This 'Holy Grail' Exfoliator Makes Acne, Blackheads, and Hyperpigmentation Disappear

The “skin-transforming” formula uses AHAs, BHAs, and enzymes to remove dead skin cells and reveal a brighter, clear complexion.

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dermalogica exfoliator
Photo: Dermalogica

I know that pores, blackheads, and hyperpigmentation are just part of being human — but I still dream about a magic eraser for my skin that eliminates imperfections. (Hey, it's hard not to want the flawless skin that face filters on social media offer.) Sadly, I'd all but accepted this imaginary product doesn't exist, but beauty gurus and reviewers have found the next best thing in Dermalogica's Daily Microfoliant (Buy It, $15, dermalogica.com).

The skin-care superstar is a gentle daily exfoliant that sloughs away dead skin to reveal a brighter, clearer complexion. While you might think of it as a way-too-harsh skin-care step, exfoliation is actually a crucial part of any routine. The process not only makes skin smoother and unclogs pores, but it also allows for the ingredients in the rest of your products to penetrate skin more effectively, according to a previous Shape interview with Suzan Obagi, M.D., associate professor of dermatology and plastic surgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. (ICYMI, Shape has an entire guide to understanding face exfoliators.)

The beloved treatment arrives as a fine rice powder that transforms into a cleansing paste by adding H2O. Although it sounds very similar to a physical exfoliator, which sloughs away skin cells through physical abrasion (with the help of microbeads, for instance), the paste is actually a chemical exfoliator. The water activation of the powder releases multiple types of chemical exfoliators, including salicylic acid, rice enzymes, and papain (aka an enzyme extracted from papaya), which loosen the bonds that hold dead skin cells together.

Other ingredients, such as rice bran, white tea, and licorice, add to the treatment's benefits. They give a boost of phytic acid, which brightens the complexion, evens out skin tone, unclogs pores, and prevents blackheads. Meanwhile, the addition of calming oatmeal and allantoin help soothe the skin and ensure the exfoliator is safe for daily use. (

dermalogica exfoliator
Dermalogica

Buy It: Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant, $15, dermalogica.com

When left on the skin for the brand's recommended one-minute, this potent trio gives the microfoliant the "skin-transforming" powers that have impressed more than 3,000 reviewers on Dermalogica's site. (BTW your body also needs exfoliation.)

"I've been using this for years and it's the best," wrote a shopper. "It's helped clear my skin and calm the redness. I suffer from rosacea and cystic acne, and this stuff has done wonders for my skin."

Another said: "This product has truly made a difference in my skin. I have friends, family, and even strangers complimenting my skin and telling me how radiant I look. Since I started using Dermalogica, it has truly made a difference in my skin. Although I will be reaching 50-years-old soon, I'm told that I look (to be) in my mid-thirties."

All things considered, it's easy to see why the product has become a "holy grail" for so many people. Luckily, you can try a travel-sized version of the exfoliator for just $15. However, customers swear that once you see the "unbelievable" results of the daily treatment, you won't mind splurging on the full-sized bottle.

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