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Okay. I am totally confused about exfoliants. Dan's regimen says for sure to be gentle to skin and not use exfoliants, as they can cause the sensitive little follicles to be more prone to breaking and thus, more clogged pores. I read reviews for Carley's Clear and Smooth and bought some, since I wold like to see if an all natural product would do the job of my Clyndamycin. I've tried many "natural products" to no avail. So the Carley's stuff is a scrub, and I have read great reviews for Pronexin, which is also a scrub. I have fair skin, moderate acne, no cysts, just multiple little read bumps and black heads and white heads. I basically have nice skin until you look more closely and have been struggling with this since I was in my twenties and really want to get the regimen down. So what's the truth about exfoliants? Help please...

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Exfoliants can be either mechanical or chemical. Mechanical exfoliants can be rough and detrimental to most acne-prone skin. That includes St Ives Apricot Scrub and any other scrub that's made with irregular, jagged particles. Mechanical exfoliants that can benefit acne prone skin are: baby's hair brush method, facial brushes, spinning electric toothbrush, exfoliating cloths, facial scrubs with SMOOTH bead particles, even a plain washcloth. That list in not all inclusive.

Chemical exfoliants are products such as: alpha hydroxy acids like glycolic acid or lactic acid. Salicylic acid is another chemical exfoliant. Mandelic acid, retinoids, etc.

Exfoliants work on one of the causes of acne. One hypothesis of the cause of acne includes easily clogged pores due to impaired keratinization/skin shedding. Those skin flakes don't shed as they should and clog pores, causing acne. Exfoliation helps remove the dead skin cells that clog up pores; it can also actually help remove the surface clogs themselves.

Some chemical exfoliants have other good properties, too, such as anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, or bacteriostatic.

You don't want to use strong exfoliants when you're on the Regimen, or use any exfoliation at all until you're used to the BP and have completely adapted to it. If you are using the Regimen, wait at least one whole month after you have adapted completely to the full dose of BP before you consider adding in any type of exfoliation.

I myself use both a retinoid and glycolic acid; see my signature for what I myself use.

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