Skin-Care Tips

A Derm Is Begging You To Make This Exfoliation Swap Now That It’s Fall

Zoe Weiner

Photo: Getty/Nastasic

Exfoliation is a critical part of both your summer and winter skin-care routines. But if you think that you can press pause on your skin-sloughing regimen as we navigate fall, you'll want to think again. Taking extra care with exfoliation—and picking the right product to do away with dead skin cells—can help your skin stand up to the elements.

"For fall and winter, I recommend going with gentle exfoliants, which means limiting the number of physical exfoliants you're using and opting for chemical-based ones, instead," says Jenny Liu, MD, FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist. Per her advice, this means swapping out your sugar scrubs for formulas that contain acids, which work to break the bonds between dead skin cells and effectively melt them away.

Dr. Liu suggests seeking out ingredients that remove dullness while also boosting hydration. She's a fan of lactic acid, a milk-derived alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) that has a reputation for being one of the gentlest, and polyhydroxy acid (PHA), which has a large chemical structure that doesn't allow it to penetrate as deeply as AHA and beta-hydroxy acids (BHA), making it an ideal choice for sensitive skin.

As far as specific products go, "look for either a leave-on treatment or a superficial peel or wash-off treatment to help with dullness and improve skin texture and tone," says Liu. Her formula of choice that fits all of the above criteria? Charlotte Tilbury Super Radiance Resurfacing Facial ($70). "It's made with a blend of AHA, PHA, and BHA to help with skin tone and texture," she says. "It also contains polyglutamic acid a great humectant to help hydrate skin for extra glow and radiance."

Use it no more than once or twice a week (because, FWIW, over-exfoliation will strip your skin and leave you with bigger problems than the ones you started with), and consider your skin ready for winter.

For more intel on how to properly exfoliate your skin, check out the video below. 

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