My Favorite: Lancer The Method: Polish

Martha's Skincare Cabinet

This is the first step in famed Beverly Hills dermatologist Harold Lancer, MD’s skincare line, which I’m a big fan of. He recommends using his Polish every day or every other day, but I do it once every 6 months (yes, only twice a year!). But I do like Polish. It’s not at all irritating because the formula uses a combination of mechanical exfoliants (magnesium oxide and sodium bicarbonate crystals) plus enzyme(pumpkin and pomegranate extracts) so dead skin cells come off easily and genty. We’ve all heard of the scary apricot pits in some scrubs that can cause micro-tears in your skin; I stay away from those. And chemical exfoliators like glycolic acid are just too strong for my skin, which is prone to redness.

How to Choose Yours:
 “Exfoliation is not as important as people think,” says Humphrey, pointing out that the skin exfoliates naturally and “every 1-2 months dead skin cells slough off on their own.” She says those who will benefit most from exfoliation have a tendency to get congested pores, are acne-prone or have a very dull complexion. But she prefers chemical exfoliants like Retin-A or glycolic acid because mechanical scrubs can disrupt the moisture barrier.

Alexiades agrees that exfoliation isn’t that necessary. “The Lancer is fine—it’s like a microdermabrasion,” but she suggests using it only if you see clogged pores and adds that her skin is too sensitive for any mechanical exfoliation. Wagner is a big fan of exfoliation and recommends gommage formulas to her clients, which you apply to skin, let sit, then rub it and all your dead skin cells off together. She likes EmerginC Micro Scrub but used as a dry gommage, instead of wet, as the directions suggest. (I’ve had great results with the Clarins Gentle Peeling Smooth Away Cream gommage, too.)