Would you like to smooth out bumpy skin? Lessen clogged pores? Have a constant enviable glow? Then you should be exfoliating! Getting rid of the excess built up dead skin and improving those cells to turn over is key for almost all skin types. There's a few easy ways to do this, and a some products that that fit the bill. Let's go over the basics..
There are two common types of exfoliation. The first one is referred to as manual (scrubs, clarisonic, microdermabrasion, washcloth) The second type is referred to as chemical exfoliation (enzymes, or alpha&beta hydroxy acids in the form of a peel that is rinsed or a leave-on product) and instead of scrubbing, the chemical does all the work. Ideally you should be doing one of each. Alternating them will give you the best results. Scrubs can be used once or twice a week, where chemical exfoliators can be used almost every night.
If you have normal to dry skin, try a serum, cream or lotion containing an alpha-hydroxy acid, these work by dissolving the substance that holds skin cells together. If you have oily or acne-prone skin, you'll get better results with a product containing beta hydroxy acid (aka salicylic acid) because they can penetrate oil and get inside your pore. An effective formula must be the right pH, and should contain a blend of other skin beneficial ingredients like antioxidants and anti-irritants.
Manual Exfoliants for all skin types
At the drugstore, you can find Aveeno Positively Radiant Skin Brightening Daily Scrub or Olay Regenerist Detoxifying Scrub. Both are gentle and don't contain any weirdly shaped and harsh nut shells or particles. If you live near a target store, you can find another well formulated option from Boots called Expert Sensitive Gentle Smoothing Scrub. If you want to splurge, my luxury picks are Remede's Sweep or Kiehl's Epidermal Re-Texturizing MicroDermabrasion. Another option is to use a soft washcloth with your regular cleanser. I really love these soft muslin cloths from Liz Earle. You get a two pack for $6. Last but not least is the trusty Clarisonic, the sensitive skin brush heads are effective but gentle enough for the most sensitive skin.
Chemical Exfoliants for normal to dry skin
Hands down my favorite drugstore find is Olay's Regenerist Night Resurfacing Elixir. It has a nice blend of glycolic acid and antioxidants in a lightweight serum texture. If you have really dry skin, you will may need a moisturizer over this. Another excellent option is Peter Thomas Roth's Glycolic Acid Moisturizer. This contains glycolic acid too, but is also time-released, which makes it perfect for anyone, but especially great for sensitive skin.
Chemical Exfoliants for oily or acne prone skin
I'm sure if you have oily skin, or have ever had a pimple, you've heard of salicylic acid. Unfortunately there are not many well-formulated products out there! To be effective, the salicylic acid must be the correct pH, and contain the right amount of actual acid. My go-to is by philosophy, called clear days ahead oil-free salicylic acid acne treatment & moisturizer, it has a nice silky texture and its fragrance free. Another great product and even gentler option is Clinique's Mild Clarifying Lotion. Its a liquid (I don't know why they call it a lotion) and just apply with a cotton ball after washing, it also contains aloe for major soothing to your skin.