Exfoliation: It’s a mystery. How often one should scrub-a-dub-dub and with what remains a bit of a grey area... Variables like skin ‘types’, and what products already dominate your regime make it a very subjective prescription.

In the case of exfoliation, you can have too much of a good thing. Why? As our largest organ, the skin is pretty wonderful at taking care of itself – and, without us meddling, it does a good job of naturally renewing around every 25 days. (Once you hit 30, this process begins to slow.) A little helping hand here and there with regular exfoliation doesn’t go amiss to keep your visage smooth and bright, but over-exfoliating can have the opposite effect, and cause irritation and inflammation that slows cell turnover and upsets sebaceous glands to produce way more oil than needed… None of that, please! So, what does ‘regular’ exfoliation look like?

First things first, exfoliants take on many guises – from age-old scrubs, with abrasive ingredients like crushed walnut shell, brown sugar and bamboo extract (which should be used a maximum of two or three times a week to avoid traumatising the skin), to pore-unclogging salicylic acid-based cleansers that are a safe alternative to everyday exfoliationchemical exfoliation via the Alpha Beta and Glycolic Acid families, and hybrids of both the former and latter.

Starting from the top… Harnessing tea tree leaf goodness and crushed nut shells, Aēsop’s powdered exfoliator, the Tea Tree Leaf Facial Exfoliant, enters into the equation as the original deep-clean when used little and often with delicate care; buffing away dirt and dead cells with different-sized physical exfoliators, this is the ultimate satisfying cleanse.

A thorough cleanse fit for both face and body on a daily basis, ALPHA-H gets to work on mission Clear Complexion without stripping or dehydrating the skin, with its Clear Skin Daily Face & Body Wash. Combining natural botanical ingredients such as antibacterial thyme extract, Vitamin B3 and salicylic acid, you can bank on daily use for keeping skin as happy as Larry. 

Looking elsewhere in the acid families, Dr. Dennis Gross introduces Alpha Beta acids (like Glycolic, Lactic, Mandelic and Malic) into overnight regimes through the power of a moisturiser – the Alpha Beta Exfoliating Moisturizer – for intense rejuvenation, all while you’re oblivious in the Land of Nod. To be applied after a good cleanse to ditch the grime and makeup of the day, this powerhouse gently exfoliates to lift away dullness and diminish dryness, all while hydrating with its secret ingredient, hyaluronic acid.

For the best of both worlds, Kate Somerville (who we've charted before for her Goat's Milk-rich products that Cleopatra – a storied stalwart to the beautifying benefits of Goats Milk ‘back in the day’ – would be all over) brings us a double-whammy of physical and enzymatic exfoliants (including lactic acid and fruit enzymes) in her dual-action ExfoliKate Intensive ExfoliatingTreatment, that's dubbed the 'The Hollywood 2-minute facial' for a reason!

We should add, however, that it’s important to listen to your skin – and so, following a strictly regimented routine week-on-week as to when is best to slough away isn’t necessarily a good rule of thumb...

Go easy, listen to your skin, and make exfoliation your friend not foe!

Scrub-a-dub with our winning exfoliation edit:


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