Finding Balance: How Often Should I Exfoliate?

Today we’re diving into all things focused around exfoliation.  As an esthetician, I get asked this a lot. I do want to start this by saying there are a numerous things we would need to discuss first to better understand the current state of your skin. This is why tailoring your skincare routine to your unique skin type is so important! Let’s walk through this journey together and help guide you to find the perfect balance for your skin.

Understanding Your Skin Type

Please note that these are general guidelines for exfoliating with your skin type. It is best to consult with an esthetician with your specific skin concerns for the optimal results with exfoliating.

1. Normal Skin: Normal skin types generally has a healthy well-balanced level of oil and hydration. Exfoliating 2-3 times a week with a gentle exfoliant helps maintain a healthy glow without overstimulating the skin. Hands down, our best exfoliant to recommend for normal skin looking for anti-aging benefits is the Triple Acid Peel. While the name might be a little misleading, this is not the same as an in office peel you reach from your esthetician. This is a gentle leave on peel that encourages cell turnover, targets fine lines & wrinkles and promotes healthy collagen synthesis.

I like to sandwich a few drops after my hydrating serum and apply it underneath my moisturizer. This feels amazing with Power Lift!

2. Oily Skin: For those with oily skin, exfoliating 3 times a week is ideal. Again these are general guidelines, but we’ll talk about the specifics with specific skin concerns. Look for products containing salicylic acid to unclog pores and control excess oil production. I really like the Therapeutic Cleansing Pads for teenage skin prone to breakouts.

You can even cut the pads in half if you feel one full pad is too much

I also highly recommend the 2% salicylic acid Blemish Control Cleanser as a nightly gentle treatment and cleanse all in one. They’re super easy to use and affordable. One thing people don’t think about as often about oilier/more breakout prone skin tend to have a slower natural exfoliation rate than someone who has more balanced, normal skin. This is something to keep in mind when it comes to choosing what kind of exfoliant to use.

Gentle enough for oilier skin types to use twice daily. If dryness occurs, you can always back down. Start slow and gradually work up to twice daily as your skin adjusts

3. Dry Skin: If you have dry skin, aim for exfoliating 1-2 times a week using a hydrating exfoliant with ingredients like glycolic acid. This helps remove dead skin cells without stripping away essential moistureYou can use this 1-2 week after cleansing on a clean cotton flat which is super easy to incorporate.. One of my favorite exfoliants for dry skin is the Glyco Solution. You can use this 1-2 week after cleansing on a clean cotton flat which is super easy to incorporate.

Apply to a clean cotton flat and gently swipe across face

4. Combination Skin: Combination skin requires a delicate balance. Focus on exfoliating 2-3 times a week, adjusting the frequency based on the specific needs of different areas (e.g., more often for oily zones, less for dry areas). I really like the Lemon Cream Scrub for combo skin.

Love using this in the shower too on the neck, torso, & back of arms!

5. Sensitive Skin: Sensitive skin requires a gentle touch. Opt for exfoliating 1-2 times a week with a mild, fragrance-free exfoliant. Be attentive to any signs of irritation and adjust accordingly. If your skin can handle micro beads, I really enjoy the Brand New Day once a week for sensitive skin. It doubles as a mask and scrub so it will also help give some brightening from the naturally occurring enzymes in the formula.

I love how this feels on the skin! Sometimes I leave it on for a few minutes to double as a mask in the shower

The Art of Exfoliation

There are two different kinds of exfoliation

1. Physical Exfoliants: Ideal for removing surface debris, physical exfoliants use granules to manually slough off dead skin cells. You can use clean hands, light movements while avoiding excessive pressure, especially if you have sensitive or reactive skin. Typically these products are identified, and often get a bad wrap, with products that have gentle beads.

2. Chemical Exfoliants: Chemical exfoliants are probably exfoliants you know and love. These products contain ingredients like alpha and beta hydroxy acids to dissolve dead skin cells. These are often gentler than physical exfoliants and can be more effective for certain skin types. Start with a lower concentration and gradually increase as your skin builds tolerance. It’s so easy to over do exfoliating and it ends up doing more harm than good.

Signs You’re Over-Exfoliating:

  • Increased sensitivity
  • Redness or inflammation
  • Excessive dryness
  • Breakouts

If you notice any of these signs, reassess your exfoliation routine and consider adjusting the frequency or type of exfoliant. We’re always here to help re-evaluate your regimen to help adjust the frequency. Send your esthetician a chat on the mobile app to get your best plan of action. And, if you don’t already have it SkinForYou it is available on Google Play and the App Store.

As an esthetician my ultimate advice is: listen to your skin and discover what works best for you. Less is truly more when it comes to exfoliation! Your complexion is a journey, not a destination 💗

Don’t forget to consult with an esthetician and take our five minute skincare quiz for personalized advice on your complexion needs!