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Why a good moisturizer isn’t enough for great skin

BitofscrubMoisturizers get all the marquee billing, especially come fall when back-to-beauty ads punctuate every repeat episode of the Real Housewives of New Jersey. But if you’re not using a good exfoliant, you’re throwing your money away—and missing a key skin-rejuvenating opportunity. Just ask any NYC facialist, who would almost never skip the skin-sloughing step during a spa treatment. Why?

52_M A good scrub can whisk away visible blackheads and help keep pores open and clean. Great example: Christine Chin Resurface Exfoliating Scrub ($28,, which uses micro-aluminum particles to scrub away dead skin, leaving a blackhead-free T-zone and a much-desired baby-bottom softness. Chin’s facials are probably the city’s fiercest.

algae_deep_cleanse-1A chemical exfoliant (or peel) dissolves dead skin cells as a way to remedy dryness, uneven skin tone, and a rough texture—in the time it takes to wash your face. Great example: Susan Ciminelli Algae Deep Cleanse ($65,, laced with a sinus-clearing scent of peppermint and papaya enzymes that brighten skin tone almost immediately. It’s also great for red, bumpy acne, as opposed to scrubs that can inflame it. Ask Cimminelli, whose chakra-balancing facials are meant to calm your mind and your skin.

While not the product of a NYC facialist, Physical Chemistry ($75,, created by Kansas City dermatologist Audrey Kunin, represents a new-generation of hard-to-formulate exfoliants that contain both mechanical and chemical ingredients, so we had to include it.DDphyschem

All approaches help your marquee moisturizer work better—products can’t make it through a layer of dead skin.

But the real boon of scrubs and peels is the boost they lend to cell turnover, or the rate at which skin cells naturally shed (about 28 days) that slows down with age. Regular exfoliation helps cells remain healthy-looking, hold moisture, and it may refine lines and wrinkles over time. That’s why it’s important to keep up the slough love at home.

Do you exfoliate regularly or have a favorite scrub? Do you skip this step? Tell us, here!