How Often To Exfoliate, Dermaplane, Apply AHAs, and More

A skincare to-do list can feel overwhelming, especially for those types that enjoy dipping their toes into all sorts of serums and creams. Most of us have a daily skincare routine down pat, but when it comes to those extra-special treatments— like dermaplaning, facial peels, and exfoliators—things can get tricky. That's because, unlike a basic face wash or moisturizer, these products often incorporate more potent skincare ingredients (such as retinol or AHAs) that can irritate skin if overdone. 

As a rule of thumb, always consult the back of the packaging and follow the directions listed. Every formula is unique in terms of the percentage of ingredients and how strong it is, and instructions can vary from product to product. Plus, don't forget to consider the other products that are part of your routine. Some ingredients don't mix well together and can exacerbate skin concerns.

There are some general timelines to follow when it comes to skincare, however.  Enter: our handy skincare calendar. Whether you screenshot it, bookmark it, or set reminders on your phone—this is your guide to how often to exfoliate, dermaplane, use retinol, and more. 

Wash Your Face: 1-2x per day

One of the greatest sins of skincare? Going to bed with a full face of makeup on. As unappealing as performing a full regimen is after a long night of work or having a glass or two at happy hour, leftover makeup can cause breakouts, premature aging, and more. That's what makes washing your face before bed so vital. Opt for a double cleanse to ensure every last bit—even stubborn mascara—melts away. 

Even if you don't wear makeup, cleansing away sunscreen, dirt, bacteria, or other impurities that find their way onto your skin and into your pores is an essential part of every skincare routine. Dry skin types may choose to only wash their face during the PM; swiping on a micellar water, a milk (we recommend Baby Cheeks to restore hydration), or even a splash of water in the AM will do the trick. If you're oily, cleansing in the AM and PM may be necessary to remove excess pore-clogging oil and reduce shine.


Apply Sunscreen: 1x per day, reapplying every 2 hours

PSA: Sunscreen isn't just for summer. Even if it's cloudy or cool, UV rays are still present year-round. And don't think being inside nixes the need for SPF—the sun's rays can penetrate glass and reach skin through windows. Plus, there's protection against environmental damage (like pollution) and blue screen light. Up your defenses by wearing a broad-spectrum sunscreen every single day after applying moisturizer. Reapply every 2 hours (and more often if you sweat or swim). 


Exfoliate: 2-3x a week

Fun fact: Our skin sheds about 500 million cells per day. Unless we exfoliate on a regular basis, those dead cells build up on the outer layer of our skin pretty quickly. As a rule of thumb, aim to exfoliate 2-3 times per week unless you have dry or sensitive skin. If that’s the case, start with just one weekly exfoliation and take it from there. Our Microcrystal Exfoliator is a great pick when it comes to physical exfoliation since its creamy texture is gentle enough for all skin types—even those with acne-prone skin. 



Don't forget the skin beneath your chin, too. Exfoliate away bumps and rough patches from KP and more with our Buff It Out AHA Exfoliating Body Scrub. It's sensitive skin-approved, too.

Dermaplane: 1x every 1-3 weeks 

Technically, dermaplaning is a type of physical exfoliation. Unlike physical scrubs and chemical exfoliants, however, this tool also removes peach fuzz from skin as well as dislodging old skin cells. Because it physically removes the outermost layer of skin, it is considered a more intensive form of exfoliation and overdoing it can cause irritation. We recommend dermaplaning at home every 1-3 weeks. Don't forget to clean and replace your blade as needed (more on that below). As far an in-office dermaplaning treatment goes, consult your dermatologist. 

Replace Your Razor Blades and Loofah: 1x a month

While these tools can be handy in the shower, they’re prone to bacteria if not swapped out often enough. Once you experience any nicking and tugging while shaving or notice your blade rusting, it’s time to switch up your blade. As for dermaplaning blades, swap ours out after 3-4 uses. Loofahs (we recommend opting for natural one, not plastic, that can be composted) should be cleaned weekly and replaced every month. 

Apply Retinol and Acids: 1-3x a week

How often you should apply AHAs, BHAs, and retinol depends on the product and formula. Traditional retinol and acid-based products can be applied 1-3 times a week on average. Some formulas, however, utilize gentler versions of these ingredients (like the encapsulated retinol in our Gentle Retinol Serum or lactic acid found in our Overnight Facial) that can be applied every single night. Check the back of the packaging and if you experience any irritation, simply scale back on frequency.

Facial Peels and Masks: 1-3x a week

Because at-home masks and peels are left on the skin for an extended period of time before being washed off, they're able to do more deep cleaning and damage control than an everyday skincare routine. These aren’t just reserved for #SelfCareSunday though—most products can be used a few times per week depending on your skin’s needs. On average, aim to mask no more than 3 times a week. And of course, don't forget to check the ingredients. Potent facial peels, like our Instant Resurfacing Mask, uses a combo of AHAs and BHAs that shouldn't be applied more than once per week. 

Clean Your Makeup Brushes: 1x a week

Bacteria can build up very easily in your makeup brushes. In order to keep your skin nice and healthy, make sure you thoroughly wash them once a week (or once a month, if you are not an avid makeup-wearer). For similar reasons, don't forget to wash your pillow cases once a week, too. 

Replace Your Razor Blade and Loofah: 1x a month

While these tools can be handy in the shower, they’re prone to bacteria if not swapped out often enough. Once you experience any nicking and tugging while shaving or notice your blade rusting, it’s time to switch up your blade. As for dermaplaning blades, swap ours out after 3-4 uses. Loofahs (we recommend opting for natural one, not plastic, that can be composted) should be cleaned weekly and replaced every month. 

Professional Facial or In-Office Chemical Peel: 1x a month 

Turns out, it’s widely debated how frequently you should indulge in a treatment with a facialist—especially since these days, you can DIY many of these treatments yourself at home. Besides the fact that getting a facial can be an uber relaxing form of self-care, it also never hurts to have a professional assess your skin, and most importantly, take care of those extractions so you don't attempt them at home (we all know how that ends). While your facialist will tell you the frequency that's best for your skin, we don't recommend scheduling a deep cleaning more than once per month.

Visit a Dermatologist: 1x a year

Many of us only think to book an appointment with a dermatologist if we are experiencing skin issues like acne or eczema, but regular check-ups are important for your overall skin health—especially when it comes to screening for skin cancer. We should always be checking our skin for irregular bumps and spots, but if you are “normal risk” (determined by factors like your genetics and average sun exposure) make sure to visit a dermatologist for a mole check every 1-2 years. Your primary care doctor will let you know if you need to visit more frequently than that.

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