Exfoliation Evaluation: Dermatologist's Recommendations

Wondering about exfoliation? We have some insight. Learn about exfoliation from a dermatologist's perspective

What the dermatologists think about skin exfoliation

Exfoliation can benefit people of all skin types. It can take normal—but dull—skin, and rejuvenate it by resurfacing for a healthy glow. It can help prevent acne breakouts in oily skin, and it can encourage dry skin to better absorb the hydrating benefits of a moisturizer. Exfoliating can even help reduce breakouts for acne-prone skin types. No skincare regimen is complete without weekly exfoliating, even for those with sensitive skin. But what is the best way to exfoliate the different skin types? What do dermatologists have to say about how often we should be exfoliating, and which methods and products work best for the different skin types?

What are the Best Face Exfoliator Methods for Normal Skin?

According to dermatologists, the majority of people have normal skin. When normal skin is covered with a layer of dead skin cells, it doesn’t reflect and diffuse light as well, allowing a dull appearance. People with normal skin should exfoliate twice per week to promote the healthy turnover of dead skin cells and to expose the brighter, livelier cells beneath.

If you are lucky enough to have normal skin, dermatologists recommend that you be careful not to disrupt your skin’s naturally good balance with harsh products.

Those with normal skin may choose to exfoliate with mechanical scrubs, such as sugar, walnut shell, or any of the best face exfoliators that contain fine granules for gentle scrubbing. Normal-skinned individuals may also choose gentle chemical exfoliators such as products with alpha hydroxy acids, or natural enzyme exfoliators—generally made from fruits—to gently exfoliate the skin.

Best Face Exfoliator Methods for Oily Skin

According to dermatologists, oily-skinned individuals should be especially careful about over-exfoliating. Many people with oily skin believe that extra exfoliation will help to rid the face of excess oil, but too much harsh exfoliation of oily skin can lead to an overproduction of sebum as the skin defends itself. Those with oily skin should only exfoliate two to three times per week using the best face exfoliators made with acids like alpha hydroxy acid, glycolic acid, and salicylic acid.

Also helpful for oily skin are exfoliators made with rice enzymes. Rice enzymes gently exfoliate and the added rice powder helps to mattify shiny, oily skin.

Best Face Exfoliator Methods for Dry Skin

For those with dry skin, dermatologists recommend exfoliating one to three times per week, and always following up with a good moisturizer. Many dermatologists recommend that dry-skinned individuals use physical exfoliators in an emollient base. Oils help to promote the critical skin barrier that seals moisture in and keeps impurities out. Many exfoliators take away dead skin cells and oil build-up, but oil-based exfoliators actually give something back, the oils yours skin needs to lock in hydration. Some good oil-based exfoliators are apricot oil scrubs, tea tree oil based scrubs, and coconut oil scrubs.


Best Face Exfoliator Methods for Sensitive Skin

Many times those with sensitive skin are fearful to try an exfoliator. For this skin type, most dermatologists recommend exfoliating no more than once per week with soothing, skin-calming exfoliants, such as enzyme-based exfoliants made with fruit enzymes. Fruit enzyme exfoliants are not as harsh as physical or chemical exfoliants and are available in skin-nourishing papaya, pineapple, pumpkin, and many different berry blends that are loaded with free-radical fighting antioxidants for an additional anti-aging benefit.

Best Face Exfoliator Methods for Acne-Prone Skin

For those fighting stubborn acne breakouts, many dermatologists recommend exfoliating one to three times per week. The goal is to keep the pores cleared of excess sebum and dead skin cells which contribute to the pore blockage which causes acne, but without over-stripping and over drying pores. Over-stripped pores will produce excess sebum in response as a defense mechanism, worsening acne and oily skin.

For acne-prone skin, dermatologists often recommend physical exfoliators such as apricot scrubs made with finely ground apricot pits, sugar scrubs, jojoba bead scrubs, ground strawberry seed scrubs, or any exfoliating brush or cloth. Exfoliating can be followed by your favorite acne treatment products.

Whatever your skin type, you can choose the best face exfoliator for you, and get on the glow!

Resources—Refinery29, Healthline, Herbivore.com, LookBook

Share this article