How To Exfoliate Like A Skincare Pro

Hi dolls! When it comes to skincare, one of the most VITAL aspects of your skincare routine – no matter your skin type – is exfoliating. Exfoliating involves removing the oldest dead skin from the outermost layer of the skin through chemical or mechanical means. So, what exactly are mechanical and chemical exfoliation? Let me enlighten you.

To break it down:
Mechanical exfoliation includes using products such as microdermabrasion, pumices, sponges, electric or handheld brushes, and facial scrubs. The word ‘mechanical’ basically means physically exfoliating – being able to see the exfoliating component in products, i.e. with the Clairsonic Mia, you can see that the brush will exfoliate, as with facials scrubs you can see the beads or grains that will exfoliate.

Chemical exfoliation includes just that, chemicals. There are two types of chemical exfoliators; Alpha Hydroxy Acid(AHA) and Beta Hydroxy Acid(BHA). AHAs are acids derived from natural substances such as sugar, milk(lactic acid), grapes, ect. & are a great way to rejuvenate the skin. The most known AHAs are Lactic, Glycolic, Citric, Malic, and Tartaric Acids which are widely spread on the skincare spectrum for many different types of problems as they promote the turnover of new skin cells. BHAs are salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide – which are preferred for oil, acne-prone skin as salicylic acid is an oil-loving acid that help clean out clogged pores.

Both types of exfoliation can be combined for the ultimate rejuvenation & transformation of the skin.

Clogged pores can be the main cause of breakouts & irritation due to a lack of exfoliation. Unfortunately, a basic cleanser will not do the trick and may even trap oil & dirt in the pores when they are not exfoliated prior. A personal favorite way to exfoliate of mine is a cleansing scrub. My holy grail scrub is the Origins GinZing Refreshing Scrub, but currently I am using the Biore Baking Soda Cleansing Scrub which is perfect for combination skin. Do not exfoliate more than once or twice a week unless you are using a gentle scrub which can be used once daily. Overexfoliating is definitely an unknown problem for many people, and is an issue I have recently ran into because it is very easy to not realize you are doing so. When you overexfoliate, the skin will become irritated & you can end up with increased redness, sensitivity, and breakouts.

How do you treat overexfoliated skin, you ask? Here’s how:

Firstly, put down the exfoliant! As much as you may feel like you need or want to, LEAVE IT ALONE! Instead, gravitate towards gentle cleansers such as CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser($11,, CeraVe Foaming Cleanser($11, or Dermalogica UltraCalming Cleanser($37, If you have irritation of the hair follicles, Cortizone-10($6, applied twice daily may just be your lifesaver(resolution may not occur for three to five days of application). An extra pampering addition to your exfoliant-free days is a gentle or calming face mask. I recommend the First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Instant Oatmeal Mask($24,, REN Evercalm Ultra Comforting Rescue Mask($38,, or the Yes To Cucumbers Calming Sheet Mask($3,

Here I’m going to list some of my personal favorite exfoliants for face & body, both mechanical and chemical.

1. Clarisonic Mia 2 Skin Clearing System w/ Radiance Brush Head(Mechanical)

2. OleHenriksen Power Peel Transforming Facial System(Chemical & mechanical system)

3. Origins GinZing Refreshing Scrub(Mechanical)

4. Biore Baking Soda Cleansing Scrub(Mechanical)

5. Peter Thomas Roth FIRMx Peeling Gel(Chemical)

6. Formula 10.0.6 Get Your Glow On Skin Brightening Peel-Off Mask(Chemical)

7. Caress Tahitian Renewal Exfoliating Body Scrub(Mechanical)

8. Frank Body Peppermint and Coconut Coffee Scrubs(Mechanical)

9. Tree Hut Moroccan Rose Shea Sugar Scrub(Mechanical)


What are YOUR favorite exfoliants? Have you tried any of the ones I have listed? Let me know below!

Grace Michelle

Follow Me on Insta: @gracemichellle

Christina Koop

Author: Christina Koop

Christina is a fun loving, trend oriented millennial with an eye for trend spotting and digital marketing. In her spare time, she is usually found with friends, reading the next marketing tech book, or simply with her husband relaxing and enjoying all that life has to offer her in NC.

  • Eden Frost

    Awesome! I never really thought that much about all the different forms of exfoliating! I love the products you recommend. I have some at home that I have never even tried.

  • Michelle Lefler Jarvis

    I’ve been using a daily scrub that’s supposed to gently exfoliate my skin and then I use a mask once a week.

  • Love this!! Especially the breakdown of the Alpha & Beta Hydroxy Acids, it’s really helpful. When I’m buying products I find it really confusing.

    Thanks for putting this together!

  • Evelyn Reese

    Great information of taking care of our skin. I love the detailed breakdown of the AHA’s and the products to use for overused exfoliating.

  • Tracy @

    I make my own facewash and moisturizer and usually the only exfoliation I do is with a towel. I like to keep it simple and use natural products.