Should You Exfoliate Your Face In The Winter?

by Lindsey Rose Black

Thanks to those chilly temperatures and heaters blasting hot air, winter goes hand in hand with dry, flaky skin. If you're asking yourself, "Should you exfoliate your face in the winter or is it too harsh?" you're not alone! It's a tricky question, but luckily, the answer is pretty simple.

If you're on the fence about whether or not to you should be using an exfoliator this winter, it's definitely worth doing. According to Dr. Frank Lipman's website, exfoliating during winter is necessary because "dead skin cells reduce the amount of absorption you get from the products you apply, and increase winter dryness and irritation." This means that moisturizing alone won't be effective without exfoliating since it can't fully penetrate your healthy skin to hydrate it.

However, there can be too much of a good thing. Dr. Kavita Mariwalla told, "If you exfoliate too often, as in a few times a week, your skin will paradoxically become more dry and irritated ... Then you will feel like you need to exfoliate more, and you enter a cycle that's difficult to break." Yikes.

If you're nervous about overdoing it, consider reaching for one of the gentler exfoliators below that will take care of dead skin cells without roughing up your skin.

1. Gentle Exfoliating Cleanser

Gentle Exfoliating Cleanser, $9, Amazon

With melted jojoba wax (not plastic) microbeads, this scrub is strong enough to get the job done, but still soft enough for delicate skin.

2. Pineapple Papaya Facial Scrub

Kiehl's Pineapple Papaya Facial Scrub, $28, Nordstrom

This sweet, tropical smelling scrub exfoliates without being too harsh thanks to the addition of pineapple and papaya chunks and natural vitamin oils.

3. Lactic Acid Exfoliating Pads

St. Ives Lactic Acid Exfoliating Pads, $35, Amazon

The perfect choice if you want nothing rough against your skin, these pads work with lactic acid and alpha hydroxy acids to dissolve (instead of scrub) away dry skin.

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Images: Tachina Lee/Unsplash; Courtesy of Brands