Any dermatologist will tell you that exfoliating is important—but until recently, not many recommended dailyexfoliation. With advancements in cosmetics, daily exfoliating is now widely recommended, even by Beyonce’s dermatologist—and it can be agreed upon that he likely knows a thing or two about flawless skin.

Skin is a living organ. New skin cells are constantly being regenerated. By exfoliating daily, you’re removing the dead skin cells and allowing oxygen to penetrate the layers underneath. Understanding how to safely exfoliate everyday will leave you with softer, more radiant, and healthier skin.

Avoid mechanical exfoliants.

Yes, daily exfoliating can be harsh on the skin, but only if you’re using the wrong products. Many people swear by mechanical exfoliants, which are scrubs containing small, irregular particles such as silica, salts, sugars, or even bits of broken nuts. These exfoliants are not recommended for everyday use as they are abrasive and can lead to tiny tears in the skin. They are fine, however, for tough areas like the soles of the feet once a week, but should never be used in your daily skincare routine.

Mechanical exfoliants can actually increase skin irritation, redness, and sensitivity and in some cases, may even cause acne as the tiny tears leave you exposed to bacteria.

Be gentle.

To exfoliate daily without irritating your skin, try the following routine:

1. Lather your face with an oil-based cleanser. Don’t rinse it just yet.

2. Run hot water in your bathroom sink and let it steam up. Place your face over the water vapors (don’t get too close—steam can burn the skin) to add moisture which makes dead skin cells easier to remove.

3. Use a muslin cloth to gently wipe off the oil using soft, circular motions.

4. Repeat the process and then pat-dry your face with a soft, microfiber towel.

This is a technique that is gentle enough for daily exfoliating and can be done before bed, as it doubles as washing your face.

Hydrate after exfoliating.

Never skip the moisturizer after exfoliating. Hydrating the skin with a quality moisturizer will increase the skin’s water content, leading to a healthy, smooth, and supple appearance.

When you moisturize, you increase the water in the cells. Skin cells with a higher water content repair themselves more quickly. Dry skin cells die off, leading to flaky, irritated skin, and in many cases, premature wrinkles.

Choose a moisturizer for your skin type. If you have dry skin, you’ll want to choose a moisturizer that contains more oils. On the other hand, if your skin is oily, you’ll need a moisturizer that has a lower oil content to avoid looking greasy.

Harvard Medical school recommends humectants to attract moisture, emollients to keep oil and water from separating, or occlusives to create a barrier and trap water in the skin.

It’s always use sunscreen, especially if you’re using a chemical exfoliant. Chemical exfoliants work by eating away at dead skin, leading to a short period of redness, and then soft, glowing skin. These chemical agents can actually increase skin sensitivity, which makes it even more important to slather on SPF.

Keep a skin journal.

Once you start exfoliating everyday, start keeping a skin journal. In your skin journal, write down your skincare routine for the day, including all products that you’ve used. It’s also important to include any changes in your routine, such as going swimming (chlorine can affect skin) or trying a different product. Even switching sunscreen is something you should jot down.

At the end of each day, closely examine your face and take note of any changes that you see, including redness, irritation, oiliness, or dryness. If your skin is looking flawless, write that down too! A skincare journal makes it easy to look back and see what works and what doesn’t.

It’s been proven that gentle daily exfoliation can lead to a more youthful appearance. By avoiding abrasive products, being gentle, keeping your skin moisturized, and watching your skin closely, you’re one step closer to achieving a flawless, radiant appearance.

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