The Do’s and Don’ts of Exfoliating Your Skin

Exfoliating can be the key to radiant, smooth skin, but it’s like Goldilocks’ porridge – the amount has to be just right. Too little and your skin might not reap the benefits; too much, and you risk irritation. Let’s break down the do’s and don’ts of exfoliation to help you achieve that flawless balance.


Understand Your Skin Type

Knowing your skin type is the cornerstone of any effective skincare routine. If you have oily skin, you might be able to handle more frequent or vigorous exfoliation. Dry or sensitive skin? Opt for gentle exfoliants and less frequent sessions.

Choose the Right Exfoliant

There are two main types of exfoliants: physical (scrubs, brushes) and chemical (AHAs, BHAs). Physical exfoliants work well for resistant skin types, while chemical exfoliants are better for sensitive skin as they’re less abrasive.

Our Picks:

SkinCeuticals Micro-Exfoliating Scrub ($35, shop here)

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Exfoliating Cleanser ($9.99, shop here)

Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant ($35, shop here)

Be Gentle

Your skin is delicate, so treat it kindly. Avoid harsh scrubbing, which can cause micro-tears in the skin. Instead, gently massage the exfoliant in circular motions.

Moisturize After Exfoliating

Exfoliation can leave your skin vulnerable to dryness. Replenish moisture after exfoliating with a hydrating lotion or cream to protect the skin barrier.

Keep It Regular

Consistency is key. Regular, gentle exfoliation can help maintain the skin’s health and appearance.

Listen to Your Skin

Your skin will tell you if it’s unhappy. If you notice redness, burning, or discomfort, take a break from exfoliating and consult a dermatologist.



Over-exfoliation can strip the skin of its natural oils, leading to dryness, irritation, or even breakouts. As a general rule, exfoliating 2-3 times a week is sufficient for most skin types.

Use Expired Products

Just like food, skincare products have a shelf life. Using expired exfoliants can cause skin irritation and infections. Always check the expiration date before using.

Forget Sun Protection

Exfoliating can make your skin more susceptible to sun damage. Apply a broad-spectrum SPF to guard against harmful UV rays, even on cloudy days.

Neglect Patch Testing

Before introducing a new exfoliant to your routine, do a patch test to see how your skin reacts. Apply a small amount behind the ear or on the inner arm and wait 24 hours for any adverse reactions.

Exfoliate Inflamed or Broken Skin

Exfoliating already irritated skin can worsen conditions like acne or eczema. Wait until your skin has healed before resuming exfoliation.

Mix Too Many Active Ingredients

Using multiple products with active ingredients can lead to over-exfoliation. Stick to one exfoliating agent at a time to prevent skin overload.

Final Thoughts

Exfoliating is a fantastic way to rejuvenate your skin, but it must be done correctly. By following these do’s and don’ts, you can ensure your exfoliation process is safe and effective, leaving you with nothing but glowing, happy skin. Remember, your skin is unique, so what works for others may not work for you. Stay in tune with your skin’s needs and adjust your routine as necessary, always prioritizing health and comfort.

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