The skincare swap that could transform your skin

  • We earn a commission for products purchased through some links in this article.

  • Why using the best exfoliator for your skin type could knock years off in minutes

    We’re talking facial exfoliators – get these right and you could totally reboot your skin.

    Past 40, experts recommend exfoliating three to four times a week. As cell turnover slows down, dead cells sit on the skin’s surface, at best looking a bit rough and dull, at worst clogging up your pores and causing breakouts. Adding just a minute of exfoliation into your regime is the simplest way to encourage smooth, bright skin with an even tone and less visible pores – we defy you to use one for a week and not notice the difference. 

    So do you know your AHAs from BHAs? Read on for our guide to facial exfoliators, and discover our favourite products for every skin type. 
    Manual scrubs
    Also called mechanical, these immediately come to mind when we talk about exfoliators, but can be too harsh for some skin types, causing inflammation. If your skin is hardy and benefits from that sloughing effect, pick scrubs with natural micro particles and go gently once or twice a week, avoiding products with environmentally unfriendly plastic beads. 

    Powder cleansers
    Asian-inspired powders that when mixed with water form a super-fine paste to very lightly rid skin of dead cells. These are fantastic for sensitive skin, leaving it silky soft but also calm and soothed. 
    Short for alpha hydroxy acids, and normally derived from fruit or milk these ‘liquid exfoliators’ gently nibble away dead cells without any harsh scrubbing. AHAs are humectants, meaning they help skin hold onto water so are great for normal to very dry skin types – your complexion should feel super-soft and look brighter right away. Just bear in mind they will make skin photo-sensitive, so always follow with SPF.
    These Beta Hydroxy Acids (commonly found as salicylic acid) are fabulous for oilier or breakout-prone skin, as they basically clean out the inside of clogged pores by cutting through the oil trapped inside them. BHAs are usually found in liquid form, and have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, but unlike AHAs they aren’t humectants, so are not ideal for dry skin.