How often should you exfoliate your face

Like cleansing and moisturizing, exfoliating is a vital step of a good skincare routine. Why? Regularly exfoliating your skin smooths skin and protects your pores from potential clogs that can lead to breakouts.

But while exfoliation is essential to maintaining healthy skin, aggressive exfoliation ‒ or exfoliating too much ‒ can cause irritation to the skin. This makes finding the right balance of how often you should exfoliate a little more complicated. Sigh. But don’t worry – we’ve got you!

To successfully answer the question of how often you should exfoliate your face, ahead, we dive into the topic by addressing how many times a week you might want to exfoliate, methods of exfoliation to explore, and how different skin types should go about exfoliating their skin.

When to exfoliate

If you find yourself wondering how many times a week you should exfoliate, understand that the answer is a bit complicated, as it depends on skin type. To better explain, those who have more oily skin may be able to handle stronger exfoliants and exfoliating more frequently, while those with more sensitive skin might need a different approach.

How often should you exfoliate if you have dry or sensitive skin

Because dry and sensitive skin is prone to redness and irritation, it's important to exfoliate carefully.

Pro tip: When using a mild chemical exfoliant, be sure to use it exactly as advised by the product instructions. These usually include gently massaging the product onto your skin in circular motions, rinsing off the product with lukewarm water, and then following with a hydrating and non-irritating moisturizer.

How often should you exfoliate if you have oily or acne-prone skin

Acne-prone and oily skin may be able to tolerate slightly stronger chemical exfoliants. These include chemical wash-off exfoliants that utilize alpha and beta hydroxy acids, both well-loved ingredients in popular exfoliators. But while chemical exfoliants can definitely be helpful in removing excess skin cells and unclogging pores, keep in mind that these products can be drying, so you’ll want to use the product as directed by the product instructions, and top it off with a moisturizer afterwards.

How often should you exfoliate if you have combination skin

Because combination skin can be dry in some areas and oily in others, it may be tricky to determine how you should go about exfoliating your face. Start by introducing an exfoliator once or twice a week and see how your skin tolerates it. Then you can increase (or decrease) accordingly.

What should you use to exfoliate

Since no two people’s skin are the same, be advised that exfoliation methods can vary from person to person. If you aren’t sure where to start, it’s best to start with gentler methods and work your way up in order to see what your skin can tolerate.

Aside from a washcloth or chemical exfoliants, there are other methods of exfoliation worth exploring. These include cleansing brushes and exfoliating procedures performed by a dermatologist, such as microdermabrasion.

The bottom line

Exfoliation is crucial in maintaining healthy skin, as it helps correct uneven tone and texture, smooths skin, and prevents pores from becoming clogged with excess skin cells. That said, how you exfoliate greatly depends on your skin type, so be sure to start gently and follow all product instructions. And when in doubt, ask your dermatologist!