How Often Should You Exfoliate: A Complete Guide

January 06, 2023

Woman using chemical exfoliator in Malaysia

Exfoliation is an essential step in skincare routines for a radiant, smooth complexion. A facial scrub or an acid peel removes dead skin cells and debris from your skin's surface, revealing healthier, brighter-looking skin and nothing beats that baby-soft, smooth texture, which may tempt you to exfoliate even more.

However, over-exfoliation can harm your skin. Exfoliating your skin too much can strip it of its natural oils, affecting your skin barrier and moisture levels. This may cause dryness and inflammation. Not to mention, some may even experience acne breakouts because of the compromised protective barrier.

So, how frequently should you exfoliate your face to avoid over-exfoliation? To help you answer this question and understand this essential skincare better, we've put together this guide in which we'll explain how often each skin type should exfoliate, the different exfoliating methods, and what you must do after exfoliating.

How Often Should Each Skin Type Exfoliate?

Exfoliating your skin consistently and regularly is important because dead skin can become trapped on the surface and cause clogged pores, dullness, rough skin texture, and breakouts. However, exfoliation frequency can vary depending on your skin type.

Here is how often each skin type should exfoliate:

Normal/Combination Skin

For normal or combination skin, it is best to exfoliate twice or thrice per week to keep dead skin cells at bay without risking over-exfoliation.

Dry/Sensitive Skin

If you have dry or sensitive skin, exfoliating once or twice a week should do the trick. Avoid abusing physical exfoliants, like pressing and rubbing the scrubs or loofahs too hard on your skin. These can irritate your skin further and cause additional dryness or sensitivity. Additionally, if you use chemical exfoliants like retinoids, which can also cause dryness and irritation, you might only want to exfoliate once a week or even every other week.

Oily/Acne-Prone Skin

This skin type requires more frequent exfoliation- at least twice or three times a week- to get rid of the extra sebum and dirt that has built up on the skin's surface. This will lessen the likelihood of clogged pores and acne outbreaks.

What Are The Exfoliation Methods Available?

There are primarily two methods of exfoliation - physical and chemical exfoliation.

Physical Exfoliation

Physical exfoliation uses exfoliants like small grains or loofahs to remove dead skin from your face. You gently scrub your face with small, textured particles to get rid of dirt and debris from the surface of your skin in physical exfoliation. However, some physical exfoliants may irritate your skin, so choosing your physical exfoliators wisely is important.

Check the ingredient list to ensure that none of the exfoliating agents is too large, as large particles like nut shells, salt and fruit pits in scrubs lead to abrasions and microtears on your skin. Face scrubs with components like bamboo powder or jojoba beads, on the other hand, are soft enough for even the most delicate skin. Choose products with super-fine or powdered scrub particles, and apply them to your skin in gentle, circular strokes to reduce irritation.

Chemical Exfoliation

Chemical exfoliation is when you use gentle acids or enzymes to dissolve and loosen the skin cells instead of physically scrubbing your skin. Chemical exfoliants mainly contain skin-exfoliating chemicals such as alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta hydroxy acids (BHAs).

AHAs and BHAs have long dominated the realm of chemical exfoliants. They are capable of whisking away dirt, dead skin cells, and other impurities from the skin to expose healthier-looking skin.

AHAs such as mandelic acid, glycolic acid and lactic acid are water-soluble exfoliants. They work best at exfoliating the top layer of skin, which makes them ideal for minimising the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. On the other hand, BHAs like salicylic acid are oil-soluble. They can penetrate deeper into your skin to eliminate deeply ingrained impurities, making them ideal for oily skin and clogged pores.

After-Care: What Should You Do After Exfoliating?

Woman applying sun screen after skin exfoliation

After exfoliating, there are two steps you should never miss in your skincare regimen for healthy-looking skin - moisturising and sun protection.

Moisturise after exfoliate

When you exfoliate, your skin's natural oils are mostly removed. Without adequate moisturisation, your skin becomes dry and prone to irritation and inflammation over time. And, there are high chances you may experience increased skin sensitivity, breakouts and redness since the protective layer on your skin is compromised.

To avoid these issues, apply hydrating agents like aloe vera gel or moisturising cream after exfoliation to restore your skin's moisture levels.

Protection from the sun

When the top layer of your skin is removed during exfoliation, your protective barrier becomes compromised. This can cause your skin to become photosensitive and more susceptible to damage from the sun's UV rays. To save your skin from the harmful effects of exposure to sunlight, apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher, especially after exfoliation.

Are you looking for chemical exfoliators in Malaysia? Shop at allyoung today!

If you're looking for effective and safe chemical exfoliators in Malaysia to help you achieve beautiful and healthy skin, visit allyoung today. With so many options available - from mandelic acid serums to acne solutions - you can easily find the perfect skincare product for your needs at allyoung!