Just below the epidermis is a layer of cells that divide and move
upward to replace those which have died. By exfoliating, you can spur
the development of new cells and shed the old skin that may give the
complexion a dull appearance. Since the rate at which skin renews
itself begins to slow in your 30s, most healthy, older skin can benefit
from occasional exfoliation.
To slough off dead skin, you can use a
washcloth, facial puff, or a cleansing scrub. Just be sure to go easy;
harsh scrubbing can damage the skin and worsen blemishes in those prone
to acne. If you use a scrub, choose one with artificially milled
grains, not rough, uneven particles like those from apricot kernels.
Uneven grains don't abrade the skin in a uniform manner. Also, never
scrub when acne lesions are present. Those with dry or sensitive skin
should use scrubs infrequently, if at all. In addition to physical
methods, certain chemicals can also act as exfoliants, such as alpha-
and beta-hydroxy (hy-DRAWK-see) acids in concentrations of 8 percent or
higher. After exfoliating, always wear a sunblock to protect the skin.