THERE are many opinions on how often your skin should be exfoliated and on which methods to use.

Beauty companies and salons offer an array of products that exfoliate the skin in a variety of ways, so choosing the right method for you is the difference between having a balanced smooth skin or an angry irritated one.

Exfoliation is the process of removing dead skin cells from the surface of the skin using a granular cream, otherwise known as an exfoliator, a loofa, or a suitable chemical based product.

Views on exfoliation vary among users and professionals. Some say that by exfoliating, you are removing a protective layer on the skin, but some exfoliators can leave the skin feeling irritated and sensitive.

Other professionals have concerns about microbeads in products being too small to be caught by sewage works and being released into the environment.

There are companies that make exfoliators without microbeads, so check packaging before you buy.

Our skin is the largest organ of the body and it takes the average adult approximately 28 days for the skin to renew itself.

As skin cells are constantly shedding, others are being produced, with this process slowing down as we age.

Regular exfoliation is said to speed up cellular renewal on a sluggish skin, leaving it looking smooth and bright. Exfoliation provides a smooth canvass so that make up or self-tan goes on more evenly. Products such as self-tan also seem to sink into the skin better following exfoliation, while the process will help to unclog pores.

When exfoliating, it is important to choose the right product for you. If you treat the skin with a deep exfoliation, wear a protective sunscreen to add a protective layer to the skin.

You are advised after microdermabrasion treatments to wear a minimum of SPF30 daily for two weeks, and up to a month with deeper treatments.

Exfoliation is great to prevent ingrowing hairs on both men and women. Exfoliate prior to being waxed, especially on dry areas, as you will achieve much better results and the skin will be left smoother, making waxing treatments easier.

Best methods

If you like a face scrub, do take care that it isn’t too harsh, as microbeads were invented to not scratch the skin.

Caudalie does a lovely body scrub which will not compromise marine life, as long as you recycle the container.

When exfoliating the face, only use an exfoliator suitable for delicate skin and not a body scrub.

I am a big fan of Elemis papaya peel. It is a very gentle exfoliating mask that exfoliates and brightens the skin without leaving you sensitive or irritated.

You can also buy brush cleansing kits which deep clean and exfoliate the skin. I am not a fan as some are too harsh and it is imperative that you keep the brushes clean.

Salon treatments

Microdermabrasion uses fine crystals and a vacuum which are designed to remove dead skin cells and unclog blocked pores.

This treatment is great for a thick, strong skin, but avoid areas that are fine and if the skin is vascular. Remember to wear a sunscreen for two weeks following this procedure.

Many salons and dermatologists offer chemical peels, which use specially formulated chemicals to deeply exfoliate the skin.

Some peels are mild and others are more aggressive to reach deeper skin layers.

You will feel discomfort, your skin will shed a lot and it can look red and inflamed initially.

It is better to have chemical peels in the winter months to stay out of the sun and you must pick a time where you are able to stay home for the harsher peels. Wear sunscreen for at least a month and even longer with deep peels.

Dermaplaning uses blades to remove dead skin cells and fine downy hair.

It has no down time as the skin is usually calm once moisturised, and the skin is left with a smooth, glass-like finish.

Products absorb into the skin more effectively, although your skin’s protective barrier is slightly compromised, so keep your skin well moisturised and wear a SPF50 daily.

Top tips

Always wear a sunscreen after deep exfoliating treatments to prevent uneven pigmentation occurring.

Generally, your skin only needs to be exfoliated once or twice a week.

When having in salon exfoliating treatments, you do not need to exfoliate at home, as this will be too much for the skin to take.

Use a body scrub twice a week and rinse prior to self-tan application.

Get advice from a skin specialist to choose the right exfoliation method for your skin.

Apply a face mask and moisturise after you have exfoliated.

Always patch test a new product, and never try a new product before attending a big social occasion in case you have a reaction.