The ultimate guide to exfoliate skin: Techniques and benefits

How to exfoliate skin (Image via Getty Images)
How to exfoliate skin (Image via Getty Images)

Maintaining healthy and radiant skin has been so easy since people figured out how to exfoliate skin. By removing dead skin cells and unclogging the pores, exfoliation promotes cell turnover and reveals a fresh, youthful complexion which enhances the health of the skin overall.

Exfoliation is known to be the process of removing dead skin cells from the outermost layer of the skin which can be achieved through physical or chemical methods. Physical exfoliation involves manually scrubbing the skin's surface, while on the other hand, chemical exfoliation utilizes various acids or enzymes to dissolve and remove dead skin cells.

How to exfoliate skin?

How to exfoliate skin (Image via Getty Images)
How to exfoliate skin (Image via Getty Images)

Right before exfoliating, it is essential to prepare the skin to ensure optimal results and minimize any potential irritation.


Start with a gentle cleanser to remove any makeup, dirt, or impurities from the skin as clean skin allows the exfoliant to work more effectively.

Patch Testing

If you are trying a new exfoliation product, it is advisable to perform a patch test on a small area of your skin to check for any adverse reactions or allergies.


Apply a lightweight moisturizer to hydrate and protect your skin as it creates a barrier between the exfoliant and your skin, reducing the risk of irritation.

Guide to exfoliate skin

How to exfoliate skin (Image via Getty Images)
How to exfoliate skin (Image via Getty Images)

Follow the steps for a proper exfoliation process at home:

  1. Start with clean skin: Ensure your face is clean and free of any makeup or dirt.
  2. Apply exfoliant: Take a small amount of your chosen exfoliant and apply it to your damp skin.
  3. Gently massage in circular motions: Using your fingertips or an exfoliating brush, massage the exfoliant into your skin in gentle circular motions. Avoid excessive pressure to prevent irritation.
  4. Rinse thoroughly: Once you have thoroughly massaged your skin, rinse off the exfoliant with lukewarm water.
  5. Follow with hydration and sun protection: After exfoliating, apply a hydrating serum or moisturizer to replenish your skin's moisture. Don't forget to apply sunscreen to protect your newly revealed skin from sun damage.

How often should you exfoliate?

The frequency of exfoliation depends on the skin type and the specific product or method used. As a general guideline, it is recommended to exfoliate 1-2 times a week for normal or dry skin, and 2-3 times a week for oily or acne-prone skin but it is crucial to listen to your skin and adjust the frequency accordingly.

How to exfoliate skin (Image via Getty Images)
How to exfoliate skin (Image via Getty Images)

People with sensitive skin should do it after consulting a dermatologist as exfoliation of sensitive skin can cause potential side effects which will make it worse for the skin to handle.

Techniques of exfoliation

Physical exfoliation techniques

Manual scrubs: Manual scrubs are popular and widely available exfoliation products. They typically contain abrasive particles like sugar, salt, or finely ground nuts that physically slough away dead skin cells when massaged onto the skin, lemon scrubs are quite popular as well. It is important to choose a scrub with gentle particles to avoid micro-tears or irritation.

How to exfoliate skin (Image via Getty Images)
How to exfoliate skin (Image via Getty Images)

Exfoliating brushes: Exfoliating brushes, such as facial brushes or sonic cleansing devices, provide a deeper and more thorough exfoliation. These brushes work by gently buffing away dead skin cells and stimulating blood circulation. They are particularly effective for individuals with oily or acne-prone skin.

Microdermabrasion: Microdermabrasion is a professional exfoliation technique performed in a dermatologist's office or a spa. It involves using a handheld device that sprays fine crystals onto the skin while simultaneously vacuuming them away. Microdermabrasion effectively removes dead skin cells, reduces the appearance of scars and fine lines, and promotes collagen production.

Chemical exfoliation techniques

Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs): AHAs are water-soluble acids commonly derived from fruits or milk. They include glycolic acid (from sugar cane), lactic acid (from milk), and citric acid (from citrus fruits). AHAs work by dissolving the bonds between dead skin cells, allowing them to be easily sloughed off. They are suitable for most skin types and offer benefits such as improved skin texture and increased hydration.

How to exfoliate skin (Image via Getty Images)
How to exfoliate skin (Image via Getty Images)

Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs): BHAs, such as salicylic acid, are oil-soluble acids that penetrate deep into the pores. They are particularly beneficial for individuals with oily or acne-prone skin. BHAs exfoliate the skin from within, reducing sebum production, unclogging pores, and preventing breakouts.

Enzyme Exfoliants: Enzyme exfoliants utilize natural fruit enzymes, such as papain from papaya or bromelain from pineapple, to gently dissolve dead skin cells. They provide a milder form of exfoliation and are suitable for sensitive or reactive skin types.

Edited by Diptanil