Your skin feels so good after you use a scrub, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, that scrub may not be good for your skin. Remember that apricot scrub that we all loved? Then we found out it was tearing our skin? Yikes! Personally, I love that smooth skin feeling! For both my face and body. So, over the last year, I’ve researched and tried different products hoping to find one that will exfoliate without damaging my skin, and have learned a lot about exfoliation in the process. Let’s dive in!

This page contains affiliate links and I may receive a commission if you click and/or make a purchase.

Why Exfoliation is Important

Exfoliation is an important part of a skincare routine because it removes dead skin cells.

When you remove that layer of dead skin cells, products absorb into the skin better, clogged pores are less likely, and skin tends to look brighter and smoother!

Sounds amazing, right? But, as I mentioned before, some exfoliants are too harsh for your skin. So, how do you know what to use? First, figure out what type of exfoliant is best for you.

Physical vs Chemical Exfoliation

There are 2 types – physical and chemical.

Physical – think a scrub that contains small particles to buff away skin cells or a face brush.

Chemical – think acids like AHA (also known as glycolic acid) and BHA (also known as salicylic acid) that also minimize fine lines and wrinkles. Instead of buffing the cells away, the acid dissolves them. I know acid sounds kinda scary, but I promise it’s not!

So, our old friend apricot scrub was a physical exfoliant. This is why I am so leary of scrubs, now. I’m worried they will all tear my skin! But, not all scrubs are created equal.

However, I tend to prefer chemical exfoliation especially when I had acne. I didn’t want to spread bacteria around my face.

How Often to Exfoliate

 2 times per week is the best practice. You don’t want to over-exfoliate but you want to make sure all your other products are working well.

My Recommendations

For physical exfoliation, I like The Unscrub by Paula’s Choice. It’s made with dissolving beads, so they aren’t rough on your skin, and it has a nice gel texture. It was an Allure Best of Beauty winner in 2019! I like to use this in the shower on my face and neck, especially to prep for a self-tan.

What to Know About Exfoliation | Caitlin Cosmetologist

I love my Clarisonic brush but they are no longer being sold so I’ll have to find a replacement.  The UnScrub can help in the meantime!

For chemical exfoliation, I like Reveal Biomimetic Peel Pads by Ever. I used exfoliating pads for acne-prone skin in the past and really liked them. But, they were discontinued, which was so sad, lol. I’m happy to have found these! Plus, they have azelaic acid in them – which I shared as one of my favorite ingredients for fading acne scars. These pads were an Allure Best of Beauty winner in both 2015 and 2016! I like to use a pad at night after I cleanse.

What to Know About Exfoliation | Caitlin Cosmetologist

As for exfoliating treatments for the body – I don’t have one that I love, yet.  This Polish Lemon Sugar Body Scrub is on my list to try.  Since it’s a sugar scrub I have high hopes that it won’t be too rough and will probably smell really nice, haha.

What to Know About Exfoliation | Caitlin Cosmetologist

Do you currently use an exfoliant in your skincare routine? 

If you’re not, I hope you start! Let me know when you find one that you love!