Exfoliation. Getting rid of the dry, dead skin cells that hang out on the surface of our skin. I have always loved this picture as a super simplified visual for understanding the importance of different steps of skin care. Our skin cells start off like plump grapes and as they move to the surface, they lose moisture and elasticity ending up more like corn flakes. New skin cells are always forming and moving their way to the top. If you want your skin to look plump and smooth, you've got to send those flakes packing.
Our skin cells naturally shed with friction - touching your skin, wiping your nose with a tissue, washing your face. But your cleanser can't do it all. Everyone can benefit from a little extra help. Start by using a washcloth morning and night when removing your cleanser. Bonus if it's light-colored because you can be sure you get everything.
Scrubs - add friction with grit. Be aware of how abrasive your scrub is. You can compensate with how much pressure you use while scrubbing and how often you use it in a week. My scrub is pretty gentle and I use it every morning. If you're going gritty (think Apricot Scrub), I'd plan once-twice a week. Pay attention to spots that are more sun damaged or drier and use a lighter touch on more sensitive areas. This is my daily scrub. Another one I love for scarring, sun damage or dull skin.
Enzymes - Imagine little Miss Pac-Man running around, eating the dead skin cells from the surface. Enzymes have no gritty feeling and are found naturally in fruit and vegetables. Think of how your mouth feels after you eat an entire pineapple! These are usually best done 1-3 times per week depending on the intensity. You can find plenty of DIY recipes on Pinterest along with professional skin care lines that are based on fruits and vegetables. Use caution if you have sensitive or reactive skin. Homemade recipes are usually too concentrated and can end in awful reactions. If your skin tends to be more on the high maintenance side, be sure to see a pro. I love this one for sun damage and hyperpigmentation.
Chemical Peels - designed to break up the glue that holds skin cells together. Picture a brick wall. You need to break up the mortar before those bricks will come down. There are different levels of peels with varying down times. They can be done anywhere from once a month to 1-2 times a year depending on the depth. Post care products are an absolute MUST to heal your skin well. Make you sure you keep this on hand for your next peel.
So give those dead skin cells an eviction notice. You're other skin care products will perform better since they don't have to work as hard plus you'll love how your skin feels and how fantastic your makeup looks!