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Exfoliate – Who, What, When, Where, Why + How

March 18, 2019

Hello, and welcome to Dressed for My Day! My goal here, each and every day, is to inspire and help women like you and me to dress beautifully and appropriately for our unique days so we can engage gracefully with those around us and influence them positively. For me, dressing appropriately for my day does not always include makeup. (I’m just keeping it real!) But every day does include good skincare. So today let’s talk about who, what, when, where, why and how…to exfoliate!


A few weeks ago, during our first annual Dressed for My Day Beauty Week, I provided my morning skincare and evening skincare routines. I’ve been pretty amazed at the feedback and response I’ve received from those two posts. It turns out many of you, like me, had lost your way a little with skincare as you’ve aged. I get it. Our skin changed and no one told us what to do about it!!

And, gals, those changes in our skin are exactly why it’s more important than ever that we exfoliate.


As we age our skin often becomes dull looking. That’s because cell turnover slows over time. Instead of sloughing off naturally so that fresh, young skin can appear, layers of dead skin accumulate over time and the build-up causes our skin to look dull.

Not only that, but those layers of dead skin act as a barrier to the moisturizers and serums we’re so doggedly applying with great hope and expectation. That expensive stuff in that ridiculously tiny little jar doesn’t even have a fighting chance if it can’t break through to the living cells below.


So what do we mean by exfoliation?

Exfoliation is any method that removes dead skin cells so that newer, more vibrant skin cells rise to the surface. It can cause the surface of your skin to be smoother, clearer and and more reflective of light (glow with youthful radiance!). Exfoliation also improves moisture absorption.

There are 3 types of exfoliation

Exfoliation can be physical, chemical or a combination of the two.

Physical exfoliation includes physical tools like a Clarisonic brush or even a wash cloth. Physical exfoliation also includes scrubs made with tiny particles. All of these products physically remove the dead skin cells.

What I Use: A friend of mine recently sent me a mini version of this Makeup Eraser. I’m loving it. You can use it with just water to completely remove your makeup – even your waterproof mascara. And one lasts for up to 3 years! You clean your face with one side and exfoliate with the other. But the Makeup Eraser exfoliates very gently.

Makeup Eraser

Chemical exfoliation includes treatments such as face peels, cleansers, toners, masks and leave-on products (lotions or serums) that contain acids or enzymes that chemically loosen the bonds between dead skin cells so they can be sloughed away.

What I use: As I mentioned in my nighttime skincare routine post, I have seen great benefits using CeraVe SA Cream for Rough & Bumpy Skin. With 3 essential ceramides, it exfoliates and moisturizes while helping to restore the protective skin barrier. I use it most every night, but you can use it less frequently and still see results. My skin has improved exponentially with use of this chemical exfoliator and moisturizer. I use it on my face, neck and chest.

Combination exfoliation treatments are simply those that contain both physical and chemical exfoliating ingredients in one product.


Maybe you’ve heard that exfoliation is too harsh for some skin types. Or maybe you just didn’t think it was necessary for you because you don’t wear makeup. But the truth is every woman can benefit from exfoliating. And the mature woman, whose cell regeneration has significantly slowed down, has the most to gain. You, sweetheart, need to exfoliate!

Every skin type can benefit from exfoliation, too. Here are some recommendations for each skin type.

  • oily skin – If you have oily skin you may want to steer clear of physical exfoliation because they can perpetuate breakouts. Instead, you might want to use a cleanser with hydroxy acids like glycolic or salicylic. BareMinerals Blemish Remedy Acne Treatment Gelee Cleanser comes highly recommended. If you experience drying or peeling, reduce usage to just once daily or every other day. Also, because charcoal masks absorb oil, you may want to use one of these once per week. You don’t have to scrub these; just rinse off. Try the Clinique Pore Refining Solutions Charcoal Mask.

BareMinerals cleanser


  • combination skin – Combination skin is actually open to the most possibilities for exfoliation. You can benefit from a product with baking soda, such as Bioré Baking Soda Cleansing Scrub for Combination Skin. Use a thicker paste of the cleanser on your t-zone, then thin out the product with additional water to use on cheeks, which are usually drier. You may also benefit from a weekly or twice weekly use of a Clarisonic brush.


  • sensitive skin – If you have sensitive skin, you probably don’t want to use a scrub, but you can use a wash cloth or perhaps something like the MakeUp Eraser. You will also benefit from occasionally (maybe once or twice a week) using an enzyme cleanser, such as Dr. Barbara Sturm’s Enzyme Cleanser. This cleanser is formulated with vitamin C and enzymes and, when mixed with water, its fine-grained powder texture creates a soft foam and cleanses particularly intensively yet gently.

Dr. Barbara Sturm Enyme Cleanser

  • dry skin – If you, like me, have dry skin you probably recognize the need to remove that dead, dull layer. Choose an exfoliating product with a cream texture, fine grains and moisturizing gels. You could use the same chemical product I do, the CeraVe SA Cream. You may want to start out using it just a few nights a week. But you can also benefit from a microdermabrasion product such as the Essa Vita Refine Microdermabrasion Exfoliant. I like using a microdermabrasion exfoliant about once per week.

Essa Vita Refine


In this post I’ve been addressing facial exfoliation. But, of course, you can exfoliate your entire body! For the same reasons, too.

However, don’t use exfoliants made for the body on your face. These are generally too rough for the more delicate skin on your face.

I have a dry brush system that I like to use on my body. Not only does it exfoliate, but it also increases blood circulation and stimulates the lymphatic circulatory system. I find it helps tremendously with body aches and poor circulation.

Dry Brush System

Notice this dry brush system also includes a pair of exfoliating bath and shower gloves. I also use those to exfoliate about once a week in the shower.

Finally, I also use this Jergen’s Natural Glow Color Primer Exfoliating In-Shower body scrub if I’m planning to use sunless tanning lotion on my legs. That way the tanning lotion goes on smoother for more even coverage.

Jergens Color Primer

You can exfoliate your lips by using a simple paste of 1 teaspoon honey or olive oil mixed with 2 teaspoons of sugar (just regular sugar works fine). Massage the mixture onto your lips gently and leave on for 1-2 minutes. Wash off with water and then always apply lip balm.


Speaking of gently exfoliating your lips, here are a few tips on how to exfoliate your face as well:

  • Be gentle! When using a scrub of any kind, let the product do the work. Apply the product as though you were rubbing a rose petal, not as though you were scouring your shower.
  • Use a circular motion when using a scrub. This will keep you from being harsh.
  • Include your neck. Anything you do to your face, you probably need to do to your neck, too.
  • Always apply a serum and/or rich moisturizer after exfoliating.
  • Beware of sun exposure after exfoliation. As new skin comes to the surface, it is more prone to sun damage. Be sure to use sunscreen.
  • If you use an exfoliating cleanser regularly, you may want to use a more gentle cleanser on the days you use a mask or chemical peel. Less is better when it comes to exfoliation.
  • If you experience redness, peeling or stinging from any exfoliating products, either stop using them or use less frequently.


That leaves just one question. When? Depending on the type of exfoliation, you may exfoliate daily or just once or twice a week. It really depends on the system and products that work for you. But you do want to exfoliate at least once a week, especially as you get older. But remember, even a wash cloth counts as exfoliation.

If you do use a peel, mask or chemical treatment, it may be best to use it at night. That way you can apply a serum and/or good moisturizer to the freshly exposed skin cells and let them recuperate before you go out into the world where that new top layer will need to act as a barrier against the grime and grit.

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Thanks so much for stopping in today. I hope you have a wonderful day. Let me know if you have any questions. Or if you have a product to recommend for exfoliation, don’t hesitate!

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Blessed for My Day

Do you struggle with comparison? Come on. Most of us do. In one area or another of life, most of us get tripped up because we’re looking over in the other lane when our eyes should be focused forward. 

I’ve found that when I catch myself comparing I need to choose to celebrate. What? I need to celebrate what the other person is doing rather than draw comparisons between them and myself. Maybe I need to compliment her. Maybe I’ll congratulate her. But if my eyes have strayed over to her lane I have a choice. I can trip on comparison or I can high five her with celebration, compliments and congratulations…and keep on running!

Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep. ~ Romans 12:15

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xoxo, Kay
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12 thoughts on “Exfoliate – Who, What, When, Where, Why + How

  1. You’ve got me thinking about this. I have been using the cleanser and toner you mentioned in your previous post on skin care (and I can feel a difference.) I guess now is the time to think about exfoliating. Thanks for the links. I am going to check them out and order at least one or perhaps two! At 65 I should have been doing more, but better late than never. Thanks again!

    1. Yeah, I think I used exfoliating masks a lot more when I was younger – when I probably didn’t even need them much – but I had neglected exfoliating as I got older. The CeraVe has made a significant difference for me. Thanks for reading, Arna. ?

  2. I’m a new subscriber, but I enjoy your posts everyday. You really do resonate w/me. Thx again loving it

  3. Thanks for all that information. Do you recommend using essential oils as moisturizers on your complexion?

    1. Hi Nancy. You know, I’ve just never really tried essential oils. I do know people who love them for so many things. Maybe one of these days I will. I’m all for anything that helps naturally. Thanks for reading. ?

  4. I love today’s post. Very thorough. I’ve tried it all, including laser exfoliation. Laser gives amazing results, but is slightly painful during the process. As I have aged (69), I appreciate a gentler exfoliant, especially in winter when my skin is much drier. I’m glad you mentioned dry brushing. You have reminded me to do this again, as the results are worth it.

  5. I “second” your recommendation of the CeraVe for rough and bumpy skin. It’s a great product and works pretty quickly. I get those weird bumps on my arms… and this clears it right up.