With a little extra effort in your skin-care routine, you can slough away dead skin cells and reveal smoother, brighter skin. Exfoliating your skin only takes a few minutes and provides skin with an array of benefits. While skin naturally sheds dead skin cells on its own, exfoliating can give the process a boost -- especially when natural skin-shedding is slowed due to dry or oily skin and clogged pores.

Why Exfoliation Is Important

Exfoliating can ensure that pores don't become clogged and full of buildup that can lead to acne. By gently exfoliating, you can help to gradually fade pigmented acne scars. Exfoliating can also assist in minimizing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. An added bonus: makeup goes on smoother. Moisturizers and serums are able to work more effectively when the skin is exfoliated, as dead skin cells and buildup are not standing in their way as a barrier.

Choosing an Exfoliant

Opt for a well-formulated exfoliant that contains alpha hydroxy or beta hydroxy acid. Acne-prone or blemish-prone skin will benefit from an exfoliant with beta hydroxy acid, as it's able to get through oily buildup and cleanse inside the pores. Sun-damaged and dry skin will benefit from alpha hydroxy acid exfoliants. While exfoliating may bring to mind traditional scrubs, these are not always beneficial to the skin because they only exfoliate the surface layer. Alpha and beta hydroxy acids work beyond the surface layer, getting into the pores and freeing them of buildup.