Best Ways To Exfoliate: Top Skin Care Expert Recommendations For 5 Skin Types

If your skin is looking tired and dull and you’re lacking confidence, it might be time to try exfoliation. StudyFinds is here to help with a list of the best ways to exfoliate based on five skin types — sensitive, oily, dry, combination and mature. But first, you should know that according to DermaFix, there are a few different kinds of exfoliation: physical, mechanical and chemical. 

  • Physical exfoliants contain small particles, such as coffee or sugar granules, and require manually rubbing the product onto skin. Other examples include face mitts and textured washcloths. 
  • Mechanical exfoliants are machines or devices that exfoliate skin. Think: microdermabrasion and laser treatments.
  • Chemical exfoliants include acid-based ingredients, such as AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids), BHAs (beta hydroxy acids) and fruit enzymes. 

As mentioned, taking care of your skin can work wonders for boosting confidence too. A survey of 2,000 American women 35 and older looked at their skin care journeys and found that nearly three-quarters (72 percent) say their confidence is impacted by the way their skin looks. And, 54 percent of women think that it can be difficult to find skin care products suitable for their skin type, which could be why one in six don’t have a skin care routine at all.

Now that we’ve covered the exfoliant types, let’s talk about the best ways to exfoliate for each skin type, according to skin care experts and leading websites. Read on to see how to choose the right method for you, and please leave your own suggestions in the comments below.

The List: Best Ways To Exfoliate, According To Skin Care Pros

1. How To Exfoliate Sensitive Skin

DermStore recommends fruit enzymes, part of the chemical exfoliant group above, for sensitive skin types.

“If you have very sensitive skin, it is often recommended to look for facial exfoliants that are enzyme-based. These enzymes come from a natural source, like fruits, and work in the same way as acid-based exfoliators but at a much slower pace, so it allows for an extremely safe and gentle exfoliating process.”

Sensitive skin can also benefit from the gentle touch of a washcloth. 

“If you’re sensitive, skip the scrubs altogether, and keep it simple with a washcloth … Move the cloth across your face in small, circular motions to soften any flakes so they can be easily washed away on their own,” Vogue writes.

2. How To Exfoliate Oily Skin 

Chemical and mechanical exfoliation is recommended for oily skin by the American Academy of Dermatology: “Those with oily, thicker skin may want to use stronger chemical treatments or mechanical exfoliation.”

Physical exfoliants, such as scrubs, are also a go-to for oily skin. 

Oily skin may have an extra layer of buildup on the surface that manual exfoliation can remove. Gently use an exfoliator or scrub in circular motions for best results,” Healthline writes.

3. How To Exfoliate Dry Skin

Be careful not to overdo exfoliation when it comes to dry skin. 

Medical News Today says, “Washcloths provide gentle exfoliation that is not too harsh on the skin. Washcloths may be preferable for people with sensitive, dry, or acne-prone skin. This is because other mechanical exfoliation methods or strong chemical exfoliators may irritate the skin and cause breakouts. For exfoliation, a person can dampen a regular washcloth and use short, light strokes against the skin.” 

Gentle acid-based exfoliants, such as AHAs, are A-OK, too, according to MYSA: “Opt for a chemical exfoliant with AHAs. Namely, glycolic acid will help remove dead cells sitting on the surface of the skin without stripping it of its moisture. Dry skin tends to be more sensitive, so start slowly once a week and increase the frequency gradually.”

4. How To Exfoliate Combination Skin 

Expert tips: Chemical exfoliator in the summer. Physical exfoliator in the winter. Exfoliate mainly in the T-zone.

“Exfoliate 1-2 times a week; you can change up the type of exfoliator depending on the season. During summer, skin might become a bit oilier, and you can opt for an AHA/BHA. During winter, a physical exfoliator might be better,” Nordstrom writes.

“If you have combination skin (i.e., your T-zone is oily and your cheeks are dry), you should keep the majority of your exfoliation to the T-zone area. You should follow exfoliation with moisturizer applied slowly to the dry skin areas and sparsely to the oily areas,” HealthySkin recommends.”

5. How To Exfoliate Mature Skin 

Mature skin can definitely benefit from exfoliating, according to the skin care pros at Tracie Martyn: “Regular exfoliation is one of the most effective ways to keep older skin looking youthful and bright. As we age, our skin’s natural exfoliation process slows down and causes a buildup of dead, dull skin. Exfoliating helps speed up cellular turnover, soften fine lines and wrinkles and diminish hyperpigmentation.” 

Good Housekeeping focuses on turning back the clock, too, writing, “For mature skin, choose a chemical exfoliant with AHAs, which target anti-aging by boosting radiance, evening tone and smoothing wrinkles.”

So, that’s what the experts say. What do you think? Let us know about your skin type and how you exfoliate in the comments! 

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Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations.


  1. I’m 73 years old and have always used a sugar scrub twice a month. My skin looks like a 40 year old. Highly recommend it with a good moisturizer and a egg white mask a couple times per week

  2. Thank u very much for the information you ve given in your article. I am someone who has been very particular about my skin while growing up ,until I got caught with Acne on my face. I treated it for over a period of 6yrs with dermatologists, chemical peeling and different creams and moisturisers ,until I was able to figure that BIO treatment was my safe ,ie using natural products and ingredients from the kitchen such as honey ,tumeric ,milk yogurt and cornstarch etc,and finally using the dermabrasion method to peel off the cells .These has taken me a long way to recover y.I ve had to open a SPA inorder to showcase my experience with natural remedies. Please help me,recommend a product for my under eye ,on the chicks that have dark discoloration after peeling 7yrs ago .Thank u once again

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