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Your morning routine can take a turn for the worst if just seconds after applying moisturizer, you notice dry, flaky skin appear. Your natural next move might be to go into defense mode and re-up the hydration, but those patchy spots could be a sign that you've skipped a critical cleansing step: exfoliation.
A face scrub is essential for three reasons, according to Ole Henriksen, founder of the eponymous skincare brand. "Firstly, it deeply cleanses the skin, dislodging buildup in the pores and helping to break up whiteheads. It also smooths and refines the skin's texture, giving it a soft, supple look. And lastly, it enhances blood flow to the face, giving the appearance of a fresh glow," said Henriksen.
Now that you know why you need to exfoliate your face, here's how to do it correctly.
Focus on the rough, dry patches of skin.
You see the excessive dryness, but you should set aside time to thoroughly examine. "Go outside in the daylight with clean skin and bring a mirror. This will help you to understand what is going on and the areas where you might need help. I believe that everyone should be their own skincare expert, and this is an essential step in getting to know your skin," said Henriksen. Concentrate exfoliating on the places where your complexion is especially dull, flaky or uneven.
Gently exfoliate in upward, circular motions.
Twice a week before you go to bed, splash warm water onto skin and scrub. "I think the biggest mistake people make is being heavy-handed," said Henriksen. "A little goes a long way -- let the exfoliating particles do their job. You just want to facilitate the glide across the face, that way your skin feels great and you don’t over-treat it."
If you have frail capillaries, Henriksen suggests applying a face oil prior to using your scrub to act as an extra layer of protection for your skin. And if you notice sensitivity or redness, exfoliate only once a week.
Looking for a scrub that won't wreak havoc on your face with harsh beads? Henriksen says that jojoba beads are extremely gentle. "What you want to be sure of is that the beads are perfectly round spheres," he said.
Exfoliating brushes have become very popular lately thanks to Clarisonic, as well as their frequent use in various spa treatments. Be sure to keep a close eye on how your skin reacts to this tool, and cut back on use should you see irritation or redness.
Use a hydrating moisturizer after exfoliating.
Wash your face with warm water, then gently pat dry with a towel. You'll want to lock in moisture with a cream or your favorite anti-aging serum before heading to bed. Your mornings will be much brighter and your skin significantly smoother.