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How to Exfoliate Your Skin Correctly?


Exfoliation is a tricky subject. But do you know that regular exfoliation can lead to a glowing complexion if you get it right? Yes, you heard it right! When dead skin cells build up on the outer layers of your skin, it can cause your skin to look dull, dry, flakey, and even clog pores. And regular exfoliation can prevent this from happening.

When exfoliating, it's essential to do so safely to avoid damaging your skin or causing acne breakouts. Choosing an exfoliation method based on skin type is crucial since not every way works for everyone.

Let's look at the correct way of exfoliating your skin and the different methods.

Did you know? Dead skin cells make up your skin's first 18 to 23 layers. When these dead skin cells don't sloop off as they should, you can be left with dull, dry skin symptoms. 

What is exfoliating skin?

What is exfoliating skin?

Exfoliating has been used for centuries, dating back to the ancient Romans. Exfoliating skin is the process of removing dead skin cells from the skin's surface. Well, not just dead skin cells; it also helps in reducing skin pigmentation and skin discoloration.

This can be done using various methods, including scrubs, chemical peels, and exfoliating cleansers. When moisturizer is applied, you expose a fresh layer of skin that is ready to retain hydration.

According to research, naturally, our body sheds these dead skin cells, but the rate at which that happens slows down over time. Hence exfoliation and exfoliators are a sword to shed those skin cells fast to give you radiant, glowing skin.

There are many benefits of exfoliating your skin.

  • Exfoliating helps improve the skin's appearance by revealing the healthy, new cells underneath. 
  • It can also help improve skincare products' absorption and effectiveness of other treatments, such as facials. 
  • Help to stimulate blood circulation and promote new cell growth.
  •  Help to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. 

What are different methods of skin exfoliation?

How to exfoliate your skin or how to use an body exfoliate scrub? The internet is bombarded with this question. Well, there are various ways you can apply to exfoliate your skin. Mechanical exfoliation involves using a physical tool or device to scrub away dead skin cells, while chemical exfoliation uses chemicals or enzymes to dissolve the bonds between dead skin cells.

Both methods can be pretty effective at sloughing away dead skin and revealing the brighter, smoother skin beneath. 

Mechanical Exfoliants

Exfoliating washcloth/ loofah:

Exfoliating washcloth/ loofah to  Exfoliate Your Skin Correctly

This is a gentler way to exfoliate your skin. Wet the washcloth or loofah and add some soap. Rub the washcloth or loofah over your skin in a circular motion.

Exfoliating gloves are another great way to slog off dead skin cells. Simply massage the product onto your skin in a circular motion and rinse well. 

Exfoliating scrub:

Exfoliating scrub to  Exfoliate Your Skin Correctly

You can also use a sugar or salt scrub. Wet your skin and apply the scrub. Rub the scrub over your skin in a circular motion.

Exfoliating brush:

Dry brushing is a popular method of exfoliation as it is gentle and effective. Use a soft, dry brush on your skin in a circular motion to dry the brush. Be sure to avoid any broken skin or open wounds. 

Dr. Jaishree Sharad recommends, "It is best to start slowly and be gentle when you are new to mechanical exfoliation. To avoid irritating the skin, scrub in circular motions and avoid scrubbing too hard."

Chemical Exfoliants

There are several ways to exfoliate your skin chemically. The most common method is to use an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) or beta hydroxy acid (BHA) product. These acids work by dissolving the bonds that hold dead skin cells together, allowing them to be sloughed away. AHAs are typically used for general skin brightening and smoothing, while BHAs are better for acne-prone skin as they are oil-soluble and can penetrate deep into pores. Other exfoliating acids include glycolic acid, lactic acid, and salicylic acid. Chemical exfoliation can be done at home using over-the-counter products or at a dermatologist or esthetician's office via professional peels.

How to exfoliate skin correctly?

Ideally, the best time to exfoliate your skin is at night to avoid exposure to the sun on freshly exfoliated skin.

Let's look at the process of exfoliation.

  1. The first rule of exfoliation is to clean your skin thoroughly before exfoliating to get the best results.
  2. Be sure to use a gentle exfoliating agent. Something with tiny beads or granules will work best. You don't want to damage or irritate your skin by using something too harsh. 
  3. Use a light touch when exfoliating. You don't want to scrub your skin too hard, damaging it. 
  4. Make sure to exfoliate all over your face, not just in one spot.
  5. Rinse your face well after exfoliating to remove all the dead skin cells. 
  6. Follow up with a moisturizer to hydrate your skin.

Exfoliate the right way. Look at what’s in store for you!

 "No matter how you exfoliate your skin, it's important not to disrupt the skin barrier," says Dr. Nivedita Dadu. Watch the insightful video here on how to exfoliate your skin.

How to exfoliate according to your skin type

Exfoliation for Oily Skin

Exfoliation for Oily Skin

For oily skin, chemical exfoliation works the best. It reaches deep into the pores and removes more built-up oil and debris. Look for exfoliants that contain salicylic acid, glycolic acid, or both. Start with a lower acid concentration and increase the strength as your skin becomes more tolerant. Apply the exfoliant to damp skin and massage it for 1-2 minutes before rinsing it off. Use this type of exfoliation 1-2 times per week for best results.

Exfoliation for Dry skin

Exfoliation for Dry skin

Entirely refrain from using physical exfoliators on dry skin. Dry skin is flaky and physical exfoliators can lead to redness and irritation. 

Instead, opt for a mild exfoliating serum or cleanser and immediately follow with your preferred moisturizer. You can also use chemical exfoliants such as AHA and PHA to improve skin texture.

Exfoliating for Sensitive skin

Exfoliating for Sensitive skin

You must be careful when choosing an exfoliating product if you have sensitive skin. You want to avoid anything too harsh or abrasive, irritating your skin. Instead, look for a product that contains gentle ingredients like enzymes or lactic acid. You can also try using a soft washcloth or loofah to exfoliate your skin. Be sure to use gentle, circular motions and avoid scrubbing too hard.

Exfoliating for Combination skin

Exfoliating for Combination skin

A few different types of exfoliation can be beneficial for those with combination skin. Gentle physical exfoliation can help slough away dead skin cells, while a chemical exfoliation can help deep clean and unclog pores. A hydrating mask can also be beneficial for combination skin, as it can help to restore moisture and balance oil production.

Exfoliating for Normal Skin

Exfoliating for Normal Skin

There are many different types of exfoliants on the market, but not all are appropriate for normal skin. A good exfoliant for normal skin should be gentle and non-abrasive so as not to damage the skin. Some popular exfoliants for normal skin include gentle scrubs, cleansing pads, and enzyme-based exfoliants.

A quick framework on exfoliation routine for different skin types

Skin type 




Three times a week   

Physical or Chemical exfoliation


Once a week    

Chemical exfoliation


Once a week   

Chemical exfoliation


Two-Three times a week

Chemical, physical exfoliation, or a combination of both


Two-Three times a week  

Physical or Chemical exfoliation

The Bottom Line

Exfoliation is a critical part of a facial routine and can be just as crucial for your body. Exfoliation is one of the best ways to clear pores, removing dirt and dead skin cells. The result is healthier and smoother skin. But exfoliating your skin incorrectly can result in skin irritation, so it is essential to exfoliate the right way. We hope this blog post has helped you understand skin exfoliation and how it can benefit you.

How to Exfoliate Your Skin Correctly

While you look for products to exfoliate your skin, let's look at what's in store for you with Innovist.

Happy exfoliating.

FAQS on how to exfoliate your skin

How often should I exfoliate my face?

Exfoliation depends upon the different skin types. Avoiding exfoliating your skin more than once or twice a week is recommended.

Dr. Jaishree Sharad says those with oily skin can exfoliate twice a week. For normal skin, the requirement is just once a week. People with dry skin can exfoliate once in two weeks, while those with sensitive skin need to opt for gentle exfoliation once a month.

How to use an exfoliating scrub?

Use a pea-sized amount of face scrub on the moist skin, avoiding the area near your eyes. Wet your fingertips and gently massage in a circular motion for a few minutes. Also, make it a point not to apply much pressure as your skin might cause post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Wash it off with lukewarm water.

Follow with a good toner to tighten the open pores and moisture to maintain hydration.

What do I do after I exfoliate?

After exfoliating your skin, moisturizing is essential to help keep your skin hydrated. You can use a lotion or cream, or even a natural oil like coconut oil. Gently massage the moisturizer into your skin in a circular motion. Be sure to avoid any areas that are irritated or wounded. Choose a moisturizer suitable for your skin type and apply it liberally to your face and neck. 

What not to do after exfoliating?

After exfoliating, don't wash it off immediately - the active ingredients must absorb into your skin before they can work. Apply your exfoliant for 15-20 minutes to ensure the elements dissolve and remove all dead skin cells for best results. Secondly, You should also avoid exposure to the sun and wind for at least 24 hours after exfoliating, as your skin will be more susceptible to burning and irritation and can lead to early signs of aging.

What Precautions Should Be Followed When Exfoliating?

The first thing to keep in mind while exfoliating is to be gentle. Avoid any harsh scrubbing that could damage the skin. Second, make sure to use a moisturizer afterward to help soothe the skin. Lastly, don’t forget to apply sunscreen if you’ll be spending time outside – exfoliation can make the skin more sensitive to the sun.

Why do I get pimples after exfoliation?

There can be many reasons why you get pimples after exfoliating.
1- You may be over-scrubbing your skin, which can irritate it and lead to breakouts.
2- You might be using a product that's too harsh for your skin, which can also cause irritation and breakouts.
3- It's also possible that you have sensitive skin, which can react to even gentle exfoliation by becoming inflamed and developing pimples.

If you think any of these might be the case, try backing off on the exfoliation for a while and see if your skin improves.

When should you skip or stop exfoliating?

If you have any open wounds, sores, or cuts, it’s best to avoid exfoliating the area as it can further irritate and damage the skin. If you notice any tingling, redness, or peeling, it's best to take a break from exfoliating. In addition, if you have any skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis, it’s important to speak with a dermatologist before exfoliating as you may make the condition worse.


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