August 29, 2022 5 min read

How To Exfoliate Safely By Skin Type

Taking care of your skin is essential. One of the ways of enhancing healthy skin is by using exfoliants. However, you should be keen on the product you intend to use on your skin since there are different skin types.

According to Packianathan & Kandasamy (2011), exfoliation is essential in removing dull and dry skin, enhancing blood circulation, improving the general appearance of your skin, and brightening it. For ever-energetic, shiny and glowing skin, exfoliate your skin regularly for better results. There exist various exfoliation methods that you can use depending on your skin type. These methods are categorized primarily as physical exfoliation, which involves brushes and scrubs, and chemical exfoliation, which involves friendly chemicals that dissolve dead skin cells. However, while both processes result in clean, shiny, and healthy skin, their choice depends on the skin type, as discussed herein.

How To Exfoliate Mechanically

Use an exfoliating bristle brush gently on your face or general body to remove the dead cells on your epidermal layer. Use them either for dry brushing or for facial cleansing and body washing. According to Ayaz (2021), an exfoliating sponge is a gentle tool for skin exfoliation. Lather it in warm water, body washes, or soap, then use it on your skin. This softly removes the dead cells without you getting hurt.

You can also use exfoliating gloves whenever you find it difficult to use sponges or brushes. Lather them in body wash or soap for effectiveness, especially on your arms and legs. In gentle circular motions, use an exfoliating scrub to wash your skin using warm water upon applying a scrub. This feels extra fine on your skin and causes no harm.

How To Exfoliate Chemically

According to Fu & Lu (2021), aloha-hydroxyl acids such as glycolic, citric, and lactic acids break bonds holding the dead and dull skin cells on your epidermal layer. This makes your skin get rid of the dead cells naturally. For acne-prone skins, beta-hydroxy acids such as the BHAs work better.

How To Exfoliate by Skin Type

While using the mechanical method, be very gentle on your skin. Using your fingers to apply the exfoliating product on your body in small and circular motions gives the best and most desirable results. When using a brush, short and light strokes work best. Exfoliate your skin for 30 seconds, then rinse it with lukewarm water. If your skin is injured or has sunburns or open wounds, do not exfoliate. Instead, use moisturizers with SPF after exfoliation.

How To Exfoliate Dry Skin

Exfoliating dry skin is very crucial since it protects you from micro-tears. Mechanical exfoliation can endanger your dry skin by causing injuries and cuts. Therefore, remove dead cells from your skin’s epidermal layer with Glycolic acid for a healthier turnover process. Follow this by applying SPF and a moisturizer. However, this might expose your skin to frequent sunburns.  

How To Exfoliate a Sensitive Skin

Using mechanical methods or scrubbing should be avoided for sensitive skin to prevent irritation and reddishness. Use mild chemical exfoliators with very soft washcloths on your skin. If you are prone to acne, use salicylic acid peels as an alternative, as advised by a dermatologist.

How To Exfoliate an Oily Skin

Your thick and oily skin can enjoy manual exfoliation as well as brushing. Mostly, oily skins have extra layers of older cells at the surface that can easily be removed by manual exfoliation. Use a scrub or an exfoliator gently and in slow circular motions to attain the best results.

How To Exfoliate a Normal Skin

If you have normal skin, you can choose your preferred exfoliating method. Both manual and chemical exfoliation methods are safe and great for normal skin. Try different exfoliating methods and find one that works perfectly for your normal skin.

How to Exfoliate a Combination Skin

Combining chemical and mechanical exfoliation techniques is great for your combination skin. However, do not use the techniques on a single day to avoid irritation on your skin. If you experience dry skin after exfoliation, immediately apply a moisturizer.

How To Exfoliate by Body Part

When exfoliating your body, pay attention to sensitive parts, such as the face. According to Rodan et al. (2016), Frequent exfoliation of sensitive areas may result in skin dryness, itchiness, and redness. It is vital to take precautions before exfoliation for better results.

How to Exfoliate Your Face

Your skin type greatly determines the preferred exfoliator. For mechanical exfoliation on your face using scrubs, use them gently on your facial skin with your fingers. Rub in small and round motions, then finish by rinsing with lukewarm water. For liquid chemical exfoliation, use a cotton pad or soft washcloth. You can also consult a dermatologist to know the right exfoliator for your face.

How to Exfoliate Your Arms and Legs

Brushes, gloves, and sponges are the easiest ways of exfoliating your arms and legs since they remove the dead cells and stimulate blood circulation. Use body scrubs available at the local pharmacies or online markets, then lather in the shower. Using a dry brush is also safe for your legs and arms.

How to Exfoliate Your Feet and Hands

Peels and scrubs are available for foot exfoliation. You can get rid of the dead and older skin cells on your feet using a pumice stone.

How to Exfoliate Your Pubic Area

Use a body brush or loofah to exfoliate your bikini line and the pubic area. This should be done with warm water to soften your skin. You can gently apply scrubs and finish by washing them off with water. Exfoliation duration depends on the type of skin and the method of exfoliation you apply. Some chemical exfoliation methods are stronger and can be done once or twice a week for effectiveness.  

Bottom Line

Oily skin needs more exfoliation; however, you should be careful not to over-exfoliate. Over-exfoliation can further lead to irritation and redness of the skin. It is, therefore, vital to consult a dermatologist for advice on how often you should exfoliate. Enjoy exfoliation benefits such as allowing your skin to improve in serums and moisturizer absorption, great skin turnover leading to brighter skin, and improved blood circulation. However, stop exfoliation immediately when you see your skin turning red, peeling, inflamed, and irritated.


Ayaz, M. (2021). Scrub sponge as a wound debridement device. Bulletin of Emergency & Trauma9(2), 96.

Fu, V., & Lu, G. (2021). Skincare Decoded: The Practical Guide to Beautiful Skin. Simon and Schuster.

Packianathan, N., & Kandasamy, R. (2011). Skin care with herbal exfoliants. Functional Plant Science and Biotechnology5(1), 94-97.

Rodan, K., Fields, K., Majewski, G., & Falla, T. (2016). Skincare bootcamp: the evolving role of skincare. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Global Open4(12 Suppl).