What is exfoliating?

Dr. Ellen Marmur, MD

Exfoliation is the process of stripping off the top layer of skin. It is absolutely necessary for someone who has acne or who complains of rough, dull skin. Sloughing off of dead skin cells instantly brightens a complexion and makes it look and feel fresher. It smoothes the texture, improves skin tone, and helps unclog pores, all at the same time. Dead keratinocytes are opaque, so light flattens against them. They're like dirt on a windshield.

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Exfoliating refers to the act of removing dead skin cells from the skin's outermost surface to reveal the newer skin cells underneath.


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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.