Don’t argue with us on this—exfoliation is a key component of skincare, no matter what skin type you have. Forget about all the misconceptions that oily, dry or mature skin shouldn’t be exfoliated; all skin types should have their dead skin cells removed to prevent having a blotchy and dull skin, or worse, acne. So if you’ve been wanting to amp your skin’s softness and radiance, maybe what you’re lacking in your skincare regimen is proper exfoliation.
However, by exfoliation, we don’t mean that you should go and buy any face scrub you can find and scrub your face like there’s no tomorrow. Exfoliating should be apt to one’s skin type for it to bring the best results. Curious about how you should exfoliate your particular skin type? Read on.
Congratulations! You’ve got the easiest skin to care for, and this means your skin can pretty much choose from a wide ranging selection of exfoliating products out there. But be careful in doing too much of exfoliation though—just two or three times a week will do.
Best exfoliators for normal skin:
- Dennis Gross Skincare Alpha Beta Universal Daily Peel ($76.97)
- Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask ($62)
- Barbara Sturm Facial Scrub ($70)
- Origins Never A Dull Moment Skin-Brightening Face Polisher with Fruit Extracts ($31)
If your skin is always dry and flaky, you would want to steer away from products that would intensify that dehydration further. Avoid exfoliators with alcohol, benzoyl peroxide or some specific retinods and choose gentler ingredients like mild lactic acid, glycolic acid, or a simple brown sugar paste when exfoliating. Dry skin should be exfoliated only 1-2 times a week. And remember—an ultra-hydrating moisturizer should immediately follow.
Best exfoliators for dry skin:
- Tatcha The Rice Polish Foaming Enzyme Powder ($65)
- Saturday Skin Rub-A-Dub Refining Peel Gel ($28)
- Caudalie Gentle Buffing Cream ($35)
- Shiseido Waso Soft + Cushy Polisher ($32)
For those with oily skin, we have good news and bad news for you. The good news is that the oil can keep the youthfulness of your skin longer. The bad news is—and you might already know it—you are more prone to clogged pores and breakouts. When it comes to exfoliation though, you can go as frequent as 5x a week, depending on the product that you use. Look for stuff with salicylic acid, alpha & beta acids, and glycolic acids and make sure to never over-exfoliate.
Best exfoliators for oily skin:
- Fresh Umbrian Clay Pore Purifying Face Exfoliator ($33)
- Kate Somerville ExfoliKate Intensive Exfoliating Treatment ($24)
- MD Complete Clarifying Gel Mask ($19.99)
The woes of people with combination skin are the combined issues of those with both dry and oily skin. Parts of your face, usually the T-zone, are more prone to breakouts while the others are dehydrated. You can use different exfoliators for the different parts of your face. If that’s too much of a hassle for you, use an exfoliator that’s combination skin-friendly and then moisturize, packing on product on the dry areas of your face.
Best exfoliators for combination skin:
- Caudalie Deep Cleansing Exfoliator ($35)
- La Roche-Posay Ultra Fine Scrub Face Wash ($17.99)
- Fresh Sugar Face Polish Exfoliator ($62)
- Murad Rapid Resurfacing Peel ($44)
Acne can just be a phase for many, but when it pops on your face, it’s the most annoying thing ever. But those who actually have acne-prone skin have it worse as they are on the lookout for emerging acne every single day. This makes acne-prone people more observant on their pores and many can even handle products with stronger ingredients. With exfoliation though, the key for acne-prone skin is to exfoliate slowly, so you wouldn’t irritate the skin or cause an acne breakout.
Best exfoliators for acne-prone skin:
- Paula’s Choice CLEAR Regular Strength Anti-Redness Exfoliating Solution ($27)
- Body Merry Glycolic Acid Exfoliating Cleanser ($18)
- Era Organics Microdermabrasion Scrub And Mask ($23.99)
It’s easy to get irritation and skin redness from exfoliating, especially for those with sensitive skin. If every exfoliation seems difficult for you, we suggest you talk to your dermatologist about it. But if your skin reactions are manageable, you may just tweak the product you use and the way you exfoliate a bit to find that sweet spot. Remember to pick exfoliating products that contain highly gentle retinoid and a very low content of glycolic acid.
Best exfoliators for sensitive skin:
- Eminence Organic Skin Care Yam and Pumpkin Enzyme Peel ($46)
- Drunk Elephant T.L.C Sukari Babyfacial ($80)
- Isdinceutics MelaClear Serum ($75)
- Pixi Peel & Polish ($24)
For our more mature readers, don’t worry, we haven’t forgotten about you! Having mature skin can be a bit challenging in the hydration department. Go for products with retinols and retinoids to help with dryness, complexion evenness, and reduction of those fine lines. However, you have to make sure to pay attention to moisturization more than ever, as products with these ingredients can be drying to the skin. If you haven’t been exfoliating, start doing it just twice a week and then ease into 3x a week. Afterwards, you can exfoliate every other night. Just make sure you don’t use any product with high content of glycolic acid.
Best exfoliators for mature skin:
- CANE + AUSTIN Face & Body Retexture Scrub ($42)
- SkinCeuticals 1.0 Retinol Night Cream ($76)
- Herbivore Blue Tansy AHA + BHA Resurfacing Clarity Mask ($48)
Image credits: L’Oreal Paris, Health Status, The Forecast, Bello Mag, Inside Outer beauty, Avoskin, SHAPE, Nivea.