Are you exfoliating correctly?



Exfoliation is one of the best ways to rejuvenate the skin when used correctly.

It works to rid of dry, dead skin cells as well as helping to increase blood circulation around the face.

Exfoliates work best when matched with the right skin type.

To achieve a radiant complexion, be cautious of over-exfoliation.  

Dr Emily Newson, a certified dermatologist from the UCLA Medical Centre recommends exfoliating 2-3 times a week for normal, combination or oily skin.

For hypersensitive skin types, exfoliation should occur no more than once a week as the skin tends to dry out more.

It is easy to pick up on signs of over-exfoliation from the following:

  • Sudden shiny skin for non-oily skin types
  • Tightness around cheek and forehead area
  • Sudden sensitivity or redness
  • Patches of dryness/dehydration appearing in new areas
  • Peeling or flaking on forehead, nose and chin.

Signs of under-exfoliation are evident when the complexion has a dull, lacklustre appearance.

The build-up of dead skin cells takes away the natural glow that occurs after the skin has been scrubbed, not to mention it can stimulate the occurrence of random breakouts.

Dr Papri Sakar, certified dermatologist at Brookline Dermatology Associates, states that an exfoliator must match the skin type in order to obtain the best results.

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For dry/dehydrated skin, a moisturising, cream based physical exfoliator works best to buff away dead skin cells while simultaneously rejuvenating moisture into the skin.

This gives off the appearance of soft and hydrated skin.

Whilst this exfoliator is creamy, a layer of hydrating moisturiser should still be applied afterwards to lock the moisture in.

Girl lying down face to the camera surrounded by flower petals. Image from Pexels

For a longer-lasting effect of a dewy, hydrated complexion, a chemical exfoliator can promote skin regeneration for a longer period of time.

Chemical exfoliators have an enzyme or acid based formula which dissolves dead skin cells through skin penetration.

They reach the deepest pores and prevent underlying layers of skin from premature dryness.

For dry/dehydrated skin a Glycolic or Lactic acid based exfoliator will take care of their skin.

Alternate weekly between physical cream-based exfoliators and chemical Glycolic/Lactic acid based exfoliators for the best results.


Normal skin types are able to use any exfoliation scrub.

Making sure to switch their products around every now and then to prevent their skin from getting used to one type of product.

Combination skin types must identify which parts of their face produce dry patches and which parts of their face produce oil.

If the T-zone is oily and the cheeks are dry, a fruit enzyme based exfoliate is more beneficial.

This type of exfoliation scrub will be gentle enough not to further dry out dehydrated cheeks while still targeting oily areas for a fresh, glowing appearance.

Alternatively, use a stronger exfoliator in the T-zone, remembering to leave out cheeks and chin.

It has become popular to use exfoliators with micro-pearls for the feeling of a physical exfoliator that brings moisture into dryer areas of the skin.


For oily skin types, it is harder for the skin to shed of dead skin cells.

Oily skin types are more prone to breakouts for this reason, as the build-up of dead skin cells can clog pores.

According to Dr Robyn Gmyrek, a certified dermatologist from Union Square Laser Dermatology, a chemical exfoliator with a salicylic acid base will work best to unclog pores.

This is a non-abrasive exfoliate, that eliminates dead skin cells and paves the way for new ones to come through.

It leaves the skin with a smoother, even appearance as it has anti-inflammatory properties that reduces redness and soothes irritated skin.

The correct order of product application in your skin regime maximises skin results. Regardless of skin type, exfoliate after cleansing.

Although it is the exfoliators job to rid of dead skin cells, it is easier to reach deeper pores with a face cleansed from dirt, make-up residue and sweat.

Woman about to apply moisturiser from hand. Image from Pexels.

After exfoliation, the use of toner and moisturiser are essential.

A gentle toner after exfoliation will help to balance the Ph. level of the skin whilst helping to close pores and cell gaps that may have been opened when scrubbing.

Finalising the routine with a moisturiser will lock in moisture and leave the skin feeling fresh and hydrated.

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Anisha Rapthi


Anisha's perfect Friday night consists of playing boardgames and sharing a laugh with her nearest and dearest while devouring some Messina ice-cream. She is passionate about learning from empowering women and can usually be found listening to podcasts, watching videos or reading articles, obsessing over whoever the latest ally is. Like most millennials, her favourite way to wind-down is to grab a yummy snack and binge-watch her favourite Netflix series.

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