How To Remove Dead Skin Naturally?

Your skin is the largest organ of the body - and it also needs a fresh start once a while.

Medically reviewed by Dr. CP Thajudheen, MD Dr. CP Thajudheen Dr. CP ThajudheenMD facebook_icontwitter_iconyoutube_iconinsta_icon
Written by , MS (Biotechnology) Kushneet Kukreja MS (Biotechnology) linkedin_icon Experience: 2 years
Edited by , MA (English Literature) Ramona Sinha MA (English Literature) linkedin_icon Experience: 11 years
Fact-checked by , MA (Journalism & Mass Communication) Monomita Chakraborty MA (Journalism & Mass Communication) linkedin_icon Experience: 4 years
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It is necessary to remove dead skin regularly through exfoliation, irrespective of your skin type. This process helps you keep your skin soft and unclog the pores, reducing the risk of whiteheads, blackheads, and acne. It also helps reduce blemishes, discoloration, and skin pigmentation by bringing new skin cells to the surface. The best part is you need not go to a parlor to get this done. Instead, you can easily do it from the comfort of your home. But how to remove dead skin from the face?

As many believe, including the cleansing, toning, and moisturizing (CTM) routine in your skincare regimen is enough to make your skin flawless. However, exfoliation adds more value and helps in skin rejuvenation. Moreover, you need to exfoliate not just your face but the entire body. In this article, we will discuss the 10 natural recipes to exfoliate your skin naturally at home. So, let us get started. Scroll down for more information.

Why Exfoliate?

To understand this, you need to know why exfoliation is essential for a healthy looking skin.

Human skin is constantly regenerating itself. Old cells on the top layer of the skin die and are replaced by new cells that form in the lower layer or the dermis, the basal layer of the epidermis. As we age, however, our skin’s natural regenerative powers deteriorate. Exfoliation is the process by which we can help our skin’s regeneration process by removing dead skin cells and making way for new ones. Dr. Nadir Qazi, a board-certified cosmetic physician, says, “Exfoliating removes excessive dead skin cells while softening and rejuvenating the skin and encouraging collagen production. Skin health is all about balance and paying attention to its changes.”

However, he also warns about over-exfoliation. He adds, “Over-exfoliation can cause this barrier to deplete and allow the new skin to become exposed. This can lead to chafing and raw, reddened, dry skin. However, when the dead skin cells are not removed, they can clog pores leading to acne, blackheads, and even ingrown hairs.”

In the exfoliation process, we use products that help remove the old skin and reveal the new skin underneath. There are, primarily, two ways by which we can exfoliate our skin – physical and chemical exfoliation. Physical exfoliation involves the use of body scrub, whereas chemical exfoliation or chemical peels use products that contain enzymes which can help dislodge the dead cells from the skin by their chemical action. Other skin treatments involving the removal of the upper skin layer are dermabrasion and microdermabrasion.

No matter which process of exfoliation you opt for, it will leave your skin refreshed and rejuvenated. Here are some exfoliation remedies that you can make at home and slough off that unwanted dead skin. You no longer have to make a trip to a spa for a fresh looking, happy skin.

How To Exfoliate Dead Skin At Home

  1. Brown Sugar
  2. Baking Soda
  3. Sugar And Honey
  4. Epsom Salt
  5. Apple Cider Vinegar
  6. Toothbrush
  7. Coffee Grounds
  8. Olive Oil
  9. Pumice Stone
  10. Oatmeal

How To Remove Dead Skin From The Face And Body

1. Brown Sugar

Brown sugar to remove dead skin
Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need

  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon almond oil OR coconut oil

What You Have To Do

  1. Mix the oil with sugar.
  2. Apply this face scrub to the skin, in circular motions, for a few minutes.
  3. Leave it on for another five minutes before rinsing it off with lukewarm water.

Increase the quantities of the ingredients to use this on your body.

How Often You Should Do This

Repeat this once or twice a week.

Why This Works

Raw sugar works best to exfoliate the dead skin on the face and the body, as its texture is coarser and it can remove the dead skin cells with the friction it generates when scrubbed on the skin. Sugar scrubs are gentler on the skin, and are less drying and abrasive (1).

protip_icon Quick Tip
Ensure you ground your brown sugar to a powder and mix it with your scrub as it is gentler on the skin.

2. Baking Soda

Baking soda to remove dead skin
Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need

  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 vitamin E capsule
  • Water

What You Have To Do

  1. Prick open the vitamin E capsule and add the oil present inside to the baking soda.
  2. Add a few drops of water to this and mix everything to get a paste with medium consistency.
  3. Apply this on a damp face and scrub in circular motions for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Rinse it off with water.

How Often You Should Do This

Do this once every week.

Why This Works

The fine baking soda granules can easily remove the dead skin cells from your facial skin. Its alkalinity will help to dislodge the skin cells so that they can be easily shed off. Baking soda may also help you achieve an even skin tone as it removes dead skin cells and keeps your pores clean.

3. Sugar And Honey

Sugar and honey scrub to remove dead skin
Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need

  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon raw honey

What You Have To Do

  1. Mix the honey and sugar.
  2. Scrub your skin with this for a few minutes and then rinse it off.

How Often You Should Do This

Use this simple scrub 1-2 times a week.

Why This Works

Both brown and white forms of sugar can help to exfoliate the skin. The honey in this mixture will help moisturize your skin and reverse the oxidative damage (2). Use this remedy to exfoliate dead skin cells on the arms and even other parts of the body.

Ona Lefenyo, a natural hair and lifestyle vlogger, shared her experience of using a honey and sugar scrub for her bumpy skin. She said, “Listen, I am not overreacting or anything, but my face is so smooth (i)!” She further added that her skin felt soft and breathable and all the little bumps were gone.

4. Epsom Salt

Epsom salt to remove dead skin
Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need

  • 1 cup Epsom salt
  • 1 cup coconut oil
  • 10-12 drops lavender oil (optional)

What You Have To Do

  1. Combine the salt with the coconut oil and essential oil.
  2. Transfer this to an air-tight glass container.
  3. Use as much scrub as required for your entire body. Scrub gently for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Wash everything off using tepid water.

How Often You Should Do This

Use this scrub once a week to exfoliate the dead skin on the body.

Why This Works

The salt granules remove the dead skin when scrubbed gently on the skin. Epsom salt is considered a wonderful detoxifying and pH-balancing agent. It may also exfoliate and restore damaged skin.

5. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar to remove dead skin
Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need

  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • Cotton ball

What You Have To Do

  1. Dilute the ACV with water and use the cotton ball to apply this on the face.
  2. Leave it on for 10-15 minutes and then rinse it off using cool water.

To exfoliate dead skin on your feet, add half a cup of ACV to a tub filled with some water and soak your feet in this for 10-12 minutes.

How Often You Should Do This

Repeat this once a week.

Why This Works

Vinegar may maintain the pH balance of skin and prevent it from becoming too dry or oily (3). It also has antibacterial and antifungal properties that keep the skin infection-free. Diluted ACV may also be used to exfoliate dead skin on the scalp.


Do not use this remedy if you have sensitive skin as the vinegar can sting.

6. Toothbrush

Toothbrush to remove dead skin from lips
Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need

  • Lip balm
  • Toothbrush

What You Have To Do

  1. Apply a hydrating lip balm on your lips and let it sit for 15-20 minutes.
  2. Now, take a toothbrush and gently rub it in circular motions on your lips.
  3. Rinse off the dead, flaky skin with plain water.

How Often You Should Do This

Use this remedy twice a week.

Why This Works

This is one of the easiest remedies to exfoliate the lips. The lip balm softens the dead skin present on the lips’ surface. The bristles of the toothbrush can help dislodge this and give you smooth and plump lips.

7. Coffee Grounds

Coffee grounds to remove dead skin
Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need

  • 2-3 tablespoons coffee grounds
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil OR coconut oil
  • Water

What You Have To Do

  1. Add the oil to the coffee grounds and mix them.
  2. Add some water to get a thick, grainy paste.
  3. Scrub the skin with this using gentle, circular motions. Alternate the circular movement with upward (towards the top of your head) movements.
  4. Keep scrubbing for 3-4 minutes.
  5. Wash off the scrub with water.

How Often You Should Do This

Do this coffee ground exfoliation once every week.

Why This Works

Exfoliate the dead skin on your legs with this and see them shine with hydration. This scrub can also be used on the face but very gentle scrubbing movements should be used. Like the other scrubs, the coarseness of the coffee grounds removes dead skin cells. Coffee contains caffeine which awakens the skin by improving circulation. Use this scrub on your thighs, buttocks, and tummy to get rid of cellulite too. Caffeine prevents the accumulation of fat beneath the skin – a wonderful additional benefit (4)!

8. Olive Oil

Olive oil scrub to remove dead skin
Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need

  • 2-3 olive pits
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

What You Have To Do

  1. Grind the olive pits and add olive oil to them.
  2. Scrub your skin using this.
  3. Rinse the excess oil off with a mild cleanser.

How Often You Should Do This

Repeat this once every 4-5 days.

Why This Works

While the ground pits exfoliate your skin, olive oil will nourish with a wonderful combination of fatty acids and essential nutrients (5).

9. Pumice Stone

Pumice stone to remove dead skin
Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need

  • Water
  • A tub
  • Pumice stone

What You Have To Do

  1. Soak your feet in water for 10 minutes.
  2. Gently scrub off the dead skin cells present under the foot.
  3. Wash all the debris off with water.
  4. Wipe your feet dry and apply a moisturizer.

How Often You Should Do This

Repeat this as and when required.

Why This Works

To remove dead skin from the skin, that pumice stone lying in your bathroom is all you need. Once the dead skin has softened because of soaking in the water, it can be easily scrubbed off.

10. Oatmeal

Oatmeal to remove dead skin
Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need

  • 2 teaspoons ground oatmeal
  • Water

What You Have To Do

  1. Make a paste and apply on the face.
  2. Gently rub in circular motions for a few minutes and then rinse your face.

This can be used on the rest of the body as well.

How Often You Should Do This

Repeat this once or twice a week.

Why This Works

Oatmeal is an excellent choice for a homemade exfoliator, especially for the face. It softens the dead skin so that it can be gotten rid of easily. It also moisturizes the skin and reduces any inflammations that may be present (6). Use this to exfoliate the skin before shaving to make the process smoother and faster.

The last step to follow after exfoliating your skin is to moisturize the skin. Follow all the remedies mentioned above with a moisturizer matching your skin type. This will ensure adequate skin hydration.

If the above remedies fail, you can opt for chemical exfoliants for effective removal of dead skin cells. Find out more in the next section.

Chemical Exfoliants For Removing Dead Skin

Glycolic acid and salicylic acid can help remove dead skin cells. Incorporating them into your skin care routine can also help you unclog your pores and improve your overall skin tone and texture. You can buy weaker formulas as over-the-counter products, while stronger formulas are used by dermatologists in chemical peels. These acids break the bonds holding the skin cells together, which shed eventually to reveal regenerated skin (7). Hence, seek professional advice to understand which option is suitable for you.

Some tips to keep in mind during exfoliation

Tips To Remember

  • Always be gentle on your skin, taking care not to strip your skin of the natural oils and lipids, as it may otherwise cause skin aging.
  • Always choose gentle scrubs and skin exfoliating tools.
  • Fix a proper skin care routine.
  • Do not exfoliate daily.
  • The frequency of exfoliation should be determined by your skin type and needs.
  • Dry skin and mature skin should be exfoliated not more than twice a week and products such as creams or serums that are used should be moisturizing. An oil-based scrub would be the best.
  • Oily skin and combination skin can be exfoliated thrice a week, but no more than that.
  • Normal skin can be exfoliated twice a week or as necessary.
  • When exfoliating, use gentle hands or skin brushes in circular and/or upward motions which work best. Such movements will keep your skin firm in the long run.
protip_icon Quick Tip
You can use a cream-based moisturizer to hydrate dry skin, and a gel or oil-free moisturizer to nourish oily or combination skin after exfoliation and applying masks.

Infographic: 5 Simple Ways To Remove Dead Skin

While CTM (cleansing, toning, and moisturizing) is essential to your skincare routine, exfoliation also plays a vital role in maintaining that glow. The good news is that a few simple ingredients from your pantry can help you achieve that dream. Check out the infographic below for quick DIYs that will instantly make you and your skin happy.

5 simple ways to remove dead skin (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Exfoliation is the extra step you must add to your cleansing, toning, and moisturizing routine. Exfoliating your skin unclogs your pores, gets rid of excess dead skin, and allows new skin to grow properly. If you are not comfortable with chemical peels or physical exfoliation, you can opt for natural ingredients available in your pantry to remove dead skin. Brown sugar, olive oil, and baking soda removes dead cells, improves circulation, and gives you soft and smooth skin. Remember to be gentle and fix the frequency of exfoliation according to your skin type.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is removing dead skin painful?

Dr. Qazi says, “Removing dead skin cells shouldn’t be painful. If it is painful, the chances are that you are using the wrong exfoliant. An abrasive exfoliator should be avoided as they can not only be painful to use but can lead to microtears in the skin. The concentrations of the exfoliants can also be controlled to remove dead skin without pain.”

Does washing your face remove dead skin?

According to Dr. Qazi, “Washing the face can remove some already loosened dead skin cells. You will get better results by using a chemical exfoliant in combination with a gentle cleanser. In contrast, a face wash with stronger cleansing agents and surfactants may irritate and damage the skin.”

Why does my face have so much dead skin?

Skin dryness and a lack of regular exfoliation routine can lead to a buildup of dead skin on the face.

What does dead skin look like?

Dead skin looks flaky, tough, and dry on the surface of the skin.

What causes dead skin?

It is natural for skin cells to die out and new ones to replace old and dead skin. However, a lack of moisture in skin cells can speed up or aggravate the process of skin cell death, leading to dead skin buildup.

Key Takeaways

  • Exfoliation removes dead skin and regenerates new ones.
  • Exfoliate lips by gently rubbing a hydrating lip balm with a toothbrush.
  • Exfoliate with a mixture of sugar and honey to keep your skin moisturized.
  • Oatmeal is a great homemade exfoliate, especially for the face.
remove dead skin

Image: Stable Diffusion/StyleCraze Design Team

Are you looking for a simple and effective way to remove dead skin cells from your body? This informative video provides step-by-step instructions and tips for achieving smooth, glowing skin. Check it out!

Personal Experience: Source


Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

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Dr. CP Thajudheen has over 20 years of experience in various lasers, light-based devices, and other advanced equipment. He was one of the beginners who introduced cutaneous lasers in India. He carries out dermato surgeries regularly, including hair grafting and vitiligo surgeries.

Read full bio of Dr. CP Thajudheen