Last updated: September 1, 2021

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There are few things in life that give us more pleasure than seeing our own healthy, smooth skin. The use of exfoliants has become our best ally in getting there. Exfoliation is one of the oldest cosmetic treatments, even Cleopatra was given baths of fermented milk to pamper and exfoliate her skin in what was, essentially, a lactic acid peel.

Fortunately, exfoliants (sometimes called "scrubs") have improved over time and today we can use the most efficient exfoliation techniques to achieve fantastic results. The main objective of exfoliants is to eliminate dead skin cells that accumulate on top of the superficial layer of the skin, and regenerate the surface of our skin.


  • Exfoliants are cosmetic products designed to clean and remove impurities from the face and body. With the passage of time, dead skin cells accumulate on the top layers of the skin, which causes that smooth and fresh look to become a little dull. That's where exfoliation comes in.
  • Skin normally renews its cells over a natural cycle of 28 days, but over the years this process becomes less effective and slower. Exfoliation, also known as peeling, or scrubbing, aids the completion of this process, helping to regenerate the skin and leave it softer and brighter.
  • For noticeable results without damaging the skin, consider factors such as your skin type, the ingredients and quality of the exfoliant, or its formulation, so that you choose the one that suits you best. Want to enjoy healthy, soft and younger-looking skin, what are you waiting for? Let's get started with exfoliation!

The Best Exfoliant: Our Picks

When it comes to skin care products, we can be very demanding and do not buy just any old product to put on our face. We want the best. To help you choose the best exfoliant for you, we have selected for the best products that can be found today in the market. Check them out:

Shopping Guide: Everything You Should Know About Exfoliants

There is no better weapon in the world of skin care than knowledge. Thus, the more we know about exfoliants, the better use we will make of them and the better results we will achieve. Today, we aim to answer the most frequent questions about exfoliants so that you'll have no questions left unanswered.

The application method of exfoliants will vary depending on the type of product and the area of the body on which they are being used.
(Source: Puhhha: 78817433/

What advantages does using exfoliant have?

Dead cells that accumulate in the top layers of our skin can cause it to look drier and fail to "breathe" naturally. Therefore, the use of exfoliants on a regular basis can bring many benefits, both aesthetically for healthier and more refined skin.

Among the main benefits of exfoliants is the removal of dead skin cells, the improvement of the results of other care products - since cleaner skin absorbs better - and the increase of elastin and collagen in the skin, which prevent aging. In addition, exfoliants reduce spots and equalize pH.

Paz TorralbaDirector of The Beauty Concept
"Starting at 30-35 years old the cell renewal process slows down and you need to help the skin by accelerating the process with a gentle exfoliant."

What types of exfoliants are available?

Exfoliants are classified according to their composition and mode of use, and we can separate them into two main types. First, there are physical or mechanical exfoliants, whose means of exfoliation is friction. Second are chemical exfoliants, formulated from acids or enzymes and which are used without scrubbing or friction.

Within each of the two main groups of exfoliants there are different formats. The type of exfoliant we choose will depend on the type of skin we have. In addition, there is a third group, less well-known, which is that of enzymatic exfoliants. These are included in chemical exfoliants and are used mostly in masks.

Features Physical or mechanical exfoliants Chemical exfoliants
Function Eliminate dead cells by friction of granules on the skin. Eliminate dead cells without the need for friction on the skin.
Format Sponge, pumice stone, mask or cream. Tonic, cream, cleanser, serum or mask.
Composition Natural with grains of salt or sugar, bamboo, vegetable fibers or oat flakes. Synthetic with nylon or polyethylene. Hydroxy acids: glycolic (from sugar cane), citric, lactic, tartaric and malic.
Type of skin recommended Oily skin. Sensitive skin.

Are exfoliants only used on the face?

There are many people who think that exfoliation treatments are only for facial skin, but this is not at all the case. Today there is a multitude of various specialized exfoliants for each area of the body. This variety improves the results, since we use the corresponding product for each area.

In addition to general facial and body exfoliants, there are exfoliants designed for arms, legs, feet, lips and scalp. The importance of using an exfoliant in each area of the body is that each one has a formula with a different "potency" adapted to the sensitivity of the skin in that area.

Exfoliating treatments, although beneficial to the skin, can be too aggressive if not used with caution.
(Source: Serezniy: 25735897/

How should I use an exfoliant?

The application of exfoliants can vary depending on the type and area of the body on which we will be using it. Therefore, it is important that you follow to the instructions on each package to ensure you use it correctly. However, there are some fundamental steps that are common to all exfoliants.

  • Before using the exfoliant, the skin should be properly prepared.It is advisable to wash the area you are going to exfoliate with soap and water to remove surface impurities.
  • It is important that you apply the exfoliant to wet skin,since moisture creates a protective barrier and lubricant that will reduce skin damage.
  • The exfoliant should be applied in small quantities.Spread it in circular movements with your hands or with the help of specific sponges or brushes.
  • Rinse the exfoliantwith plenty of cold water to close the pores after exfoliation and to obtain the best results.
  • Apply moisturizer on the exfoliated areato hydrate after treatment and prevent it from drying out.

How often can I use exfoliants?

The frequency with which an exfoliant should be used depends fundamentally on the type of skin you have. Exfoliation, despite having great benefits, can be a somewhat abrasive action on the skin, so it is not advisable to scrub too much as you don't want to weaken the dermis.

For normal or dry skin, it is recommended that you use an exfoliant once per week. If you have oily skin, this number can increase to twice per week, no more. However, for sensitive skin, it is not advisable to perform an exfoliation treatment more than once a month, as it can be counterproductive.

The most important purchase criteria when we want to buy a cosmetic product is our own skin type.
(Source: Elizaveta Galitckaia: 95317703/

What are peels, scrubs and polishes?

These three words, which sometimes sound so similar, are often interchanged when we talk about exfoliating. The three terms refer to exfoliation techniques, but with slight differences. We use "peels" to refer to the chemical exfoliant treatments performed at aesthetic centers.

"Scrub" is usually the name given to body scrubs, whose granules are usually larger. Finally, "polishes" are exfoliants that contain suspended micro-particles and combine mechanical and chemical exfoliation. We usually find them in a mask or gel format.

What precautions should I take when using exfoliants?

Exfoliating treatments, although beneficial to the skin, can be aggressive if not used with caution. It is very important to always use a suitable exfoliant for our skin type. To do this, it is recommended to test the scrub on a small area of skin to ensure that it does not produce a reaction.

In addition, it is important to use each exfoliant only on the specific area for which it was designed. For example, if you use body scrub on the face, it can cause skin damage.

Finally, it is recommended that you avoid applying exfoliants on wounds, scars or rashes to avoid irritation.

What are the most common mistakes in the use of exfoliants?

Using the exfoliant products correctly is not always easy. However, it is essential to achieving the best results. One of the most frequent mistakes we make is failing to moisten the area on which it is applied beforehand. It seems silly, but it is essential to avoid damage the skin.

Another common mistake in the use of exfoliants is to forget to moisturize. Applying moisturizer after exfoliation is essential to protect the skin after treatment and prevent it from becoming dry. It will do no good to exfoliate our skin to the point of being fresh, but vulnerable, if we do not hydrate and protect the skin again.

Shopping Criteria

There is nothing worse than the feeling of indecision when buying skin care products. But eliminating that hesitation is as simple as knowing the main features that we should look at when buying an exfoliant. When we find them, put it in the cart!! We have selected the 5 most important purchase criteria to help you find the best exfoliant for you.

  • Type of Skin
  • Area of the Body
  • Composition
  • Formula
  • Quality

Type of Skin

The most important purchase criteria when we are planning to buy a cosmetic product is your own skin type. In the case of exfoliants, this criterion becomes even more important, since it can be too aggressive for the skin if you do not use it correctly. If you know your skin, you will make the right choice.

Look closely at the instructions that appear on the container and make sure it is suitable for your skin type. As we mentioned before, the ideal exfoliants for sensitive skin are chemical exfoliants, while for oily skin a physical type will work better.

The exfoliation technique known as "peeling" helps regenerate the skin and leave it softer and cleaner.
(Source: Barbalini: 65815564/

Area of the Body

One of the most frequent questions related to the use of exfoliants is whether we can use them only on the face or if they are suitable for the rest of the body. We have verified that there are facial, body, foot and even lip scrubs. Therefore, this is another fundamental purchase criterion.

We must ensure that we use the appropriate exfoliant in each area of the body, in order to avoid possible reactions and not damage the skin more than necessary. If you follow all the indications of use of the specialists, you should not have any problem and you will get the desired results.


One of the things that concern us most when we buy skin products is its composition. Many times, exfoliants have among their ingredients some with strange names that we find it difficult to recognize and that we are afraid to use. Chemical exfoliants usually contain AHA (alpha hydroxy acids).

This chemical is soluble in water, so it does not penetrate deeply into the pores of the skin. Therefore, they are ideal for dry skin. Another common ingredient is BHA (beta hydroxy acids), which have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, and are ideal for sensitive skin.

It is always important to consider the composition of the exfoliant that we are going to use. And the more natural ingredients we find in it, the better. Especially for facial exfoliants, since this skin is more sensitive. Normally, body exfoliants can use stronger formulas.


The wide variety of exfoliants that we can find in the market offers us a huge range of possibilities. Also as for the formula. We have seen that there are exfoliants in cream, gel, mask, scrubber sponge, pumice, tonics and much more. With so many formulas, it is difficult to choose.

To know which formula suits us best, we must look at two aspects: comfort and preference. Performing an exfoliating treatment is a moment of relaxation and we will always enjoy more if our exfoliant is convenient for us to use. In addition, it is important that we like the exfoliant, in terms of texture, smell and results.


As with all the products we use on our skin, it is essential to consider quality. The higher the quality of the exfoliant, the lower the risk of causing skin damage or reactions. We must always look for quality skin care products.

We know that identifying the quality of a cosmetic product is not always easy. The simplest is to be guided by the opinions of specialists in the field. It is also recommended that you use name-branded products that we have already used before, as it can be an assurance that they will not damage our skin.


Exfoliating our skin to remove dead cells from the superficial layers is essential if we want our skin to look soft and healthy looking. Regular use of exfoliants provides numerous benefits, including reduction of the signs of aging, spot removal and pH regulation.

Depending on our skin type and the area of the body that we want to exfoliate, we need to choose a specific type of exfoliant. There are many to choose from, so it will be essential get to know our skin type so that we make the right choice. Caring for your skin has never been so simple.

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(Source of Featured Image: Puhhha: 84130191/