How to exfoliate based on your skin type

If you’ve read my previous post about the important skincare step you’re probably skipping, you’ll know that exfoliation plays a big part in keeping your skin healthy as well as reducing your chances of breaking out. But too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. Over exfoliating can wreck havoc with your skin making it raw and sensitive. The key is knowing how often you need to exfoliate and finding the right exfoliator for your skin type.


Once you’ve picked the right exfoliator, exfoliate, preferably at night when you have more time for your skincare routine and for your skin to absorb the benefits of your skincare products.

If you’re exfoliating with chemicals like Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) and Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHAs), don’t forget the sunscreen! Exfoliating leaves your skin sensitive to the sun so always slather on the SPF before leaving the house to prevent any spots and pigmentation.

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If you have dry skin
Dry skin, which often looks dull and flaky due to the accumulation of dead skin on the surface, will benefit from gentle, yet frequent exfoliation that won’t dry it out further. Avoid physical scrubs and opt for chemical exfoliators like glycolic and lactic acid (AHAs) and salicylic acid (BHA) instead.

The Mario Badescu Glycolic Acid Toner is gentle enough to be used every day and will take care of clogged pores, white bumps or milia and dead skin. However, if your  skin feels tight or stretched or looks red, cut back to using it every other day. Always make sure to follow up with a suitable moisturiser and sunscreen the next morning.

exfoliating devices, Clarisonic Mia Fit, exfoliating brush

If you have oily skin
Resist the urge to exfoliate everyday in a bid to reduce oiliness. Stripping your skin of its natural oils will only cause it to produce more oil, making matters worse. Instead, use a manual exfoliator like the Clarisonic Mia Fit. Powered by sonic frequency, the tiny bristles deep cleanse pores to remove build up that causes them to look enlarged as well as gently sloughs off dead skin so your skincare is better absorbed. Use on Delicate (sixty second gentle cleanse) two to three times a week to thoroughly cleanse and remove impurities or on Power (eighty second power cleanse) once a week to remove build up of dead skin and makeup.

exfoliators for normal skin

If you have normal skin
Even if you have relatively trouble-free skin, it would still benefit from regular exfoliation. Adding an extra step of exfoliation to your beauty routine at least once a week will help skin cell turn over, maintain an even skin tone and a radiant complexion. Pick a gentle physical exfoliator like The Body Shop’s Aloe Gentle Exfoliator and using your fingertips and barely-there pressure, gently massage the creamy facial scrub in small circles to exfoliate and polish the skin. Remember, if you need to, exfoliate longer, but never harder. You don’t want to damage the skin.

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If you have ageing skin
The rate at which skin renews itself slows as you grow older. This means ageing skin needs a nudge in the right direction when it comes getting rid of dead skin cells and renewing itself. Philosophy’s The Microdelivery Anti-Aging Peel is ideal for this skin type. It uses a potent mixture of glycolic, lactic and salicylic acids to exfoliate, decongest pores and minimise marks, while the overnight hydrating gel replenishes essential nourishment and moisture that ageing skin lacks. Speed up skin cell turnover by using it two to three times a week.

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If you have sensitive skin
Depending on just how sensitive your skin is, you could try an exfoliating enzyme mask like the Aurelia Refine and Polish Miracle Balm once a week. The fruit enzymes take no more than five minutes to get to work and break down dead skin cells. It is normal to feel some warmth (this is the mask working), but if your face starts to burn, wash it off immediately. If you feel your skin can tolerate it, you can exfoliate up to two times a week.

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If you have combination skin
When it comes to combination skin, you need an exfoliator that will work for both the oily parts and the dry patches. The Botani Exfoliating 2 in 1 Scrub & Mask is packed with natural Jojoba beads, oatmeal and Australian Quandong to slough off dead skin, deep cleanse pores and smooth skin texture while balancing oily parts and hydrating the dry areas. It’s gentle enough to be used every day, but start with three times a week and take it from there.

Ultimately, pay attention to your skin. No matter what your skin type, if it feels tight or starts to look red and sore, stop exfoliating completely and give your skin a break. When you do start again, start slow and only do as much as your skin can tolerate.

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