour) That way, you're allowing your skin to regenerate and absorb its natural oils while still assisting in the skin's process.

It's also important to know the difference between the two main types of exfoliants: chemical and mechanical. Both have different properties that can give your skin the boost it needs. Chemical exfoliants include acids like AHAs and BHAs that can dive deeply into pores without drying out the skin (via Herbal Dynamics Beauty). If you're breaking out, chemical exfoliation a few times a week can be a game-changer. The second type of exfoliants are mechanical varieties. These include using a rough surface like a brush, glove, or tiny beads, such as salt or sugar, to physically remove the dead layers of skin. Typically, you can find products that contain both mechanical and chemical exfoliants to even out your skin tone and gently purify pores.

When it comes to brightening, toning, and refreshing your skin, exfoliation is the name of the game. But make sure you're limiting your exfoliation to a few times a week and using the right kind of product your skin type!