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Here’s the Best Way to Exfoliate for Every Skin Concern

There are oodles of skin-care myths floating around—one of the biggest being that you should only exfoliate when you have dry, flaky skin. Truth is, exfoliation should be a crucial part of your routine no matter what. It not only gives you a smoother texture but also unclogs your pores and leaves you with a healthy glow. Here’s a handy guide to finding the right product for your skin type, plus tips on how to use each one. 

Try an AHA lotion. AHAs, or alpha hydroxy acids, are super effective at exfoliating dry skin because they dissolve the glue that binds dead cells to the surface of your skin. Plus, the mix of anti-aging antioxidants and nourishing plant oils in this lotion are soothing and hydrating. What does this mean for you? A smoother, softer, brighter complexion. 

Tip: Massage the lotion onto your face twice a day to get that coveted glow. You don’t even have to wait for this baby soak in. Go ahead and layer on your moisturizer (or hydrating serum) immediately after applying.

Grab a 2% BHA liquid. BHA stands for beta hydroxy acid, more commonly known as salicylic acid. It’s ideal for finicky skin with multiple concerns because it works quickly to unclog your pores, while refining the overall texture of your skin and hydrating it at the same time. 

Tip: It’s a liquid exfoliant, so the best way to apply it is by soaking a cotton pad and patting it all over your face. Just avoid getting too close to your eyes. 

For you, a pore-refining treatment with 2% BHA will do the trick. This liquid exfoliant cleans out congested pores (and keeps them clear) so they appear smaller in size. It also has antioxidants that protect against environmental stressors like pollution, which can trigger an overproduction of sebum and make you look shiny.

Tip: Remember that this is a leave-on product, so there’s no need to rinse it off. Let it work itsmagic underneath your other daily products.

Fine lines, dullness and dark spots: If your skin is showing signs of aging, reach for a daily smoothing treatment with 5% AHA. This potent formula speeds up cell turnover without being abrasive, and it has antioxidants that help skin quickly heal red marks left over from acne.

Tip: Whatever you do, don’t skip the SPF after using this product. AHA’s can increase sensitivity to the sun.

Work a gentle exfoliating solution with 2% salicylic acid into your routine. Salicylic acid goes deep inside your pores to reduce breakouts and blackheads, while soothing ingredients like allantoin calm any inflammation so you don’t aggravate already troubled skin. 

TIP: To avoid peeling, start out using this product once in the morning and then increase to twice a day (morning and night).

Try a lightweight 1% BHA lotion exfoliant. It has just enough BHA to gently slough away dryness, while plant extracts like green tea and willow herb calm any irritation. The sheer formula sinks in immediately and provides instant relief.

Tip: Don’t be scared to use this twice a day. It’s extremely gentle and nonabrasive.