Exfoliators That Won't Irritate Your Skin

Flash back, if you will, to your earliest foray into exfoliation. Did it involve a tub of crushed-walnut scrub? Possibly a loofah? We, too, once subscribed to the grit-is-good philosophy. But time has told us that sloughing off dead skin doesn't have to, and, for your skin's sake, shouldn't, be a rough experience. Exfoliation is pivotal to fresh, luminous skin — and luckily, products that facilitate the process have mellowed considerably over the years.

Perhaps it’s because, as The New York Times recently reported, “companies large and small are racing to serve the growing number of adults in the United States with [sensitive] skin.” Whatever the impetus, today’s scrubs wouldn’t dare scratch your face or leave it ruddy. We’re seeing smart resurfacing molecules that selectively erode only dead surface cells, sparing the healthy skin below, to give a glow sans side effects. Even home peels have gotten crazy considerate — delivering on promises not to irritate by offsetting acids with generous doses of hydrators and inflammation-quelling extracts. This new bevy of exfoliators are so gentle, they can be used daily (or every other day), yet are still impressively effective.

Ahead, skin buffs weigh in on all that’s new in the realm of next-generation exfoliation.