Exfoliation Depending on Skin Type: A Detailed Guide

Exfoliation is undoubtedly an important step in any skincare routine. The same is true regardless of your skin type. All skin types highly benefit from exfoliation, however, not all skin types will require the same method. 

Skin exfoliation

The type of exfoliator to use and how often you should do it is dependent on the type of skin you have. To make the most out of the removal of those pesky dead skin cells, here’s a detailed guide on how to exfoliate your skin depending on your skin type.

Types of exfoliants

Before diving into the exfoliation tips, you first need to have a clear understanding of the two main types of exfoliants to know what type of exfoliation is best for you.

Physical exfoliants

Physical exfoliants typically contain some kind of coarse material that physically rubs away dead skin cells. However, not everyone should use physical exfoliants—particularly those with sensitive, thin skin and skin types that are acne- and blemish-prone.

Chemical exfoliants

Chemical exfoliants are acids that weaken the bonds between cells, allowing them to slough off. Chemicals such as fruit enzymes like pineapple or papaya and Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA)  are great options, among many others. This type of exfoliation tends to be less harsh on the skin.

Exfoliation tips depending on skin type

How to exfoliate oily and acne-prone skin

Oily and acne-prone skin can benefit from exfoliation to get rid of extra oil and stop acne from appearing. People with oily skin can usually handle exfoliating 3x each week and this skin type can benefit from either chemical or physical exfoliants. Salicylic acid is a great chemical active that works great against acne and blemishes. 

Moreover, oily skin could benefit from a physical exfoliation like brushing because it can accumulate an additional layer of dead skin cells. Skin experts warn against using more abrasive cleansers or topical treatments like acne medicines that could dry up the skin if you have oily skin.

How to exfoliate dry skin

Avoid over-exfoliating if you have dry skin because it is more sensitive and susceptible to tearing. Skin experts advise those with dry skin to exfoliate no more than once or twice a week, and only 3x if they enjoy the experience.

It's highly recommended to opt for chemical exfoliants containing AHAs such as:

  • Lactic acid
  • Mandelic acid
  • Pyruvic acid
  • Glycolic acid

AHAs improve the skin's capacity to retain moisture, which also aids in smoothing the skin's texture. Use moisturizers with moisture-retaining components like ceramides or hyaluronic acid after exfoliating dry skin. And while people with all skin types should use sunscreen with an SPF of 30, those with dry skin should pay particular attention to it.

How to exfoliate sensitive skin

People with extremely sensitive skin or active acne lesions may want to completely avoid exfoliating in order to prevent further skin irritation. Those with sensitive skin should perform a patch test before exfoliating their entire face. To patch test:

  1. Use the exfoliant sparingly on a less obvious area of your skin.
  2. Check your skin's reaction after 24 hours.
  3. It's obvious that you shouldn't use that exfoliant on your sensitive skin if it starts to burn, itch, or get irritated.

Don't exfoliate more than once or twice a week even if you have sensitive skin that responds well to exfoliation to protect your skin's barrier. Lactic acid is an excellent chemical exfoliator for people with this skin type because it is gentle and less irritating. Additionally, physical exfoliants should be avoided by people with sensitive skin as they may aggravate the condition further.


Exfoliating is a proven method to keep the dead cells away, revealing clearer, brighter, and glowing skin. But more than that, exfoliating properly with sufficient consideration for your skin’s specific needs is key. The detailed guide above should help you learn the curves of exfoliation depending on your skin type to reveal your best skin yet. ♡

Chemical peel

Are you looking forward to more beauty tips and tricks? If you are, don’t forget to join our #AllNaturalGlow campaign by signing up here and by following us on Instagram. Get exclusive access to our blogs, promos, and newsletters. Let’s go get that skin glowing! ♡


Comments 0

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published