Flash back, if you will, to your very first 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 be (and, for your skin's sake, shouldn't be) a rough experience. Exfoliation is essential to fresh, luminous skin — and luckily, products that facilitate the process have mellowed considerably over the years.
Unlike the sharp-edged, sandpaper-y grains you attacked your teenage acne with, 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 hardcore home peels have gotten crazy considerate, delivering on promises not to irritate by offsetting acids with generous doses of hydrators and inflammation-quelling extracts.