Glycolic acid is one of the most effective exfoliators and is great for normal skin types. It can also be slightly irritating, so moisturize after to prevent inflammation. Look for moisturizers for sensitive skin with ceramides or green tea. Start off with a cleanser like Neostrata Foaming Glycolic Wash or Peter Thomas Roth Glycolic Acid 3% Facial Wash, and follow up with a soothing moisturizer, like SkinMedica TNS Ceramide Treatment Cream.
Oily or Combination Skin
A scrub with microbeads or sugar once a week and a salicylic acid-infused cleanser every day sounds like sloughing overload, but scrubs, like SkinCeuticals Micro Exfoliating Scrub sweeps away dead cells so the salicylic acid can penetrate and clean clogged pores. For your “every day cleanser”, we recommend Obagi CLENZIderm MD Daily Care Foaming Cleanser. Or, for occassional use, you can get the benefits of both in a single product with antioxidant-rich iS Clinical Tri-Active Exfoliating Masque.
Dry, Sensitive, or Very Fair Skin
Try products that contain lactic acid, like Dermalogica Skin Resurfacing Cleanser and PCA Skin Body Therapy. Lactic acid is a relatively large molecule that can’t penetrate the skin as deeply as the other alpha hydroxy acods, which means its not as abrasive. Unfortunately, anything else may make your skin drier, redder, and more sensitive.
What is your favorite exfoliator?