Without a doubt, this is the biggest mistake we make when exfoliating in the shower


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Photo: Getty Images/LeoPatrizi

Once upon a time, I likened scrubbing my body in the shower to folding laundry. I considered it a real chore. Now, however, I’ve changed my tune. A dermatologist taught me how to properly exfoliate at home from head-to-toe without wasting a single drop of precious product—and it’s made the whole business of scrub-a-dub-dubbing way easier (not to mention more eco-friendly).

You know that really annoying moment when you’ve slathered your go-to exfoliant all over and—gah!—the stream of the shower sends the product straight down the drain before your bod has time to drink it up? Before it has time to form that “lather” that labels say is oh-so-important? Well, here’s the solve. By simply turning on the water, getting your skin damp, then applying product while the shower is off, you avoid wasting your product (and water) while giving it time to really work its skin-shedding magic.

Just make sure you don’t skip step one (wetting the skin). Joshua Zeichner, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City, explains that applying a harsher product to a dry complexion could do more harm than good. “When the skin is warm and hydrated, dead cells on the surface may more easily be removed and cause less trauma. Especially when using manual exfoliators or gritty products, over-scrubbing may lead to skin irritation, loss of hydration, and inflammation,” he says.

The skin expert-recommended allowance for exfoliating is once a week, but you can shoot for a few times if you’re using an exfoliating cleanser. Dr. Zeichner is a proponent of Dove Exfoliating Body Wash ($6) and Aveeno 60-Second In-Shower Facial ($7). And remember: Before applying, drench your body with H2O to ensure your skin is ready to be polished anew.

Ready for softer skin from head-to-toe? Here’s how one editor dry brushed her way to smoothness, and how to buy a hyaluronic acid that will keep your skin quenched

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