For any treatment or cream to work on your skin, it needs to be clean.
For that, you need to exfoliate at regular intervals to slough away the accumulated dead skin cells that are clogging your pores and forming a layer on your skin.
Exfoliation also makes your face a better canvas to apply makeup on.
Make sure you alternate between homemade and market-bought exfoliators to maintain a balance.
Also, do not exfoliate every day because that can cause over scrubbing of the skin and lead to redness, rashes, and breakouts.
Exfoliate your skin 2-3 times a week using a circulatory motion. Preferably in the evenings, and not right before you go for a swim or out in the sun.