How Often Should You Exfoliate Your Face?

Exfoliation is not a one-size-fits-all process. Exfoliating materials vary in how harshly they scrub the skin, which means different skin types should use different products and exfoliate in different intervals. We’ll be breaking down how often you should exfoliate based on your skin type and offering suggestions for different exfoliating products.

What is Exfoliation?

Exfoliation is the process of removing dead skin cells and surface debris from the top layer of the skin. By removing dead cells and impurities, cell turnover is encouraged to resurface healthy looking skin and a more radiant complexion. Exfoliants vary in strength from gentle ingredients that simultaneously hydrate the skin to more intense chemical exfoliants.

Benefits of Exfoliation

Dead skin cells clog the skin pores and dull the skin’s complexion. Exfoliating or removing these dead cells also helps to reduce the appearance of superficial skin imperfections like hyperpigmentation, fine lines, wrinkles, and scars. Exfoliation has also been known to encourage the skin's natural collagen production which decreases overtime due to natural aging. Exfoliation allows skincare products to penetrate onto the skin, maximizing their effectiveness. This helps your skin maintain a youthful appearance.

Risks of Exfoliation

Exfoliation is not for everyone, or every skin type. Over-exfoliating can strip away the natural oils in your skin which dries out and/or irritates the skin, worsening acne breakouts, redness, and inflammation. It’s essential to use the right products for your specific skin type and not exfoliate too frequently so that you gain only the benefits of exfoliation.

Types of Exfoliants

Physical Exfoliants

Physical or manual exfoliation uses tools like sponges or brushes to physically slough away surface dead skin cells while chemical exfoliants dissolve dead cells and surface debris. Salt or sugar scrubs, microdermabrasion, crystal particles, and dermaplaning with a blade are additional methods of physical exfoliation.

Chemical Exfoliants

Chemical exfoliants are often acids like glycolic acid, salicylic acid, lactic acid, BHAs, and AHAs. Retinol, a potent form of vitamin A, is also used to exfoliate the skin. Since chemical exfoliation uses ingredients that dissolve dead skin cells, rather than scrubbing the skin's surface, it's a bit gentler and might be the better option for sensitive, dry, and acne-prone skin.

How Often Should You Exfoliate?

There’s no exact answer to this question because it depends on the type of exfoliant you are using and what your skin type is. In general, consider these guidelines:

Normal Skin

People with a “normal” skin type do not have excessively dry or oily skin. Their skin is also less likely to break out or be irritated from exfoliating ingredients. Exfoliation can be done 1-2 times per week, and we recommend one of the following products:

Dry Skin

Dry skin can be exfoliated every other day (about 1-3 days per week). Chemical exfoliation can help remove dead skin cells and encourage cell turnover to visibly brighten dull and dehydrated skin. We recommend the following exfoliants for dry skin:

Sensitive Skin

Sensitive skin should be exfoliated once per week at most with a gentle exfoliant that will not irritate the skin. It’s also important to use caution when exfoliating and not scrub the skin. Exfoliants that might be suitable for sensitive skin types include:

Acne-Prone Skin

Exfoliation can be beneficial for acne-prone skin because it helps reduce surface dead skin cells and impurities responsible for clogged pores. We recommend exfoliating 1-3 times per week using one of the following products:

Combination Skin

It can be tricky to find the right skincare products for combination skin because people have both dry and oily patches of skin. If you have combination skin, try exfoliating 1-3 times per week using one of the following exfoliants:

Oily Skin

Exfoliation can remove excess oil from the skin’s pores, minimizing the appearance of clogged pores and acne while visibly brightening your complexion. People with oily skin types should exfoliate 1-3 times per week with one of the following exfoliating products:

Exfoliating Skincare Products from Epicuren Discovery

Exfoliation can help your skin appear nourished and give you the look of glowing skin. Shop online today for exfoliants and other skincare products designed specifically for different skin types and skin concerns.


  1. Is it good to exfoliate your face every day?
    1. Daily exfoliation is not recommended for most skin types since it can dry out and irritate the skin.
  2. Is it better to exfoliate in the morning or at night?
    1. Exfoliating at night is beneficial since skin may experience redness or sensitivity after exfoliation.  
  3. How many minutes should I exfoliate my face?
    1. Exfoliation only takes 30-60 seconds. Rub the exfoliating product in a circular motion using your fingers or a washcloth and then wash off the product with warm water.


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