August 29, 2022 5 min read

Should You Exfoliate With Face Scrubs In The Morning or Evening?

Skin exfoliation is important. This article discusses how to exfoliate the skin, when, and how. A person can cleanse and exfoliate the skin simultaneously. Read this article to learn more about exfoliating with a face scrub.

Skincare practices such as cleansing and moisturizing the face are more of a debate than a one-sided decision. While some claim that removing dead cells from a face should be a daily routine, others suggest that a person should only do so once or twice a week. Hence, some dermatologists recommend following proper exfoliation steps since people are likely to ask if they should do it in the morning or evening. According to most dermatologists, exfoliation is vital as it keeps the skin brighter, smoother, and healthier. It removes dead cells, giving sebaceous glands ample time to produce sebum and nourish the skin. However, what has remained unanswered is whether a person should exfoliate using a face scrub in the morning or evening. People look deeply into each scenario and how to exfoliate properly.

When Should You Exfoliate?

Effective exfoliation or face scrubbing depends on when and how you do it. People may want to know the best time to scrub a face to penetrate the skincare products and treat the skin properly. Below is what you should know about morning and evening exfoliation.

Morning Exfoliation

Exfoliating the face using a scrub depends on a person’s lifestyle and skin health. For instance, while some people benefit more from evening exfoliation, others prefer morning exfoliation since it is the most effective. McDaniel et al. (2017) noted that morning exfoliation keeps the skin moist and opens up pores effectively. This process still depends on the skin type and the scrubbing products used.

Morning exfoliation is vital because most people use stronger and more irritating skincare products in the evening, especially when going to bed. These products can damage the delicate skin, and adding evening exfoliation can worsen the condition. Sharma & Sharma (2012) stated that stronger products such as retinol are mostly used at night to moisturize and brighten facial skin. Therefore, to avoid irritating the skin, one should avoid exfoliating in the evening and use a morning scrub to remove the evening residuals. Ludidi (2019) stated that exfoliating in the morning is also a vital routine for people with dull and oily faces. The study above also stated that morning scrubbing opens face pores, removes excess oil, and keeps the face brighter the whole day. Morning scrubbing is a protection practice as it prevents oil accumulation on the skin and enhances blood circulation.

Evening Exfoliation

Evening exfoliation or scrubbing is a common skincare practice, especially for those who stay in makeup the whole day. The evening is the right time to remove the remaining makeup and allow the skin to breathe. Exfoliating in the evening using a face scrub is a correcting practice as it involves removing the old makeup and cleaning the skin before applying another skincare product. However, like morning exfoliation, evening scrubbing also has actions everyone should consider.

One limitation is the type of skin being exfoliated. According to Packianathan & Kandasamy (2011), evening exfoliation involves a deep cleaning to open face pores and allow skincare products to penetrate properly. People with sensitive skin cannot exfoliate their faces deeply to avoid irritating the skin. They only need shallow exfoliation, which may not open the pores effectively and remove all the dead cells. Thus, morning exfoliation removes the excess products not absorbed at night and keeps the skin fresh.

Another limitation is the exfoliating mechanism and products used. Abd Alsaheb et al. (2015) revealed that A person could use physical or chemical exfoliation to remove the dead cells and clean up their face. However, the exfoliation type chosen depends on your lifestyle, skin type, and ingredients present in the exfoliant. Chemical exfoliation is best for dry, sensitive, and acne-prone skin since the acids only dissolve the dead cells and reveal those underneath the skin. Physical exfoliants or face scrubs are best for oily and thicker skin. Physical exfoliants require deep cleaning to wash them off and remove the dead cells.

How Do You Exfoliate Properly with Face Scrubs?

When to exfoliate is not as critical as how to do it. While most people go for morning exfoliation, others choose evening scrubbing. How you apply face scrub and remove it determines the results you get. Therefore, consider creating a guide on the best face scrubbing steps to remove all dead cells and leave the skin smoother, brighter, and healthier.

Choosing The Best Exfoliant

Choosing the right exfoliant or face scrub is the first step, as it involves examining the skin type and buying what matches the skin demands. Look at the skin closely to determine if a person has oily, dry, sensitive, or combination skin. A combination of dry and oily skin requires different scrubs on different parts. When going for a chemical exfoliant, choose gentle acids such as benzoyl peroxide if you have sensitive or acne-prone skin. Exfoliants with retinoic acid also balance your skin tone and reduce facial wrinkles.

Your exfoliation prep also involves choosing the right exfoliating brushes. Go for brushes from the best brands that can remove all the debris and dirt from your face. You can choose an electric exfoliating brush if you have thick or oily skin since it is cheaper than the professional microdermabrasion treatment. However, remember to clean your brushes frequently to remove bacteria, dirt, and oils they collect from your face.

Applying The Exfoliant

Applying the exfoliant to your face is a comprehensive step and mostly depends on the type of exfoliation you choose. You can benefit from both exfoliations by following these steps:

  • Pull your hair back or away from your face and secure it with a hair tie. This prevents gritty or gunky exfoliants from getting in your hair.
  • Clean your face with little lukewarm water and your favorite face cleanser. Apply enough cleanser to your face, rub it across, and rinse it with plenty of lukewarm water.
  • Apply the exfoliant to your face using your fingertips and rub it in circular motions for about 30 seconds. Avoid exfoliating your face if you have open wounds, sunburns, or active cold sores.
  • Rinse off the scrub using lukewarm water and a clean, dry towel. Rinsing your face properly prevents it from being sticky or grainy.
  • Apply a moisturizer as a sunscreen and prevent your face from drying out, peeling, or breaking out. Choose a non-comedogenic and SPF-30 (sun protection factor) moisturizer.

The Bottom Line

Exfoliating in the morning or evening using face scrubs has remained a debatable topic for a long time. Some skincare experts benefit more from morning exfoliation, while others suggest evening scrubbing corrects the skin by removing the excess makeup, oil, toxic substances, and dead cells. People recommend choosing the best time to exfoliate your face based on your lifestyle, skin type, and the exfoliants used. Consider the skin type (oily or dry) before choosing the type of exfoliant for your skin. Scrub your face occasionally to avoid too much friction leading to tears. Choose the correct time to exfoliate your skin for desirable effects.


Abd Alsaheb, R. A., Aladdin, A., Othman, N. Z., Abd Malek, R., Leng, O. M., Aziz, R., & El Enshasy, H. A. (2015). Recent Applications Of Polylactic Acid In Pharmaceutical And Medical Industries. J. Chem. Pharm. Res, 7(12), 51-63.


Mcdaniel, D. H., Mazur, C., Wortzman, M. S., & Nelson, D. B. (2017). Efficacy And Tolerability Of A Double‐Conjugated Retinoid Cream Vs. 1.0% Retinol Cream Or 0.025% Tretinoin Cream In Subjects With Mild To Severe Photoaging. Journal Of Cosmetic Dermatology, 16(4), 542-548.

Sharma, B., & Sharma, A. (2012). The Prospect Of Nanotechnology In The Development Of Anti-Aging Formulations. Int J Pharm Pharm Sci, 4(3), 57-66.

Packianathan, N., & Kandasamy, R. (2011). Skincare With Herbal Exfoliants. Functional Plant Science And Biotechnology, 5(1), 94-97.