It’s well known that our skin is a reflection of how well we take care of ourselves. Aside from eating a variety of healthful foods, staying away from smoking, and keeping hydrated, we also need to make sure we are helping to regenerate new cells from an outside approach. Luckily, there is an easy way to help skin to do this—exfoliation.

Skin cells live on the surface for only a short amount of time, while constantly regenerating. When skin cells form on the surface, they push dull dead skin cells to the top. This not only makes the skin look dingy, the buildup of dead skin cells can actually force the production of oil and clog the pores which can lead to acne and blemishes. When you exfoliate the skin, you’re helping to remove the excess roughness along with promoting the production of new skin cells. Regular exfoliation helps the skin look fresh and healthy, smooths out the surface, regenerates skin cells, dislodges blackheads, and helps to increase blood circulation. By exfoliating once to twice a week, you can achieve healthy-looking skin and avoid acne.

There is such a thing as exfoliating too often. Over-exfoliation can cause skin irritation, inflammation, acne, and advanced aging. When you exfoliate too much, you get rid of the skin’s natural oils that help to protect against dryness. When your skin is constantly faced with dryness, it will counteract this by over-producing these oils which can then lead to excess acne. The inflammation caused by constantly removing the skin’s protective barrier will result in loss of elasticity of the skin, making the skin look like it’s aging faster.

Be sure to know if you have sensitive or combination skin before you decide to exfoliate more than once a week. Sensitive skin may only need it once a week so as not to irritate the skin. Combination skin may be able to handle exfoliation up to twice a week, as your skin may have a higher buildup of dead skin cells.