How Often Should You Exfoliate Your Face?

The fact that exfoliating your face is key for a healthy, radiant complexion is nothing new, but how often should you do it? Is there such a thing as too much of scrubbing and massaging in those alpha hydroxy acids for cell renewal? Believe me, you can overdo it, even if you have oily skin! You should exfoliate your face regularly, but how often really depends on your skin type.

Exfoliating is basically the use of some type of sloughing substance to stimulate and renew your cells. Dead skin cells and dirt are removed before they have the chance to clog pores making way for new, healthy cells. You can use a gritty (yet gentle when working on your face) substance such as jojoba beads or dried oats. Alpha hydroxy acids are also natural chemicals that are found in fruit, sugar cane, and milk which exfoliate the skin. They are found in both anti-aging and acne skin care products because they help to create a smoother complexion.

While regular scrubbing or using those AHAs is great for all skin types, you want to be careful how much you do it. For those with dry or sensitive skin, too much exfoliating can lead to irritation and more dryness. It will also strip away the skin's outer protective layer every time you do it, leaving you more vulnerable to the sun and photo aging.

With an oily complexion, the problem goes in the other direction. I am not sure if it is a reaction to the drying effect of exfoliating (the skin becomes drier so more oil is produced) or if it is the stimulation of your skin's oil glands, I have read both explanations, but either way, exfoliating your face every day is not a good thing for oily skin! I was using a daily facial scrub and started to notice my pores were getting larger and my skin always felt more oily than normal. I would desperately turn to my clay masks to suck out the extra oil, but this was probably making my skin worse because clay masks exfoliate.

So, how often should you exfoliate your face to have that beautiful, radiant, glowing look that this skin care step is supposed to create? For oily skin, once a week is enough. Skip the daily facial scrubs. For normal skin, you can use this technique every other day, just make sure you are protecting your skin from the sun. Try using a skin care product like a cleanser or moisturizer that has AHAs instead of scrubbing too often. Facial scrubs are great, but it seems they are too harsh to use all the time for delicate facial skin. For dry skin, once a week with a gentle product is plenty. 


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While I love my skin, I am not actually a dermatologist or a medical professional. The information on this site is not meant to treat or diagnose any health issues.