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Ask Dr. Schultz | Skin Care Guides | How to Do Progressive Exfoliation

How to Do Progressive Exfoliation

Between building a career and taking care of your family, you don’t have a lot of time for yourself. Maybe you haven’t even properly cared for your skin in years. So the idea of using Dr. Schultz’s clinically-proven progressive exfoliation system might seem completely out of your wheelhouse. But never fear, it’s not complicated to do and it will give you the absolute best texture and tone your skin has ever seen. 

With just a little bit of instruction and the right products, you can bring back the vibrancy of your skin while getting rid of the discoloration that makes your skin look much older than it should. This one simple, easy-to-use system will deliver the freshest skin you’ve had in years, and it can all be done in less than two minutes a day.

What is Exfoliation?

Exfoliation is one of the most effective ways to get smoother, fresher-looking skin. Starting as early as your twenties, your skin can become uneven and discolored, causing your skin to look dull and tired. This is because the dead cells that used to regularly and consistently fall off your skin, may now be falling off inconsistently. This causes clumping and mounds of dead skin cells to build up on your skin, which in turn cause the skin issues that make you look older.

The beauty of chemical exfoliation (as opposed to the physical kind of exfoliation like scrubs) is that it gently removes the “glue” holding those mounds together. This allows the dead skin cells to fall off, revealing the smoother, younger-looking skin hiding underneath.

While glycolic acid is the gold standard of exfoliants, Dr. Schultz has taken that even a step further by taking four decades of experience and over 180,000 patient visits to develop his proprietary Tetrafoliant® formula of glycolic acid. This formula is incredibly effective in removing dead skin cells while still being gentle enough to use every night.

What Is Daily Progressive Exfoliation?

Perhaps you’ve never heard of daily progressive exfoliation. Dr. Schultz’s signature method of daily progressive exfoliation is simple: add gentle exfoliation to your routine every night while gradually increasing the strength in a safe, yet effective way. Dr. Schultz has been using this system for years with his personal clients—everyone from celebrities to beauty editors to royalty have been using Dr. Schultz’s Glycolic “No Downtime” Peel to clear up their discoloration and fine lines to reveal younger-looking skin. And now, what was once insider information is available to you in the at-home version of The Progressive Peel.

How to Prepare for Daily Exfoliation

The very first thing you need to do before you start any skincare routine is to understand your own skin type. Knowing your skin type will help you determine which products work best for you and which you may not need. While progressive exfoliation is great for every skin type, even those with the most sensitive skin, you’ll want to understand your own skin type so you can choose the best products for the rest of your routine.

How to Begin Progressive Exfoliation

You may have noticed that we have an array of glycolic strengths. You’ll begin with the 8% exfoliating serum and eventually move up to 10% and 15% strengths. But don’t let the percentages and strength levels intimidate you. According to Dr. Schultz, there’s a very simple way to think about how to increase your glycolic strength. Think of it like increasing weight at the gym! Dr. Schultz says, “You don't start with 100 pound weights. You start with 30 pounds and gradually work your way up to 100.”

By gradually increasing the strength of the glycolic, and through feedback and adaptation, this kind of progressive exfoliation trains the skin to receive, tolerate, and respond to higher (and therefore much more effective) levels of glycolic without irritation. And because there’s no irritation, this progression offers you the chance to maintain a daily regimen without the need to rest between treatments, which is critical to achieving younger-looking skin.

The Progressive Peel

How to Gradually Increase Your Glycolic Acid Strength

What Dr. Schultz recommends for his patients is to start with an 8% glycolic serum. It's an effective starter strength to jump start the process. After a few weeks, you'll gradually progress to 10% glycolic pads. And after a few more weeks, you finally use a 15% glycolic cream. This gradual increase is important because, depending on what brands you use, not all chemical exfoliants are the same. For progressive exfoliation to truly work, the chemical exfoliant must be gentle but effective, which for glycolic acid, requires it to be balanced and chemically buffered.

Should You Exfoliate Before or After Cleansing?

If you’re already washing your face and moisturizing at night, you may be wondering when to add in your exfoliating serums or pads. The answer is simple: apply your products from lightest to heaviest. This means you’ll want to cleanse your face first, then apply your exfoliating serum, and finish off with a moisturizing cream. To make it even easier, Dr. Schultz developed his Rx Number System and lists a specific number on every product. You simply apply each BeautyRx product in order from the lowest Rx number to the highest. He’s taken the guesswork out of when to apply, so your nightly routine takes no time (or brain power) at all.

Five Reasons to Choose Glycolic Acid

There are many products you may be using that don’t have “levels” through which you progress. The basics, such as your cleansers and toners, are going to stay your basics. But where the fun really begins is with glycolic exfoliation—the cornerstone of how Dr. Schultz treats 95% of all skincare concerns. So why exactly is glycolic acid so good for your skin? Here’s a quick refresh:

According to Dr. Schultz, there are five reasons that glycolic acid is the current gold standard of all chemical exfoliants.

1. "First, it’s unsurpassed in its efficacy. It just works.” You can be sure that your glycolic exfoliant is specifically formulated to give you the best results every time you use it.

2. "It provides both consistent and predictable results.” Unlike physical exfoliants that depend on how much you use and how hard you scrub, with only a couple drops of your exfoliating serum or one exfoliating pad, you’re getting the same application, and therefore, the same results every night.

3. "Glycolic acid is extremely versatile and can treat an array of skin conditions ailing you.” 

4. "It can be chemically ‘tweaked’ to both maximize its efficacy and minimize irritation at the same time."

5. "And lastly, and most importantly, it has unparalleled patient satisfaction.” Dr. Schultz recommends glycolic exfoliation to all of his patients because it’s effective and non-irritating, and his patients fall in love with their results.

The Progressive Peel

Dr. Schultz Explains Progressive Exfoliation

Let Dr. Schultz explain how progressive exfoliation works and how to get the best results:


The Benefits of Progressive Glycolic Exfoliation

Effective progressive exfoliation, which Dr. Schultz suggests with glycolic acid, will deliver skin that's brighter, clearer, more even-toned, and smaller-pored. In other words: you’ll have skin that just glows. You will have younger-looking skin, but Dr. Schultz reminds us that, “younger-looking skin isn't just about wrinkles! If you make a map of your face, wrinkles account for less than 5% of your face. Of course they count, but when a 55-year old woman comes to me to fix her lines and wrinkles, after her treatment, she doesn't look like a 35-year old woman...she looks like a 55-year old woman without lines and wrinkles. That's because the rest of her skin, the 95%, is still 55-year old skin.”

And exfoliation isn't just giving you brighter, firmer skin. Getting rid of dead skin cells and debris enables all of your products to absorb into your skin so that they work better and create the perfect canvas for your makeup to be applied flawlessly.

Your At-Home Regimen

Fixing lines and wrinkles can make you look a little better, but it doesn't make you look younger. Using progressive exfoliation with glycolic acid targets 95% of your skincare concerns, delivering radiant, better-textured skin every time. And by simply adding exfoliation to your nightly routine and gradually increasing the strength of your glycolic, you’ll get dermatologist-level results without ever having to leave your own bathroom.

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