How to Find the Right Exfoliant for Your Skin Type

Exfoliating, or sloughing off dry and dead skin cells to reveal new skin, is an essential step in any skincare routine. It employs either mechanical or chemical exfoliants or a combination of both and provides many skincare benefits, such as healthier and glowing skin, better blood circulation, and easing up a variety of skincare problems.

The entire process might sound simple enough, but the availability of different types of exfoliators can make exfoliation a baffling activity for some people. After all, overexfoliation or not matching your exfoliation methods and products to your skin type can damage your skin instead of making it healthier and more radiant.  So how do you find the right exfoliation method? Below, we list down the different skin types and the best exfoliation technique used for each:

For Oily Skin

While oil is viewed negatively by people with oily skin, this naturally occurring substance is actually necessary for keeping the skin well lubricated and moisturized. Attempting to remove oil entirely from your face by exfoliating vigorously can cause drying. What’s more, it can make your skin produce more oil, which can worsen any skin issue you may have.

Avoid overexfoliating and be kinder to your skin by choosing a scrub that has lighter, finer, and less damaging granules like jojoba beads. Alternatively, you can go with a product that contains higher concentrations of chemical exfoliants for a deep scrub. Chemical exfoliants like AHA and BHA penetrate the surface of the skin, dissolving dead skin and promoting skin renewal. These, in turn, purify the pores and balance the skin’s oil production.

Alternatively, you can use physical exfoliants like loofahs, sponges, brushes, pumice stones, fruit pits, coffee grounds, sugar, and clay. Use light pressure when scrubbing or pick the lowest setting of your automatic brush to prevent damaging the skin. Also, make sure to apply moisturizer after exfoliating.

For Dry Skin

When done properly, exfoliating improves the quality of dry skin. Removing dead skin cells can minimize flaking and help keep the skin moisturized. It’s best to use a product with gentle formula in order to avoid stripping the skin of what little moisture it has left.

Select physical exfoliants with fine grains that come in a rich, creamy preparation. To keep dry skin moisturized, try to find products with hydrating additives such as honey, aloe vera and green tea extracts, and moisturizing oils like jojoba and argan. All of these soothe and hydrate the skin, eliminating dullness that easily drains your appearance. After scrubbing, follow up with a heavyweight moisturizer to truly keep dryness at bay.

For Oily to Normal Skin

With the wide variety of different exfoliators available in the market today, it’s no longer a difficult task to adjust your exfoliation methods to suit in-between skin types. For oily to normal skin, it’s best to start with physical exfoliants first in order to remove dirt and excess oil from the surface of the skin. Next, try a light chemical exfoliator, particularly one that contains AHA. This substance gets rid of excess oil and gently exfoliates and clears pores that have been clogged with oil and dead skin cells.

For Sensitive Skin

Some people with sensitive skin tend to avoid exfoliating entirely to minimize the risk of irritating their skin, but this doesn’t always have to be the case. By using the right product and method, it’s quite possible to enjoy the good effects of exfoliation without triggering any skin issue. Find a product that works well for you and use a cleansing brush to maximize its benefits. Use the lowest setting of the brush and hold it lightly against your skin to exfoliate in the gentlest way possible.

For Acne-prone Skin

Just like those with sensitive skin, people with acne-prone skin often worry about irritation when exfoliating. It’s likely that acne-prone skin is already inflamed prior to exfoliation, so introducing physical exfoliants that can worsen the redness and swelling is not a good idea. These include abrasive scrubs like facial brushes, sugar, salt, or harsh grain. Instead, opt to use chemical exfoliators like AHA and BHA. These penetrate the skin deeply, clean the pores, and dissolve oil and other gunk — all without causing further damage. What’s more, these chemical exfoliants can improve the skin’s texture, repair scars, and reduce dullness.

Experts advise that exfoliation should be done once or twice a week depending on the season and your skin type. You may want to exfoliate more often during warm and humid seasons to prevent the build-up of sebum, or if your skin is rough and oily. On the other hand, less exfoliation should be done if you have acne-prone, sensitive, or dry skin, especially during cold season. The key is to know what your skin type is so you can find products and methods that work best for you.