Exfoliation Questions

Should You Exfoliate Every Day? (Based On Skin Type)

Written by: Anastasija

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Exfoliation is a popular technique in the beauty industry, and many people make claims about the benefits it can have on their skin. But how often should you be doing it? Read on to find out whether you should exfoliate your skin every day.

What is exfoliation?

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Perhaps one of the most important questions to answer first is what exfoliation really is – you probably don’t know if you’ve never heard of it before. It’s a certain skincare technique which is becoming increasingly popular all around and can bring many benefits for your skin.

Essentially, exfoliation is the use of either a chemical or mechanical exfoliating agent to loosen the bonds between the dead skin cells that sit above the upper layer of skin, and the epidermis (the outermost layer of skin) itself. Once these bonds are loosened, the dead skin cells ‘fall’ off of the surface of your skin to leave a fresh, bright complexion from beneath.

Signs of Over-Exfoliation
Excessive dryness
Increased sensitivity
Redness or irritation
Flakiness or peeling
Breakouts or acne flare-ups
Table 1: Signs of Over-Exfoliation

Naturally, your skin is constantly regenerating, renewing, and repairing itself, which is an essential process in order to heal wounds as well as other skin concerns such as acne. This skin renewal comes from a process known as cell turnover, which is what leaves the dead skin cells on the surface of your skin.

Without exfoliation, these dead skin cells will stay on the surface, until they are eventually lost and replaced by another set of cells. However, by exfoliating, you’re removing these dead skin cells yourself, and that reveals the new, fresh skin cells which were underneath.

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There are two different types of exfoliation: chemical and mechanical. A chemical exfoliant will use acids, including AHAs (Alpha Hydroxy Acids) to dissolve and loosen the bonds between the skin’s surface and the dead cells. On the other hand, a mechanical exfoliant uses physical particles to remove the dead skin cells in more of a ‘scratchy’ way.

Both types of exfoliation can bring their own pros and cons, and it’s all about finding the right balance for your skin. You can even purchase some products which will combine both mechanical and chemical exfoliants to provide a mix of benefits to your skin.

Also read: What is the Best Body Exfoliator for Spray Tan? (Explained)

How often should I exfoliate my skin type?

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Exfoliation may sound simple – as it is – but there is an extra layer of complication that you need to consider: your skin type. Everyone has different skin, which makes us all unique, but most people’s skin fits into one of the four skin categories, which are normal, combination, oily and dry.

Skin TypeRecommended Exfoliation Frequency
Normal Skin2-3 times per week
Dry Skin1-2 times per week
Oily Skin3-4 times per week
Combination Skin2-3 times per week
Sensitive Skin1-2 times per week
Table 2: Exfoliation Frequency for Different Skin Types

There are a variety of methods used to find your skin type, and here is the information you should know about exfoliating yours.

Normal skin

If you’re lucky enough to be blessed with the normal skin gene, your skin is often easier to deal with, and tends not to suffer from sensitivity too much. However, it’s still important that you take care of your skin, and don’t take advantage of its potentially lower maintenance.

For someone with normal skin, you can perform a thorough exfoliation up to two to three times per week, but a gentle exfoliation every day is the most effective, as long as your skin is able to handle it. So yes, as long as your skin is able to handle it, which it usually should, you can exfoliate normal skin every day.

Tatcha The Rice Polish, Classic

Tatcha The Rice Polish, Classic: Daily Non-Abrasive Exfoliator for Normal to Dry Skin. (60 grams | 2.1 oz)
  • A WATER-ACTIVATED EXFOLIANT of nourishing Japanese Rice Bran that transforms to a creamy foam for smooth, polished skin with a healthy glow.
  • GIVES YOUR SKIN A NEW BEGINNING through non-abrasive exfoliation and pure Japanese ingredients delivered in a cloud-like foam. Finely ground rice bran and papaya enzymes promote natural skin turnover to instantly reveal a smooth, makeup-ready canvas.

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The Ordinary 3 Bottles Face Serum Set!

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Dry skin

In contrast to normal skin, those with dry skin often struggle with sensitivity as well as flakiness and, obviously, dryness. This means that your skin is more prone to being damaged or affected negatively by harsh exfoliation, and so it’s important that you’re careful with your exfoliation routine.

Most experts advise that those with dry or sensitive skin should probably exfoliate their skin just once a week, and twice a week at maximum. If your skin can cope with exfoliation twice a week, it’s great to do this, but you should definitely take it down to once per week if you’re experiencing some irritation.

The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution

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Saturday Skin Rub-A-Dub Refining Peel Gel

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Saturday Skin Rub-A-Dub Refining Peel Gel Facial Cleansing Gels Facial Cleansing Washes Natural Fruit Enzymes Gel Mild Cleanser Exfoliating Gel Great for sensitive skin (2.53 Fl. Oz. (75ml))
  • Gentle Yet Effective Facial Peeling Gel: Our peeling gel is a remarkable facial skin care product, specially designed to deliver a smooth, refined skin texture. It gently exfoliates dead skin, revealing a radiant glow beneath. Infused with enriched glycolic acid, this peeling gel works as an excellent exfoliant, eradicating dullness and unveiling a brighter complexion. It's a perfect addition for a thorough skin care routine.
  • Dual Action Oil and Acne Cleanser: Acting as both an oil cleanser and an acne control cleanser, this peeling gel helps manage oil production while treating and preventing acne with proactive acne treatment properties. This refining peeling gel is gentle on the skin but tough on impurities, making it an ideal acne face wash. It's a must-have addition to your skin care regime for a more refined and brightened complexion.

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Oily skin

Another contrast, oily skin is a very common skin type, particularly for those who are younger, but anyone can still experience an oily skin type. For this skin type, it can be tempting to be overly harsh on your skin, as there’s so much oil, but it’s still delicate so you should treat it with care.

Those with oily skin may be able to exfoliate their skin every day, and it can be a good way to get your skin under control and reduce concerns associated with oily skin, such as acne. Nevertheless, those with oil skin can still experience sensitivity, so be sure that you’re not over-exfoliating your oily skin and reduce the frequency if your skin is irritated.

If you do exfoliate oily skin too much, it may produce even more oil in response, to naturally try to re-instate some balance after too many oils have been removed.

Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Salicylic Acid Exfoliant

Paulas Choice--SKIN PERFECTING 2% BHA Liquid Salicylic Acid Exfoliant--Facial Exfoliant for Blackheads, Enlarged Pores, Wrinkles & Fine Lines, 4 oz Bottle
  • GENTLE NON-ABRASIVE LEAVE-ON EXFOLIANT: With 2% BHA (Beta hydroxy acid), to unclog & diminish enlarged pores, exfoliate dead skin cells, smooth wrinkles, and brighten and even out skin tone. Combats redness, wrinkles, aging, enlarged pores, and blackheads.
  • Dramatically improves skin's texture for radiant youthful even-toned skin. Beta hydroxy acid (BHA, also known as salicylic acid) mimics the natural exfoliation process of younger skin by helping it shed extra layers while unclogging and clearing pores.

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Tatcha The Rice Polish Deep

Tatcha The Rice Polish Deep: Daily Non-Abrasive Exfoliator with Papaya Extract for Oily and Acne-Prone Skin, 60 grams | 2.1 oz
  • WATER-ACTIVATED EXFOLIANT of nourishing Japanese Rice Bran that transforms to a creamy foam for smooth, polished skin with a healthy glow.
  • GIVE YOUR SKIN A NEW BEGINNING through non-abrasive exfoliation and pure Japanese ingredients delivered in a cloud-like foam. Finely ground rice bran and papaya enzymes promote natural skin turnover to instantly reveal a smooth, makeup-ready canvas.

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Combination skin

The final main skin type is combination skin, which consists of a combination of dry and oily skin, where some areas of the face show oiliness, while others show dryness.

With this skin type, you may be able to exfoliate every day, however this is dependent on how dry or sensitive the dryer areas of your skin are. Generally, it’s best to purchase either two different products (if you’re using chemical exfoliation) with varying strengths for different areas of your face, or to apply more or less pressure in different areas with a mechanical scrub.

No matter your skin type, it’s important to keep an eye on how it’s reacting to the exfoliation and adjust your routine accordingly. Any overly irritated skin should be exfoliated less frequently to avoid skin damage.

Biore Baking Soda Cleansing Scrub for Combination Skin

Biore Baking Soda Cleansing Scrub, for Combination Skin, Water-Activated Powder for a Deep Clean and Gentle Exfoliation, 4.5 Ounces
  • WATER ACTIVATED SCRUB - This gentle exfoliator naturally dissolves; Use for deeper clean pores and visibly smoother skin in just one week
  • FORMULATED WITH BAKING SODA - This face scrub is formulated with Baking Soda, known for its ability to deep clean and exfoliate

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Aveeno Positively Radiant Skin Brightening Exfoliating Scrub

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  • 5-ounce tube of Aveeno Positively Radiant Skin Brightening & Exfoliating Daily Face Scrub cleanses & buffs away dead skin, surface impurities, & oil for softer, brighter skin. This scrub helps improve skin's tone & texture & reveals radiant-looking skin
  • The unique formula of this brightening facial exfoliant scrub contains moisture-rich soy extract & naturally derived granules designed to gently exfoliate & cleanse, while removing dirt, oil, & bacteria

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Final thoughts

In a nutshell, the frequency you exfoliate your skin is dependent on a few factors, and these are all things you should consider when it comes to implementing an exfoliation step into your routine. You should also be aware of how to properly exfoliate your skin to protect it from any damage, and make sure that you’re not too harsh.

About Anastasija

Welcome to my website! I'm Anastasija, and as a redhead with a sensitivity to the sun, I embarked on a quest to find the perfect sunless tanner six years ago.

After extensive research and four years of personal experience, I'm here to share my wealth of tips and tricks for achieving a beautiful, sun-kissed glow.

Whether you're interested in self-tanners, spray tans, or safe sun exposure, this website covers it all.

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