Proper skin care should be as important as eating healthy and exercise.  Taking care of your skin is crucial in the anti-aging process and should be a part of your daily skin care regime!

As a professional makeup artist, skin is my canvas.  I cannot properly apply makeup and achieve the look I want unless the skin is properly cleansed, exfoliated and moisturized.  Exfoliating might seem unnecessary, but it is an important step because it removes the top layer of dead skin cells and makes a huge difference in how the complexion appears with or without makeup.

The exfoliation process does not need to be harsh.  Scrubs with smaller grains are all you need once or twice a week to make your skin have a healthy glow.  Large grains are usually found in body scrubs and can damage facial skin so make sure that you do not use a “body” exfoliate on your face!

Because we are an equal opportunity blog, men should exfoliate too!  This process is typically done after every shave and helps to keep the skin more youthful-looking.  You can also exfoliate prior to shaving, but make sure to use a very mild, gentle exfoliant.

You should also exfoliate your neck and décolleté weekly.  In fact, the neck skin is not as fragile as the face, but it can be a sensitive area so use a gentle exfoliant.  Exfoliating the neck area will help to stimulate cell rejuvenation and keep the skin healthy.  Also, getting rid of dead cells that block the effectiveness of moisturizer and other products applied to the face and neck area will be a huge benefit in your fight against anti-aging.

As we age, skin needs the opportunity to rejuvenate itself and exfoliation provides critical skin cell renewal.  There are two types of exfoliation…”mechanical” method, which involves using a slightly more abrasive scrub and a “chemical” method, which means using a skin care product that includes a chemical exfoliant like alpha hydroxy acid or beta hydroxyl acid to remove the dead skin cells.

The Skin Care Resource Center says to “think of a chemical exfoliation like stripping off old paint from a piece of furniture!”  The higher the percentage of chemical ingredient, the deeper and more powerful the exfoliation will be, so do your research and get a grip on your individual exfoliation needs prior.

Sensitive skin will have a definite reaction to exfoliation whether done DIY (at home) or by a skin care professional in a salon or spa.  Usually, an oily skin type will benefit from a daily exfoliation while a more normal to sensitive skin will only need this process once or twice a week.

Personally speaking, my skin fits into the traditional “normal” category (not dry and slightly oily in the t-zone).  I use a very gentle exfoliant every Wednesday and Sunday.  It helps me to map out specific days to exfoliate in order to make sure that I am getting the most out of my anti-aging routine and skin care products.

There are three types of primary methods used in at home DIY style products and will be found in most consumer friendly exfoliants; fruit acid (AHA) creams, retinol creams and mircrodermabrasion creams.  According to my research, products with up to three Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs or Fruit Acids) will give you the best results.  Look for products that contain Lactic, Glycolic and Pyruvic acid for superior results.  This type of exfoliant also works well with other skin care products such as peptide creams.

Retin A and other retinol creams work by removing the top layer of dead skin and can help the skin produce more collagen.  As we get older, our skin can stop producing collagen and that is what causes wrinkles and lines.  Again, if your skin is sensitive to retinol, use a product that is fruit acid based as mentioned above or try a microdermabrasion cream.
Microdermabrasion cream can make the complexion glow.  Make sure to use a product that is a gentle formula and has small grains.  Used day and night, you should see results in 4-8 weeks.

As always, you should protect your eyes from exfoliants and you MUST wear sunblock daily and always after using an exfoliant.

Don’t forget that the body also benefits from a weekly exfoliation.  Preparing for summer exposure and pampering the skin prior to wearing a cute sundress or bathing suit can boost your confidence.  I exfoliate my body weekly around this time of year because I am beginning to use self-tanners and this process helps to get the best tan possible out of my self-tanner because my cells are free from blockage.

I also use a Dry Brush method when exfoliating my body.  The skin is the most important eliminative organ in the body and it’s responsible for the body’s detoxification each day.  As a matter of fact, over one pound of waste acids are released through the skin in an average adult.  So, it makes sense to clean out those big body pores right? Right!

Dry Brushing benefits:

* May remove cellulite
* Cleanses the lymphatic system
* Can strengthen the immune system
* Can stimulate the hormone and oil producing glands
* Tightens the skin preventing premature aging
* May tone the muscles
* May stimulate circulation
* May improve the function of the nervous system
* May aid in digestion

Here are a few exfoliating and dry brushing products I love and use both personally and professionally:

Votre Vu Royal Treatment – this product is not promoted as an exfoliant, but it does the trick.  It is extremely gentle and it feels like a masque on the skin.  Reduces redness, softens, calms and cools skin.  I use this product twice a week.

Embryolisse Crème de Soin Exfoliante – when I want a little more boost I reach for this exfoliant – very gentle, but a tad bit more abrasive feeling than the Votre Vu product.  This is a luxurious cream with tiny micro-beads that will resurface, smooth and nourish the skin with Vitamins E and F.

Billy Jealousy Liquid Sand Facial Cleanser – this product is promoted for men and is used before shaving to exfoliate the skin, but everyone can use it and I would guess that it would be a great, mild exfoliant for those with uber sensitive skin.  Less penetrating than a scrub, but more powerful than a face wash, this product will remove all dead surface skin cells, dirt and grime!

Bella Bronze Body Sea Kelp & White Volcanic Scrub – I received this product as part of my BeautyFix package and I love it – only used on the body – this scrub will sloth away all dead skin and leave you feeling smooth and ready for summer!  Use prior to applying a sunless tanning product.  I use this product once a week in the shower to polish my skin.

Eight Dry Brush Systems – I met Vicki Weaver-Payne at a launch party in Hollywood a few months ago and I listened to the history of her product.  I jumped at the chance to volunteer for an Eight dry brush treatment and was gifted the system in Lavender afterwards.  I love the way this product makes my skin glow (even though it took some getting use to).  If you suffer from dry, itchy skin this product is fortified with essential oils and natural ingredients.


When my skin is in need of some major exfoliation, I leave that up to the professionals.  Brenda Druilhet is my esthetician and she is located in the San Fernando Valley in California.  Brenda does a very unique exfoliation treatment on my skin called a Dermafile

This process lightly polishes the skin by hand removing the top layer of dead skin cells.  Currently, this application can and should only be administered by a professional, but I am hearing through the grapevine that at some point an at-home version will be available to the consumer.  Dermafile is a safe, natural, holistic alternative to chemical peels and microdermabrasion.

Dermafile exfoliation helps:

*Build collagen and smooth fine lines
*Remove sun damage and pigmentation
*Lessen ingrown hairs
*Smooths away dead skin cells and rough, bumpy, dry patches of skin

Microdermabrasion is a process that sprays microcrystals across the skin’s surface, blasting away the top layer of dead skin.  It usually takes several treatments to be effective and can be expensive.  Also, finding a good technician that you feel comfortable with when under this high-powered machine can be a concern.  Irritation caused by the microcrystals can happen if they are not completely removed properly.

Dermafile is an alternative that has the same effects as mircrodermabrasion, but is a safer, more cost-effective way.  It is a resurfacing and polishing tool, manufactured of stainless steel and finely crushed cosmetic diamonds.  This tool can be used on the face, chest and back.  Again, finding a qualified professional is key and Brenda is available for both professional esthetician training and for customer treatments.  For more information on this product or to schedule an appointment with Brenda, please email her at: bcdruilhet@sbcglobal.net.



  1. Hi Melissa,

    Wow - what great information!I witnessed first hand how flakey skin can mess up a makeup application. I was watching a young girl get her prom makeup applied and was flakey from "sunning". That poor makeup artist really had a time of it.

    Have you heard about out new Fruit Acid Peel? It contains bergamot, omni-healing bilberry,and AHA loaded citrus fruits of lemon, grapefruit and orange. I used it last night on my normal to oily skin and ooh-la-la!
    I'd be happy to get you some to try.

    Thanks for sharing all these options we have for finding softer, smoother skin.


  2. I use Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant on my face several times weekly: it is so gentle. Love it, and plan to try more in this line. For my body, I actually make my own scrub with olive oil and brown sugar, adding things like Vitamin E. I rely more on moisturizers--that will sit on my skin for hours--to bring things like retinol and AHA to bear.

  3. i didn't realise just how many benefits there were to exfoliationg- great info :) Now I've just got to choose a new exfoliator.

  4. Thanks for the information. I usually exfoliate twice weekly my face. Now I will also include my body into this regime.

    Great post.