The one step we often forget that’s essential for clear skin.

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Why you need to exfoliate is pretty damn obvious if you ask me. Most women (and some chaps), will start their day with a face cream, some sunscreen and then some makeup. During the day their skin is exposed to a bunch of pollutants and bacteria is transferred onto their skin by grubby mitts, food, sweating etc., THEN, they go home and give themselves a nice wash with some cleanser before smearing a bunch of lotions and potions all over their mug.

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That’s a LOT of shit going on your skin – which is why exfoliating is so important. Exfoliating gets INTO the pores, clearing them from dead skin cells, bacteria, old products (ew) and some delightful toxins just sittin’ pretty in there. It also sloughs off dry, dead skin from the rest of the surface that a standard cleanser won’t pick up. PLUS, it just gives your skin a bloody good clean.

If you need another reason to exfoliate, think of the lovely and VERY expensive creams you pop on every day. They can’t penetrate your pores and do their job if they’re being blocked, can they? So clean your skin properly so your fancy creams can do the job you paid good money for them to do.

Listen: Zoe Foster Blake’s best beauty advice for time poor women. Post continues after audio.

Exfoliation methods…

1. Dry Body Brushing.

What is it?

Exfoliating your rig with a dry brush is the perfect way to get rid of dead, dry skin cells, old tan and it’s really good for circulation (i.e diminishes the appearance of cellulite). You can actually get even more vigorous with your body – and dry body brushing is a bloody phenomenal way of loosening dead skin cells and improving circulation. It’s not exactly pleasant but the results are worth it.

How often should I use it?

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Miranda Kerr famously swears by doing it every day to eliminate toxins and smooth her skin but you will see results from practising the technique three to four times a week.

What should I use?

I’ve been using this Manicare brush, $13.59, for years. Prior to showering, I firmly brush in circular motions all over my body.

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2. Body Scrub.

What is it?

Generally quite grainy, body scrubs are usually formulated with beads or granules that slough off the dead skin cells and crusty tan, leaving a smoother surface area underneath. The skin on your body is VASTLY different to the skin on your face. Your face has thinner, more sensitive skin so don’t use a body scrub on both areas!

How often should I use it?

Good results can generally be achieved by using a body scrub three times per week but if you’re struggling to get rid of patchy tans on areas that tend to hold tan and get all crusty looking (ankles, I’m referring to you FYI), you can use it more often. The most effective way to use a body scrub is by moistening your skin under the water in the shower for a minute before turning off the water, then working the product into your skin. If you apply while the water is running, you’ll lose most of the product down the drain.

What should I use?

You can’t go wrong with Frank body scrub, $16.95, – it works like a champ and smells like a dream. With regular use, one bag should last about a month.

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3. Face Scrub.

What is it?

The same thing as a body scrub, just formulated with more gentle ingredients as it’s for your face. Using something too harsh on the delicate facial area can actually cause microscopic scarring from the granules. True story.

If you’re acne prone, make sure you use chemical exfoliants rather than physical exfoliants (so brushes or products with granules/beads in the formula). Physically scrubbing your skin actually aggravates acne and can cause it to worsen, while getting redder and angrier from scrubbing at it.

How often should I use it?

Twice per week. I don’t care what you’ve been told, or sold – daily facial exfoliation is pretty hectic and you’ll be getting rid of good oils doing it that often. I like to exfoliate on Thursdays to get my skin glowing and ready for the weekend – and then Sunday to scrub off everything I've put on it.

What should I use?

I’ve never had an issue (nor has anyone I know) with any of the Bioré face scrubs, $9.99. Not just for acne-prone skin (in fact, read above, I wouldn’t advise using them on acne), they do a phenomenal job targeting deep down dirt and oil without disturbing the skin’s natural moisture barrier. And ignore the ‘daily use’ that’s splashed across the packaging – twice a week (three times MAX) is ideal.

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4. Chemical Exfoliant.

What is it?

Chemical exfoliants sound a lot scarier than they are. They’re basically just formulated with enzymes and (safe) acids that loosen the dead skin cells by removing the gunk that holds them on your skin and in your pores. So all the nasty stuff will wash off with the product! Perfect for people with acne or problem skin as it won’t aggravate spots. Opt for formulas with low acid (check packaging) if you’ve got sensitive skin, and be prepared for a tingle the first time you slather one on.

How often should I use it?

A few times per week. However, some formulas are made specifically for acne and are able to be used daily but make sure the acid percent is low or you’ll end up with an angry looking face.

What should I use?

Don’t cheap out on these products, you want a good quality formula. I have used and loved the PETER THOMAS ROTH AHA/BHA Acne Clearing Gel, Elizabeth Arden PRO Skin Perfecting Peel Pads, and the June Jacobs Perfect Pumpkin Peeling Enzyme Masque, $95.

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This article was first published on ShowPo. Read the original here.

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