The great debate: To exfoliate or not to exfoliate?

Posted on November 3, 2010


I have heard so much contradictory information about exfoliating that I really do find it hard to know what to do for the best. Should you do it every day, or never? What should you use? What about facials? What if you have sensitive skin? It’s a veritable exfoliant minefield.

So here are three rules/top tips that I live by:

1) Don’t over exfoliate: The lovely ladies at Ark know what they’re talking about, and last year when I went to their Kensington Church Street shop they informed me that our skin has a finite amount of times it can repair itself and regenerate. So the more you exfoliate the quicker your skin will look old. I’m not afraid to admit that this made me afraid. But they reassured me it was a simple case of only exfoliating once every week or two, and using the right products for your skin, which can help your face rejuvenate itself, without the need for constantly removing old skin. Their eight Skin Response Serums are a good place to start. With specific serums to suit all skin complaints from dryness and redness, to clearing and antioxidant you can keep your skin and healthy and fresh without ending up looking 50 when you’re 30. From £32, 30ml.

2) Get one good exfoliating facial, instead of four moderate ones: There is a time and a place for exfoliating, but doing it half heartedly once a week is not it. Neither is getting exfoliated every time you go for a facial, just so they can show you in the mirror how good your skin looks after their handiwork. Of course it looks good…it’s brand new skin! I really love the Bespoke Hydrodermabrasion Facial at Hydrohealing in Notting Hill. They use a combination of oxygen and water to gently but effectively exfoliate the skin, clearing away impurities and leaving your skin fresh and tight. They use excellent REN products in their facials and the 30 minute face, neck and shoulder massage is bliss. I reckon on one of these every three months or so. It’s money well spent. £80, 60 minutes.

3) Use the right exfoliant for you: After the scary info from the Ark ladies I was all but ready to stop exfoliating. Until Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant came along, a dry, rice-based powder that is perfect as a cleansing and exfoliating facewash every day. It leaves my skin fresh, clean and taught. It costs from around £30, 75g but it lasts a good two to three months so it’s great value.

Check out this excellent advice from the clever peeps at Demalogica too, they recommend the best types of exfoliant for different kinds of skin. Very useful.