How Often Should You Exfoliate Your Skin?

Written by Arshiya Syeda

Exfoliation is a crucial part of the skin care routine. It helps remove the dead skin cells and improves your skin texture. But, how often should you exfoliate your skin? Learning the frequency is important to avoid over-exfoliation. Exfoliating the skin at regular intervals clears the dirt, debris, and traces of pollution. It promotes skin rejuvenation and improves blood circulation. Keep reading this article to learn how often to scrub or exfoliate your face. Scroll down.

What Are The Benefits Of Exfoliating Your Skin?

Exfoliating your skin offers the following advantages:

  • Removes dead skin cells and unclogs the pores.
  • Makes the skin soft, smooth, and supple.
  • Brightens the skin and imparts an even-toned look.
  • Helps improve blood circulation.
  • Enhances cell turnover.
  • Promotes collagen synthesis.
  • Enables better absorption of skin care products.

Exfoliation is carried out by agents called exfoliators. They can be classified into two types physical and chemical, based on the mechanism they perform exfoliation. Lets explore each of them in detail.

Types Of Exfoliators

  • Physical Exfoliators

As the name suggests, physical exfoliators help remove dead skin cells by physical means. Brushes, sponges, pumice stones, and scrubs are a few examples of physical exfoliators. You can prepare homemade scrubs with natural ingredients, such as oats, sea salt, sugar, and coffee.

  • Chemical Exfoliators

Chemical agents or chemical peels that exfoliate the skin by dissolving dead skin cells rather than removing them mechanically are called chemical exfoliators. These chemical exfoliators include alpha and beta hydroxy acids (glycolic, lactic, malic, and salicylic acids).

You need to choose the right exfoliator based on your skin type there is no ’one size fits all!’

Which Exfoliation Method Is Best For Your Skin Type?

  • Normal Skin

You can use papaya and honey to prepare a natural homemade exfoliator. This DIY scrub can help remove dead cells, unclog pores, and improve blood circulation.

The papain enzyme in raw papaya makes it a great exfoliator (1). It helps eliminate damaged skin cells and reduces freckles and brown spots, making your skin healthy-looking. Honey exhibits antimicrobial and antioxidant properties that help soothe the skin, prevent wrinkles and treat various skin conditions, such as eczema, psoriasis, and contact dermatitis (2), (3).

  • Oily Skin

The best exfoliator for those with oily skin types is salicylic acid. This chemical exfoliator affects the inner pore lining to unclog it from its root. Regular usage of this exfoliating agent helps reduce blemishes and lighten scars.

  • Dry Skin

Skin dryness is primarily due to the accumulation of dead skin cells. Thats why regular exfoliation is required to help keep it healthy. However, it is essential to moisturize dry skin after exfoliation. Some common exfoliators for dry skin include sugar scrub and commercial scrubs that are gentle and contain plastic microbeads, apricots, yogurt, or coffee grounds.

There are many benefits of exfoliating your skin. However, it is important not to go overboard as it can accentuate dead skin formation. Here is how many times you need to exfoliate, depending on your skin type.

How Often Should You Exfoliate Your Skin?

  • Normal Skin

Normal skin is the easiest and simplest to exfoliate. You can opt for both mechanical and chemical exfoliation methods. For normal skin type, exfoliate once or twice a week to get a healthy, fresh look.

  • Oily Skin

Oily skin requires exfoliation more frequently than any other skin type. This is because the dead skin cells form a thick layer with the oil and sebum. People with oily skin type must exfoliate at least 2-3 times a week for smooth skin.

You might be tempted to use strong chemical exfoliators for better results. However, make sure to have enough gap between two exfoliation sessions based on the strength of your agent.

  • Dry Skin

Dry skin is a tad bit more sensitive than oily skin, and exfoliating it not more than once or twice a week is a good practice.

Is exfoliating enough to keep your skin healthy and radiant? Not really! Exfoliation only helps clean the surface of your skin. The skin surface needs some nourishment and protection as well. Check out the next section to explore the things you must follow after the process.

What To Do After Exfoliating

A basic skin care routine that everyone must follow includes four steps: cleansing, exfoliating, toning, and moisturizing. Thus, you need to tone and moisturize after exfoliating your skin.

  • Toning

Toning helps restore the essential nutrients of your skin and shrink the open pores. It helps soothe the skin and maintains the pH balance after exfoliation. This step also reduces skin inflammation and dry, red patches.

Note: Avoid toners that contain alcohol, artificial fragrance and color, and harsh ingredients as they might aggravate your skin sensitivity.

  • Moisturizing

You must moisturize your face after washing and cleansing it every time. The best time to apply a moisturizer is when your skin is slightly damp this enables better absorption of the product. Moisturizing helps keep your skin healthy, supple, and hydrated, preventing dullness. You can opt for moisturizers with SPF to protect your skin from sunburns and photoaging.

The ingredients for exfoliation must be gentle that do not harm the skin’s natural barrier.

What Ingredients To Look For In An Exfoliating Product

Physical exfoliators, such as scrubs, can include sugar crystals, jojoba seeds, oats, and coffee grounds. It is recommended to use chemical exfoliators that contain alpha-hydroxy acids like glycolic, lactic, and malic acids and beta-hydroxy acids like salicylic acid. The concentration of alpha-hydroxy acids must not be greater than 10-15% and 2% in the case of beta-hydroxy acids.

If you have a sensitive skin type, exfoliators with mandelic acid are great for you.

Now that you know when to exfoliate, many people might wonder when it is not suitable to exfoliate. Well, here is when you should keep the scrubs and peels away from your skin.

When Should You Not Exfoliate?

Avoid exfoliating if:

  • Your skin is red, irritated, and inflamed.
  • You have an allergic reaction on your skin.
  • You have boils or pustules.
  • You have wounds, scars, and skin burns.
  • You are experiencing an eczema flare-up.

Exfoliation is an important part of your skincare routine since it removes excess dead skin, boosts collagen production, facilitates better absorption of your products, and improves overall skin health. Whether you opt for physical or chemical exfoliation, it is important to choose exfoliators that are suitable for your skin type. If you are wondering about how often you should exfoliate your skin, doing it more than thrice a week can result in dry, itchy, and sensitive skin. Stop exfoliation immediately if you experience inflamed, red, or irritated skin.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it OK to exfoliate your face every day?

No. You must exfoliate your skin not more than three times a week.

Is it better to exfoliate your face in the morning or at night?

The right time for exfoliation depends on your skin care routine and lifestyle. However, it is recommended that you must exfoliate, tone, and moisturize your skin at night to remove the dirt, impurities, and pollutants accumulated over the day.

Key Takeaways

  • Exfoliation helps slough off the layer of dirt and dead skin cell deposits, providing you smooth, soft skin.
  • While physical exfoliation involves scrubbing, chemical exfoliation involves dissolving the bonds between dead skin cells in the outermost layer of deposits.
  • It is important to exfoliate your skin regularly; however, be careful not to overdo it, which may otherwise cause more harm than good.
  • Toning and moisturizing your skin after each exfoliating session helps keep it smooth and rash-free.


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.

  1. Potentiality of Papain as an Antiaging Agent in cosmetic formulation
  2. Honey in dermatology and skin care: a review
  3. Honey: A Therapeutic Agent for Disorders of the Skin
The following two tabs change content below.