For face, neck, and chest: For years, women have been obliviously scrubbing their faces with products that are way too harsh, which leaves skin rubbed raw and red (not cute).That’s why on your most sensitive skin—think: face, neck, and chest—dermatologists recommend skipping a gritty exfoliant for an enzyme-based one, which basically dissolves the top layer of dead skin with enzymes, rather than physically sloughing it off. Many are powder versions, which you mix with water to activate the enzymes, like Dermalogica Daily Microfoliantand AmorePacific Treatment Enzyme Peel, which leave your skin smooth with no irritation.
For elbows, heels, and knees: These are the roughest of the rough—since skin here is thick and has fewer oil glands, feel free to get gritty. This is where you can break out scrubs made with pits or seeds (like the classic St. Ives Apricot Scrub), or make a DIY version by cutting a lemon in half, covering it in coarse sea salt, and going to town rubbing it into those tough spots. Do it in the shower before you turn the water on for easy clean-up.
For lips: Dry, flaky lips won’t do if you’re sporting the season’s hottest lipstick shades—or looking for a kiss. But they’re also so delicate that a harsh scrub can do more harm than good. Upgrade from using a dry toothbrush and spring for a lip scrub like a tube of Philosophy Kiss Me Exfoliating Lip Scrub. Apply it, rub your lips with your fingers and then rinse it off with a warm, wet washcloth. Then steer clear of long-wear lipsticks, which can be really drying, and instead use a moisturizing one, like L’Oreal Paris Colour Riche Lipcolor, which uses hydrating oils to keep lips smooth until your next scrub.
For the rest of your body: Sugar is gentler than salt, so it’s perfect for the areas you want to be smooth but could be irritated from the abrasion from coarse sea salt, like your stomach, butt, arms, and legs. Get wet in the shower, then rub a sugar scrub in circles into skin. Fresh Brown Sugar Body Polish buffs just enough to make your skin soft, while half a dozen natural oils help to soothe it. To make your own version, mix two parts regular kitchen sugar to one part olive oil (for example, one cup of sugar and a half cup of olive oil).
What do you use to slough away dead, dry skin?