Tips to Improve Your Skin

Our beauty expert is Debra Jaliman, M.D., a top New York City dermatologist and the author of Skin Rules (St. Martin's Press, 2012)

The bad news: Aging slows down your skin's normal cell renewal process, which can give your face a dull and weary look - and time spent in the sun without sunscreen doesn't help.

The good news: Exfoliating removes that tired top layer of skin to refresh your appearance. Here are some guidelines for which exfoliating products to use and when to use them.

Once a Day

Use a wet washcloth or a cleansing brush (such as one by Clarisonic, which has assorted brush heads for different skin types) to gently remove dry dead skin. Or, try one of the many drugstore scrubs on the market that exfoliate with natural ingredients, such as rice bran powder, crushed apricot kernels, walnut shells, adzuki bean powder and sugar crystals.

Tip: Don't scrub too vigorously, as doing so can damage skin and cancel out the desired glow.

Once a Week

Chemically based exfoliating products, often in the form of masks containing glycolic, salicylic, lactic or fruit acids, are a bit stronger than the mechanical daily options, and also more effective at removing dry, damaged skin cells. They can make your skin extra sensitive to the sun, however, so it's best to use these products at night and apply sunscreen when you venture outside in the day.

Tip: If your skin is sensitive or prone to eczema or rosacea, avoid chemical exfoliants and stick with gentle scrubs.

Once in a While

Take it up a notch with a light chemical peel or microdermabrasion, procedures that are done in a dermatologist's office. These quickly remove large amounts of dead skin and reveal exceptionally smooth skin underneath. In addition, these procedures can address other skin issues such as discoloration and acne. They can be done a couple of times a month.

Tip: Always seek out an experienced dermatologist who can give you the proper treatment for your skin type.

Remeber, there can be too much of a good thing when it comes to exfoliation. If your skin becomes excessively red, tight or dry, reduce the frequency of your routine or experiment with gentler methods.

Adapted from our sister publication REMEDY's Healthy Living Fall 2014

Publication Review By: the Editorial Staff at

Published: 13 Aug 2014

Last Modified: 03 Nov 2014