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The best way to get clearer, smoother skin is to exfoliate. Even though your skin naturally sheds dead skin cells every month, regular exfoliating can help speed up the process, especially if your face is dry, flaky, or clogged. And not only does it help prevent clogged pores—it even increases collagen production. But you have to make sure to avoid serious abrasives to maintain the strength and integrity of your outer dermis. Here are our favorite safest picks.
I first discovered this face wash a few years ago in Taiwan and haven’t stopped using it since. It’s gentle enough to use everyday, and the gel contains natural fruit alpha hydroxy acids and beta hydroxy acid that helps wipes all the dead skin and dirt off of your face. Watching the gel turn slightly grey from the dead skin cells is really gratifying, too.
A friend of mine who’s studying in Japan right now recently jumped on the Toyo Cure Natural Aqua gel train. It’s a beauty cult favorite and is similar to the Meishoku in that it’s labeled as all-natural and leaves your skin feeling silky smooth (or as my friend put it, like “glass’). You can also use it on other body parts that need exfoliating, so set aside the loofah.
This drugstore mainstay is affordable, widely available, and made by a reliable brand. It smells great and works well, but the walnut-shell powder is a little coarse, so it’s best to only use the scrub three to four times a week. This is another all-natural, dermatologist-tested, and paraben-free exfoliant option.
I once ran out of my favorite exfoliating face wash and had a momentary panic during my nightly routine. Luckily, my roommate had this very pleasant-smelling face scrub, which contains aloe vera, camelina oil, and green tea. It created a lush foamy lather and left my skin feeling clean and smooth. Even though it’s labeled to be a men’s wash, I’d consider buying it again if I’m in a pinch.