Exfoliation is the process of removing dead cells from the skin’s surface to reveal more radiant skin. It can also help prevent the clogging of pores, which leads to acne. But there is too much of a good thing.
“When exfoliation is performed too frequently, the skin may show signs of irritation, appearing as varying degrees of redness, as well as sensitivity with the application of skin-care products,” Vancouver-based dermatologist Dr. Monica Li says.
For those with sensitive skin who want to experience the benefits of exfoliating, Li recommends starting one night a week with a gentle chemical exfoliant, using products that include alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) such as glycolic acid or beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs) such as salicylic acid. Be sure to moisturize after exfoliating, but don’t worry if exfoliation isn’t for you.
“Our skin naturally exfoliates itself, hence not everyone needs to or can add exfoliation to their skin-care routines,” Li says. “Individuals with sensitive, reactive skin may altogether not tolerate exfoliation.”
My recommendation: Designed to be gentle to reactive skin, Tata Harper’s new Superkind collection includes an exfoliating mask made with AHAs. The difference is noticeable the next morning, and any post-application redness from my temperamental skin was non-existent.
Tata Harper Superkind Radiance Mask, $87 at Holt Renfrew, Sephora, The Detox Market and through tataharperskincare.com.
Need some advice about your skin and hair care routines? Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org