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3 Tips on How to Exfoliate Your Face

Healthy skin cell turnover plays a major role in the appearance and texture of our skin. When we experience oil build-up, blocked pores or dull skin, exfoliation can be the key to revealing a plumper, more radiant complexion. Before adjusting your skincare routine, it’s important to understand how exfoliators interact with the skin, how to exfoliate for your skin type and the types of exfoliating products you can begin to introduce. Read on for the benefits of incorporating exfoliators into your skincare regime and our favourite tips on how to remove dead skin from your face.

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Why should you exfoliate?

Our skin is constantly renewing itself: older skin cells expire and eventually shed from the outer layer of the skin, while new skin cells generate underneath. Exfoliating helps to remove the build-up of dead skin cells on the skin’s surface, uncovering brighter, healthier and more youthful-looking skin. Learning how to exfoliate skin means you can assist the skin cell turnover process to minimise clogged pores and blemishes, remove excess oil and slough away dead skin cells to reveal softer skin. Regular exfoliation helps to even out skin tone and smooth skin texture, thus improving the efficacy and absorption of other skincare products (and ease of makeup application).

Types of exfoliants

When determining how to exfoliate your face or body, you should first familiarise yourself with the different types of exfoliants and how they remove dirt and dead skin cells.

Physical exfoliants: this type of exfoliant uses friction to remove dirt and dead skin cells. Face or body scrub products that include microbeads, clay and other abrasive granules are common physical exfoliants. Dermaplaning and microdermabrasion are other types of physical exfoliants typically undertaken by a trained skincare professional.

Chemical exfoliants: these exfoliants rely on acidic ingredients to help loosen the bonds between dead skin cells, making it easier to wash them away without the need for scrubbing. Chemical exfoliants are typically found in cleansers, peel solutions and serums and they can be incorporated easily into your skincare habits.

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Now that you understand the two common types of exfoliants and some of their benefits, how do you exfoliate? Begin by finding an exfoliant that is suitable for your skin type and concerns. For instance, sensitive skin types may want to avoid physical exfoliants since scrubbing can further sensitise skin. Physical and chemical exfoliants also require different forms of application on the skin, so ensure you know how to use your exfoliator effectively and how often. And finally, exfoliants have the potential to be harsh on skin if used improperly, so pay close attention to avoid over-exfoliating. Let’s investigate these exfoliating tips in more depth.



There’s a common misconception that exfoliators are only useful for certain skin types, but it’s possible for everyone to find the right product, learn how to exfoliate and achieve brightness and suppleness. Dry and sensitive skin types can reach for chemical exfoliants that also have skin-hydrating ingredients like glycerin and thermal spring water. 

Some with sensitive skin find physical exfoliants too harsh for the delicate skin of their face, so you might want to reserve these types of exfoliants for your body. You might want to opt for a serum to achieve your light exfoliating needs instead, so look for a product with multiple benefits. Our Vitamin C 10 Brightening Serum which lightly exfoliates with salicylic acid, brightens and softens skin.

Alternatively, oily and mild acne-prone skin types can consider something more concentrated and enriched with beta-liphydroxy like Effaclar Anti-Acne Salicylic Acid Serum.



Correctly applying an exfoliant can be a little more nuanced than other skincare products. For instance, you might be asking, ‘do you cleanse or exfoliate first’ or ‘do you apply to wet or damp skin’? It’s important to closely follow product instructions on your facial scrub, leave-on micro-peeling serum or gentle face wash.

As a general guide, exfoliants should always be applied after cleansing. If you’re using an exfoliating serum, ensure you use the recommended number of drops and massage gently into the skin with clean fingers. Physical exfoliants like our Effaclar Micro-Peeling Gel Cleanser work best in conjunction with water. If you’re using this exfoliant on your body, a shower with warm water can help to open up your pores to improve exfoliation and leave the skin feeling soft, clean and refreshed.

Always follow exfoliation on your face or body with a hydrating moisturiser – oily and mild acne-prone skin types will particularly enjoy our non-comedogenic Effaclar Duo (+) Anti-Acne Moisturiser. Most importantly, always ensure you apply a broad-spectrum SPF like Anthelios Invisible Fluid Facial Sunscreen SPF 50+. This will help protect your newly surfaced skin from sun damage.


Apply 20 minutes before sun exposure. Sunscreen is only one part of sun protection so wear protective clothing and seek shade. Avoid prolonged sun exposure. Reapply every 2 hours and after swimming, towelling and perspiring in accordance with directions.



Armed with the knowledge of how to exfoliate your face at home, we suggest introducing products slowly so your skin can acclimate – especially if you are new to using exfoliants or experience skin sensitivity. How often you exfoliate depends on your skin type, but La Roche-Posay recommends introducing products 1-2 times per week before gradually increasing to more frequent use. However, this is not a one-size-fits-all rule, since you should always pay close attention to how your skin is behaving with the introduction of exfoliants. 

While more tolerant skin types may be able to use chemical exfoliants twice daily or physical exfoliants a few times per week, other skin types can be more sensitive. If you have recently had a professional exfoliating treatment or are experiencing sun burn, mild rosacea or mild eczema-prone skin, we suggest skipping exfoliants and consulting your healthcare professional for tailored advice.

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