NZ Woman's Weekly

All about exfoliation

Elle Macpherson claims to do it daily, while some of us don’t bother at all. So, what’s the most beneficial method of exfoliation?


Exfoliating removes the surface debris of dead skin cells to reveal the smoother, glowing skin beneath. It unclogs pores, allows oxygen to get to the skin, and clears the way for serums, moisturisers and masks to do their work.

If you have mature skin that is losing youthful radiance, exfoliating will help smooth its surface, so it better reflects light and seems more luminous. When it comes to exfoliators, there are different options. Some are granular, and buff away the upper layers of dead skin cells.

Others use enzymes or fruit acids for the same effect, without the abrasive action. Heavily blemished skins are advised to avoid very granular scrubs and opt for gentler micro-beads instead.

Charlotte Turner is head of training for Clarins. Here’s her expert advice:


Twice a week as a rule, but it is skin specific. If there are sensitivity or inflammation issues, mechanical exfoliation (scrubs) should be avoided.


A dollop the size of a ten-cent coin is usually sufficient. Massage in for one minute on the face, but cleanse first to remove excess oils, make-up, surface debris, etc.


Know what you want to treat. If you have sensitive skin, you may opt for a smooth, rather than grainy, exfoliator.


Smoother skin, quicker rehydration, more radiance, and better anti-ageing performance from skincare products.


Redness, irritation and sensitivity are the main outcomes of over-exfoliation.

Five scrubs to try:

1 Blemished skin- CLEAN & CLEAR DEEP ACTION DAILY SCRUB $10.99. Micro-beads combine with witch hazel and salicyclic acid to unclog pores and fight those pimples.

2 Natural on a budget- NEUTROGENA NATURALS PURIFYING PORE SCRUB $15.99. A low granular scrub that contains coconut, guar bean, willow bark and jojoba oil to detoxify pores gently.

3 Cleansing- LINDEN LEAVES RADIANT EXFOLIATING WASH WITH TANGERINE AND KOWHAI $34.99. Ultra-gentle with aloe vera to minimise irritation.

4 Daily use- DERMALOGICA MICROFOLIANT $134. For a smooth, buffed feel every day, this is the one. Enzymes lift skin cells without scrubbing.

5 Double action- ELIZABETH ARDEN SKIN ILLUMINATING SMOOTH CLEANSER $69. Micro-beads tackle dead surface cells. Ideal for mature and dull skin.

About Nicky Pellegrino

Nicky Pellegrino has been a journalist for over 20 years, both here and in the UK, and is a former editor of New Zealand Woman's Weekly. These days, as well as working on the magazine's beauty pages, she writes popular novels like Recipe For LIfe, The Italian Wedding and The Villa Girls. For more about Nicky check out her website

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One Response to “All about exfoliation”

  1. amy_g Sep 2 2013, 12:37pm

    I LOVE Caster Sugar as an exfoliant. It can feel a little rough when first applying but my skin comes out SO super smooth and soft. I use it from top to toe literally. There is no chemicals, soaps, perfumes or other irritants, doesn’t matter if it gets in my eyes and dissolves in the hot water so doesn’t make the shower grubby. Plus it is Cheap!!

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