Skin exfoliation is something that many people do to help get rid of dead, dry or flaky skin.  However, exfoliating too hard, or with the wrong products, may result in irritation and further damage.  It is, therefore, a good idea to look for trusted products and tools which are safest for your skin type.


What is Exfoliation?

  • People exfoliate to help bring new, healthy skin to the surface.  All humans shed skin, which means we can be left with flaky layers which can be unsightly.


  • Face and body exfoliation brightens the look of our skin.  It can even help improve blood circulation.


  • There are different types of exfoliation which may benefit different skin types.


    • Chemical exfoliation, in the form of body care products, focuses on using certain acids or enzymes to help remove dead skin.  AHAs, or alpha-hydroxy acids, are commonly used.  However, beta-hydroxy acids may be more beneficial for specific skin types.


    • Mechanical exfoliation relies on skin care tools.  This may include a type of brush or pumice stone.  There are also sponges and gloves which can be more sensitive to skin.


  • The type of exfoliation you choose will depend on your skin sensitivity and type.  Chemical exfoliation is safe for sensitive skin depending on the strength and PH level.  The lower the PH, the more acidic the product is.


  • There are also specific types of exfoliant available for different body parts.  For example, our hands and feet have tougher skin than elsewhere on our bodies.  Therefore, high strength exfoliant products are recommended.


When Should I Exfoliate?

Everyone’s skin needs and routines will be slightly different.

  • While some chemical exfoliation creams recommend daily use, it is not always healthy to follow this advice.  Sensitive skin or that which is prone to irritation may react better to occasional use.


  • You should exfoliate if you feel your skin looks dull or sallow.  Exfoliating brings out new skin and therefore, enhances natural radiance.


  • Exfoliation can also be useful for shaving, as it helps to prepare hair follicles.  This should lead to a smoother shave.


Techniques to Try for Skin Types

Depending on your skin type, there are a few exfoliation techniques you may wish to try.

  • Sensitive skin should avoid aggressive or intensive scrubbing.  Mechanical exfoliation is not recommended.  Try using milder products and gentle scrubbing to prevent redness.


  • Dry skin will react best to AHAs and BHAs.  If you use BHAs, make sure to moisturise thoroughly after you apply.  This is because your skin will become more sensitive for a short time.


  • People with normal skin can safely choose any exfoliant they wish.  However, you may find a particular method which works best for you.


  • Oily skin reacts best to mechanical exfoliation.  That is because there may be more layers of skin than may first appear.  Gently scrub with a brush or sponge of your choice.


If you’d like to know more about exfoliating, contact your local pharmacist for individual advice.