Should I Put Lotion on After Exfoliating?

Beach sand exfoliates your skin, so lather on lotion when you get home from the coast.

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Exfoliators clean your pores from the inside out. The unexpected side effect? Squeaky clean skin that feels not only cleaned out, but dried out, too. Even the most gentle exfoliator is built to dig deep. Dabbing some lotion on your skin after exfoliating can help you skip this side effect, leaving you with skin that's as moist as it is clean.


Exfoliating gets rid of dead skin cells and brings new, moist cells to the surface. You'll love your fresh glow -- until the air zaps that moisture right out of your skin. This makes moisturizing a necessity after your exfoliate. The same goes with shaving: That rough razor sloughs off dead skin cells, too, leaving your skin begging for moisture.


Moisturizing not only rehydrates dry skin, it also locks in moisture that's already there. Plus, exfoliating improves your skin's ability to absorb products, including lotion. So whether your skin is dry from exfoliating or still shining with its newfound moisture, applying lotion is a smart idea.


You know you're getting a moisturizing effect when you apply lotion, but some offer more moisture than others. Shea butter and cocoa butter are super-moist, all-natural products that will relieve your skin of the post-exfoliating blues -- namely, itchiness. Check the ingredients list for other moisturizing agents too, including glycerin, petrolatum (only for very dry skin), lanolin, ceramides, dimethicone, urea and hyaluronic acid, as Northwestern Memorial Physicians Group recommends.

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Apply lotion immediately after exfoliating to prevent irritation and trap that moisture in your skin before it evaporates. Don't be shy about using a thick lotion on your body, though you can opt for cocoa butter if you prefer a light, smooth finish. Apply a gentler moisturizer after exfoliating your face, such as an oil-free facial moisturizer. Look for the words "noncomedogenic," meaning it won't clog your pores, to prevent pimples and blackheads. Combine lotion applications to save product by exfoliating in the shower and applying lotion after you step out. Your skin will glisten from all that happy hydrating.

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