You probably know by now that proper exfoliation—ie, gently dissolving or scrubbing away the dead skin cells and gunk from your pores—is a crucial step for radiant skin. And it's not just beneficial for those who are acne and blemish prone. Exfoliating is actually a must for an anti-aging skincare routine. By exfoliating away dead, dull skin cells, you're revealing brighter, healthier skin underneath and also increasing cellular turnover, softening and preventing fine lines and wrinkles. Exfoliating also lets your serums and moisturizers absorb better, so your skin can get the most out of the powerful active ingredients in your skincare.
So how should you exfoliate? Well, it depends. A good skincare routine isn't a one-size-fits-all situation, so you should be doing what's right for your skin type. There are a few general rules to follow, though. 1) It's good to exfoliate at night in order to encourage skin repair while you sleep—but if you use harsh and irritating ingredients like retinol at night, opt for exfoliating in the morning. 2) Watch out for red, irritated skin and little bumps. This means you're over-exfoliating and disrupting your skin's protective barrier, so you should step away from the exfoliator until your skin calms down. 3) Always moisturize your skin after. This is the perfect time to use concentrated serums and reparative treatments, since your skin can better absorb them.
The Tracie Martyn Enzyme Exfoliant was developed as a versatile exfoliator that can be used differently for every skin type. Gentle-yet-effective Lactic Acid penetrates into the pores and dislodges impurities, while Pineapple Enzymes help "digest" dead skin cells. Plus, fine Diatomaceous Earth powder serves as a gentle, non-abrasive and environmentally sound scrub. (No plastic microbeads, here!)
How to exfoliate for normal/combination or oily skin
Two or three times a week after cleansing, use the Enzyme Exfoliant as a scrub and mask to both physically and phyto-chemically exfoliate your skin. First, apply a thin layer of the Enzyme Exfoliant onto damp skin, avoiding the eye area, and leave it on for up to 15 minutes. (It's always good to start shorter and see how your skin reacts before moving up to 15 minutes.) Then, splash your face with water and gently (!!) massage the Volcanic Ash Mineral Powder into your skin in circular motions as you wash away the mask. This helps you buff away all the dead skin cells the enzymes and Lactic Acid have already dislodged. If you have combination skin that's dry and sensitive in certain areas, skip those areas and concentrate on your t-zone. Follow up with a nourishing moisturizer, like the Tracie Martyn Face Resculpting Cream.
How to exfoliate for dry, sensitive skin
Dry and sensitive skin requires extra-gentle exfoliation, so it's better to stay away from physical scrubbing. Use the Enzyme Exfoliant as a mask instead of a physical scrub by spreading a thin layer onto a damp, freshly cleansed face and leaving it on for just five minutes. Start once a week and then work your way up to two or three times a week or leave it on for longer, depending on how your skin is feeling. The Enzyme Exfoliant is much gentler than a glycolic peel and is generally tolerated very well by sensitive skin.
How to exfoliate for acne-prone skin
Despite conventional wisdom, acne-prone skin actually calls for a gentle approach to exfoliation, since harsh treatments can irritate the skin further. For acne-prone skin, we recommend gentle daily exfoliation along with weekly deep exfoliation. The Amla Purifying Cleanser is perfect for those who want to keep away blemishes because it contains Hawaiian Green Papaya enzymes and Salicylic Acid from Willow Bark, which gently exfoliate the skin without irritation. For extra help, wipe the Absolute Purity Toner over your skin after cleansing. It contains Salicylic Acid from Willow Bark and Azelaic Acid, which helps treat acne. Then, twice or three times a week, use the Enzyme Exfoliant as a mask rather than a scrub by applying a thin layer to damp, freshly cleansed skin and leaving it on for up to 15 minutes.
How to exfoliate for mature skin and hyperpigmentation
Regular exfoliation is one of the most effective ways to keep older skin looking youthful and bright. As we age, our skin's natural exfoliation process slows down and causes a buildup of dead, dull skin. Exfoliating helps speed up cellular turnover, softening fine lines and wrinkles and diminishing hyperpigmentation. Three times a week after cleansing, use the Enzyme Exfoliant as a scrub and mask to both physically and phyto-chemically exfoliate your skin. (See "How to exfoliate for normal/combination or oily skin" for details), and then—this is important!—follow up with an antioxidant-rich serum like the Tracie Martyn Firming Serum. The exfoliation will have primed your skin to receive the benefits of the potent anti-aging ingredients, which will firm, smooth, and strengthen your skin over time.