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The Best Exfoliators for Dark Skin

Put down the harsh, abrasive scrub! Now is probably a good time to let you know that the more you use them and damage your skin, the more your complexion will protect itself by scarring and creating a thicker layer of dead cells that you are over-zealously trying to get rid of. Darker skin tones need extra love during the winter months as they can start to look grey and that unwanted hyperpigmentation can start coming to the surface. 

There is evidence that darker skin tones have a more compact stratum corneum, larger pore size and higher sebum secretion than other skin types which means it’s vital to keep the surface as debris-free as possible to avoid the build up of spot-causing bacteria. However, the path to unveiling a luminous face doesn’t involve a harsh scrub.

The answer to all of your prayers comes in the form of chemical exfoliation. This clever acid-based way of exfoliating works fantastically on darker skin tones as it diminishes dead skin, acne scars, hyperpigmentation and blackheads. Here are some that you need to try…

Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant – shop

This is the elixir of dreams. This best-selling, fast absorbing formula effortlessly removes dead cells from the surface of the skin and from deep within the pores. Star ingredient Salicylic Acid ensures that blackheads and pimples are kept at bay as well as any potential inflammation to leave the skin clear and blemish free. 

Exuviance Skinrise Morning Glow – shop

We love an easy-to-use skin care product, and these pads from Exuviance make light work of exfoliation. Each pad is soaked in a powerful cocktail of PHAs, Marine Extracts and multivitamins which improve the skin’s tone, radiance and texture in just a few swipes. Extracts of Eucalyptus and Cucumber cool and soothe inflammation while Green Tea provides a shield against free radical damage 

Instytutum Glow Toner – shop

This concentrated liquid is the quickest way to achieve bright, smooth and more even skin. It combines 6% Glycolic Acid with 2% Niacinamide to visibly transform imperfections by removing the top layer of damaged, dead skin cells. Allantoin and Chamomile keep any irritation at bay while Hyaluronic Acid blankets the skin in essential hydration. Expect your skin to have less dark spots, reduced sebum and decongested pores after the first use. 

If you’re still pining for a physical exfoliant or a scrub, then don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Not all physical exfoliation is bad, however choose carefully: the particles found in the product should be super fine and the execution should be measured.

Dr. Barbara Sturm Darker Skin Tones Enzyme Cleanser – shop

This multi-tasking product is packed to the brim with Vitamin C and enzymes to brighten the skin and remove dead cells, impurities and make-up. When mixed with water, the ultra-fine powder transforms into a soft foam and when massage into the skin, it gently but effectively refreshes the skin, tackling pigmentation and excess sebum. 

Peter Thomas Roth Pumpkin Enzyme Mask – shop

This one combines chemical and physical exfoliation to take your complexion from dull to glowing. This triple-action treatment features Pumpkin Enzymes which sweep away dead, skin-dulling cells while AHAs and Aluminium Oxide Crystals instantly refine the skin. When massaged into the skin and left for a matter of minutes, this powerful product repairs, renews and exfoliates to leave the skin flawless and glowing. 

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