Exfoliators & your skin: all you need to know

Written by Angela, 22nd April 2020

Scrubs, polishers, peels, exfoliators… there are so many different types of products to remove dead skin cells. In this article, I hope to shed a little light on one of the least understood of skincare products – so you can confidently achieve the skin result you’re looking for.

How are you exfoliating your skin at home?

Attending a skin treatment at Sensoria will always start with a skin analysis and consultation. This includes asking you about the products that you currently use on your skin at home. Often people chat confidently about how they cleanse and moisturise their skin. However, when we get to ‘how do you exfoliate your skin?’ there is often a bit of a pause. And quite often the product they are using isn’t right for the effect they wish to achieve.

What’s the reason behind exfoliators?

The purpose of using an exfoliator is to remove dead skin cells. But why exactly do you need to do this?

When we are really young our skin functions well and surface dead skin cells shed effectively. But as we reach puberty – and there is often an increase in oil secretions especially in the T-zone area – the dead skin cells can stick to the surface. This leads to blackheads and sometimes breakouts.

As we get older the cell turnover process slows down and the build-up of dead cells gives a dulling appearance to the skin. In fact, these dead skin cells also make lines and wrinkles look deeper. What’s more, sloughing off excess dead skin cells allows active products to penetrate better – giving you a youthful vibrancy, smoothness and healthy glow to your skin.

Exfoliating at home – or polishing and harming?

If you are using a scrub as home – that is to say something that has small particles in it – you are probably not efficiently exfoliating your skin but ‘polishing’ it.

Scrubs and polishers only remove the top dead skin cells. Although they can feel satisfying to use, scrubs are often the least exfoliating on the bioactivity scale (i.e. how effectively they remove dead skin cells). This means when it comes to blackheads, they are the least effective. In fact, these scrubs can be positively harmful for all breakouts and acne  – often making them worse. Not to mention, if you’re prone to red veins or generally sensitive skin, aggressive scrubbing is bad news for your skin.

Dermalogica exfoliating products: explained

I am going to take you through each of the Dermalogica exfoliating products and explain:

  • How they work
  • Which skin types they are suitable for
  • What our clients have reported back about them – after using them at home
  • Our expert tips for use

My advice comes as an experienced beauty industry professional – and hope it can truly help you get the results you deserve. Much better than celebrity-endorsed hype that doesn’t cater to the science behind skin care.

Skin Prep Scrub – no more!

Firstly, if you are an avid Dermalogica user do you remember Skin Prep Scrub?

This fell into the category of scrubs and polishers, had a very low bioactivity rating of around 2 and has now been discontinued.

Whilst it felt thoroughly good to polish your skin with this product there were very few skin types that would benefit from this type of product. Especially now that exfoliation formulas have moved along in leaps and bounds.

Daily Microfoliant

Daily Microfoliant is a firm favourite of many of our clients. Although it has small pieces of rice bran in it to give it a polishing effect it also has fruit enzymes from papaya and pineapple to have a better exfoliating effect.

With a bioactivity rating of 5, it is mild enough to use every day. However, some clients find it a little drying so, whilst it is suitable for most skin conditions, if you suffer from excessive dryness there are more suitable exfoliators in the range.

We sometimes use Daily Microfoliant in skin treatments mixed with a professional product to increase its bioactivity rating. Because we are using other products with it you would rarely experience dryness from it in professional usage.

Our top tip is to store this white powder exfoliator in a dry place and keep it away from your nose until it is mixed with water – or it will make you sneeze! Easy to use and effective it gives a skin brightening effect too.

Daily Superfoliant

Daily Superfoliant is similar to Daily Microfoliant but falls within the agesmart range and includes a special type of charcoal which latches onto pollution particles to prevent premature ageing.

It has a bioactivity score of 8 so is a little more active than Daily Microfoliant, but can be tolerated by most skin types except the most sensitive.

Clients aged 35+ love this exfoliator especially if they have used Daily Microfoliant in their younger years and step up to this as they get a little older.

We occasionally use this in our professional treatments. In particular, for clients who complain that their skin feels rough as the enzymes and hydroxy acids leave the skin feeling incredibly soft and smooth after use.

Our top tip is to keep it away from anything white due to the charcoal content. Easy to use and clients love the skin-softening benefits.

Daily Resurfacer

Daily Resurfacer is another popular exfoliant in the Dermalogica range and has a bioactivity score of 9, but again is easily tolerated by most skin types.

Each individually packaged finger pocket is impregnated with enzymes and fruit acids and the hyaluronic acid content keeps skin hydrated too.

What’s special about this product? Well, you don’t have to rinse the product from your skin! Just apply and layer your serum or booster and moisturiser over the top. Our clients who are time-poor love it as it’s super-easy to use and quick.

Our top tip is to use what’s left on the finger pocket on the backs of your hands, knees and elbows.

Multivitamin Thermofoliant

Multivitamin Thermofoliant is a more powerful exfoliant with a bioactivity score of 10.

It combines skin polisher and hydroxy acids with age-fighting ingredients such as vitamins C and E. It also has a warming effect to speed up the exfoliating action and is a pleasure to use in the winter, but is a best-seller all year round due to its thorough exfoliating and skin freshening effect.

It can be used two to three times a week so is suitable for clients who do not want to exfoliate on a daily basis.

Our top tip is to ‘work’ it slightly between your fingers for a few seconds first before applying it to your skin to loosen it up. Rich and effective, clients report that it is a pleasure to use.

Rapid Reveal Peel

Last but certainly not least is Rapid Reveal Peel. It’s a once a week product and is the most intense of the at-home exfoliating products with an impressive bioactivity score of 21.

This has become my favourite at-home exfoliating product and is suitable for most clients apart from the very nervous! I have rosacea but can tolerate it really well.

The initial application feels very tingly as the fruit acids get to work – but this quickly settles down. And with a little massage to confuse the sensory nerve endings and an application time of only 7 minutes it’s more than bearable.

You can follow the link below to see how to use it:


This is for clients who want the best results. It is particularly suitable for those wanting to target signs of ageing, breakouts and pigmentation. Usually purchased in sets of 10, we are now selling them individually – so you can try before you invest.

Finally, think sunscreen

Remember to always protect your skin with sunscreen and especially if you are regularly exfoliating or receiving in-salon peels. We can give you further advice on what sunscreen is best for your skin, just email us at info@sensoriabeauty.co.uk

Professional skincare experts, here to help

Take care, stay safe – and remember, we are always here to help you with your skin care. Even during these challenging times when the salon is temporarily closed, we’re only ever a phone call, email or message on Facebook or Instagram away.

01829 26 26 26      www.sensoriabeauty.co.uk

Written by Angela Bartlett, owner of Sensoria health, beauty & skin care salon.

Originally published April 22, 2020 18:40pm, updated January 15, 2024

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