August 29, 2022 5 min read

Exfoliation Tips To Help Acne-Prone Skin

If you are a skincare enthusiast, you have probably come across exfoliation or maybe even included it in your skin care regimen. Exfoliation is the go-to procedure for people obsessed with a clear and acne-free face. Read below as we discuss exfoliation tips for people with acne-prone skin.

Investing in a skin care regimen is an excellent method to increase your self-esteem; looking good makes you feel good. Picard (2003) noted that many people believe that caring for their skin is excessive and disregarding it. During the day, our faces are subjected to various elements, including the sun, grime, and bacteria. As a result, setting aside some time in the morning and evening to pamper your skin is an excellent approach to ensure that it remains healthy. According to Nemade & Baste (2014), regular cleansing, using a decent moisturizer, exfoliation, and applying a generous amount of sunscreen that protects your face from strong UV rays are all part of taking care of your skin.

Defining Exfoliation

Exfoliation is an important part of any skincare routine since it aids in the removal of dead skin cells from the skin’s surface. An exfoliant is important if you want smooth, glowing skin. Often when your skin fills with dead cells, it gives it a dull appearance which hinders its natural glow. However, there is much to what meets the eye; exfoliation is not just about getting rid of dead cells on the skin’s surface. Before exfoliating your skin, you should consider your skin type to purchase products that suit your skin type. Using the wrong products can result in acne and worse situations; they can dehydrate your face.

Defining Acne-Prone Skin

According to skin care experts, acne is the most common skin disorder. Regardless of whether it is mild or severe, Do et al. (2020) established that acne-prone skin is a constant source of agony, especially if you do not know how to handle it. If left untreated, acne can get aggressive, making it hard to treat it. People who suffer from acne often rummage through store shelves to find skin care products that promise clear, glowing skin like face scrubs, chemical peels, and exfoliants. However, to understand acne, you must first understand what causes it before purchasing any products to curb it. There are a ton of factors that cause acne;

  • Dirt, natural oils, debris, and dirt accumulation on the skin surface. If left for too long, they can clog your pores and cause an acne breakout.
  • Medications, diet, and using cheap skin care products
  • Hormones, especially in adolescents and teens. During puberty, the body produces testosterone that makes the sebaceous glands produce tons of sebum, overproducing more sebum than is needed.
  • Face masks have also been reported to be one of the major causes of acne. The friction on the surface of the skin thus causes irritation and hydration.

Exfoliating Acne-Prone Skin

Exfoliating removes the dead skin cells on the skin's surface. Therefore, Mohiuddin (2019) explained that regular exfoliating of acne-prone skin would eliminate anything that may have accumulated on the skin's surface. Exfoliating also unclogs the pores, thus dramatically reducing the incidence of breakouts. However, not all exfoliating tools and products are recommended for acne-prone skin. Before making your purchase, you should find products that will be kind to your skin because failure to get the right products will worsen your acne, and in a worst-case scenario, your skin may suffer irreversible damage.

Know Your Acne

Before rushing to the store to purchase your preferred exfoliant, you should know your type and stage of acne. There are two types of acne; noninflammatory and inflammatory.


Inflammatory acne is anything with a robust form or shape on the skin's surface, ranging from nodules, cysts, papules, and pustules. Papules develop into small pus-filled bumps called pustules. Cysts and nodules occur deeper in the skin and are the most painful form of acne.


This type of acne results from clogged pores that may appear as white or blackheads. It is easy to identify non-inflammatory acne because they do not appear as cysts or nodules; they are often easy to get rid of only if you use the right products.

Choosing The Right Exfoliant

There are two types of exfoliants available; physical and chemical. Physical exfoliants include products that have abrasive ingredients like face scrubs and cloths. If you have acne-prone skin, you should avoid physical exfoliants because the friction can scar your already inflamed skin. Chemical exfoliants are devoid of abrasives, thus making them the perfect exfoliants for acne-prone skin. You can also purchase over-the-counter exfoliants like glycolic peels because most are gentle enough on sensitive skin.

Regarding acne-prone skin, dermatologists advise using chemical exfoliants because they penetrate deeper into the skin than physical exfoliants. Glycolic acid is a recommended chemical exfoliator because it smoothes and clarifies the skin. If you suffer from mild acne, blackheads, and whiteheads, you should try products enhanced with retinoids.

Retinoids are derived from Vitamin A and are a game-changer in skincare regimens. However, weaker forms are available in drug and retail stores. Retinoids are important in boosting immunity, and they are also the best anti-aging products to invest in. Products with high concentrations of retinoids are used to treat severe acne-like psoriasis and pigment disorders. Sometimes, though not often, retinoids can be used to treat certain variations of cancer.

Perform A Patch Test

Before using any product on your skin, you should perform a patch test to see if the product will cause an allergic reaction. Once you have ascertained that the product is harmless, start with a pea-sized amount and then gradually work your way up once your skin has built a tolerance. Make sure that your skin is clean before exfoliating. You ought to cleanse your skin so the exfoliant can seep into the pores and sweep away oils and any debris that may have accumulated on the skin.

The Bottom Line

Exfoliation is the process of removing dead skin cells from the skin’s surface using exfoliating products. There are two types of exfoliation products; chemical and physical. Chemical exfoliants contain active substances such as beta and alpha-hydroxy acids. When choosing an exfoliant, ensure it's the right one for your skin type. Using the improper exfoliant can damage your skin barrier and create acne breakouts. If you want to start exfoliating your skin but aren't sure where to begin, following the steps outlined above will ensure you get the desired results.


Do, S. B. A., De La Pena, I., & Faocd, B. B. D. F. (2020). The Impact Of Covid-19 On The Faces Of Frontline Healthcare Workers. Journal Of Drugs In Dermatology, 19(9), 858-864.

Mohiuddin, A. K. (2019). Skin Care Creams: Formulation And Use. Dermatol Clin Res, 5(1), 238-271.

Nemade, C. T., & Baste, N. (2014). Formulation And Evaluation Of A Herbal Facial Scrub. World J Pharm Res, 3(3), 4367-4371.

Picard, R. W. (2003). Affective Computing: Challenges. International Journal Of Human-Computer Studies, 59(1-2), 55-64.