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The best exfoliator for your skin type

Jessica Padykula is a freelance writer and editor in Toronto, Canada covering a wide range of  topics for several online lifestyle publications. She is a regular contributor for SheKnows, covering travel, style, relationships, health and...

Scrub your way to glowing skin

Exfoliation is an integral step in your weekly skin care routine. You may think you can skip the scrubbing, but exfoliating gets skin smooth, soft and healthy-looking, and improves skin texture and tone. If you’re not sure where to start, take a look at our guide to exfoliators.

Woman exfoliating face

Exfoliators lift up and get rid of dead skin cells that can clog pores and leave skin looking dull. Getting rid of dead cells encourages cell renewal -- the process by which your skin replenishes itself. By revealing new skin and sloughing away the old, you're also improving the skin's ability to absorb the products (serums, moisturizers, sunscreen) you apply.

Find out how to exfoliate your skin >>

Types of exfoliators


There are three main types of exfoliators:

Scrubs: These products contain grainy particles that physically remove dead skin cells as you move the product around your face. These exfoliators range from large grains (salt or sugar scrubs) to texture you can barely detect (very fine grains of ground rice). Other products contain exfoliating beads, which are gentler on the skin.

Chemicals: Chemical exfoliators contain alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) -- substances found in fruit -- to loosen and dissolve the dead skin cells rather than scrub them away. They target deeper layers of skin by sinking into the skin, unlike scrubs, which focus only on surface cells.

Enzymes: These products dissolve the dead skin cells without any scrubbing, making them suitable for anyone with sensitive skin or rosacea. Look for products that contain papaya or pineapple.

Consider your skin type

Oily skin: Opt for a scrub, which also helps remove oil, dirt, makeup and other debris that can further clog pores.

Juice Beauty Green Apple Peel Full Strength

Our pick: St. Ives Fresh Skin Invigorating Apricot Scrub ($3.49)

Dry skin: Try a chemical exfoliator, which helps firm and tighten skin and minimizes fine lines and wrinkles.

Our pick: Juice Beauty Green Apple Peel Full Strength ($45)

Jurlique Fruit Enzyme Exfoliator

Sensitive skin: Opt for an enzyme exfoliator, which dissolves dead skin without scrubbing.

Our pick: Jurlique Fruit Enzyme Exfoliator ($45)

Exfoliating tips

  • Exfoliate at least once a week -- two to three times if you don't have sensitive skin.
  • Be gentle, especially when using scrubs.
  • If a product is irritating your skin, stop using it.
  • Moisturize following exfoliation so skin doesn't dry out.
  • Buy an exfoliating shower gel to get gorgeous skin all over.

Happy scrubbing!

More skin care advice

Skin care tips for women in their 30s
Best products to fight wrinkles
Moisturizing acne-prone skin


You skin type will mean everything when choosing the best exfoliator for your face. It's important to incorporate exfoliating into your beauty routine but it won't do you any good if you choose the wrong formula. That mishap will only hinder your journey to smooth, healthy-looking skin. So, make sure you consider your skin type for happy scrubbing.

Read more on the importance of exfoliation>>>


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