Everything You Need to Know About Exfoliation Types

by Alana Boesi

Did you know that exfoliation can help you get the radiant skin you’ve always wanted? Have you ever felt like you wished the texture and pigmentation of your skin was more smooth and even?

I’m going to share with you why exfoliation is one of the secrets to looking like you have flawless skin. It’s all about removing dead skin cells from the surface of your skin in order to reveal fresh cells. This fresh layer of skin looks more youthful and radiant!

In this article, we’ll talk about how to exfoliate properly, the benefits and dangers for your skin, the best types of exfoliation for your skin type, and how to find the right product for your skin.

You’ve come to the perfect place to find the information you need to know before adding this method to your skincare routine. Just keep on reading!

Exfoliation is More Than Just Skin Deep

woman with exfoliator on half face

Exfoliation can l help you achieve better skin, and the confidence it brings can open the door to a lot of other benefits. I know the embarrassment and fear of blushing when the attention is on me because I experienced this when I was in college. When I feel good about how I look, I also feel more confident. That’s why many people spend so much time on grooming and makeup. 

The way you feel about yourself plays a big role in confidence and self-love. The key is to love yourself first in order for you to love other people in the best way. Being confident about your skin will help you overcome self-consciousness and feel more courageous in expressing yourself. The fear of the heat and blushing in your cheeks will become less of a barrier when the attention is on you. This can bring more opportunities to you in both your personal life and career.

If you use makeup, exfoliation can also make your makeup look flawless by getting rid of dry, flaky skin and creating a smoother surface for makeup to glide on. And let’s be honest, who doesn’t feel confident when their makeup looks amazing? However, if you are not a makeup person and you want to find a way to wear less makeup, exfoliation could also be the answer! It’s simple, exfoliation = amazing skin = more confidence = better life quality.

What is Exfoliation?

woman's face with exfoliation pad

Exfoliation washes away dead skin cells from the surface of the skin. Skin cells live for about 30 days, and once they die, they naturally fall off to make room for the new skin cells. Sometimes the skin doesn’t shed these dead cells completely, and this is when exfoliation is beneficial. 

There are three types of exfoliation, which we’ll get into below, and it is important to know how each of them work in order to choose the best method for yourself. When you don’t exfoliate properly you can end up harming your skin’s natural moisture barrier. But don’t worry, we’re here to tell you everything you need to know about exfoliation so you can have a good skin day every day!

Why Should I Exfoliate My Skin?

First of all, why is exfoliating important? Exfoliation supports cellular turnover. This means that it supports the life cycle of cells by loosening the bonds between dead skin cells, allowing them to rinse off. This brings fresh and healthy skin cells to the surface, revealing more radiant skin!

chemical exfoliant removes glue that holds dead skin together

In addition, when dead skin cells are not removed from the surface of your skin, they can end up clogging your pores. Clogged pores can cause acne and blackheads which are extremely hard to get rid of and also incredibly annoying!

Exfoliation can also prepare your skin in order to absorb skincare better and more effectively. If you have dead skin cells clogging your pores, all that skincare you have invested in, will not absorb into your skin properly. 

Exfoliation will make your makeup look better too! By prepping your skin and making it smoother, preventing breakouts and dry, flaky skin, and helping skincare products penetrate more deeply. Exfoliation can help make your skin a clean canvas for you to express yourself with makeup and look flawless. 

woman shaving legs

In addition, exfoliation can also help you get a smoother shave. It removes dead skin cells that are trapped in the hair follicles that cause ingrown hairs. It prepares the skin around the hair follicle for shaving and encourages normal hair growth. 

However, if you are going to exfoliate before shaving, make sure to use a gentle exfoliator. The razor will also act as a physical exfoliator and using both can end up being too harsh on the skin.

The Dangers of Over-Exfoliation

With all these benefits, it might be tempting to exfoliate more often than you should. Keep in mind that you need to be careful because you run the risk of over-exfoliating! Some signs that you are over-exfoliating are dry skin, irritation, redness, inflammation, and breakouts. 

Over-exfoliation can disrupt the skin’s natural moisture barrier, which leads to dehydrated skin. See our article Reducing Transepidermal Water Loss | How to Heal Your Moisture Barrier for more on this. Exfoliating too often will create dry patches and make your skin look dull instead of glowy. It also disrupts the skin’s acid mantle, which helps maintain a healthy level of bacteria and pH balance.

woman with dry skin on face looking with magnifier

In addition, over-exfoliation can irritate sensitive skin types and worsen Rosacea and Eczema symptoms by causing more breakouts, inflammation, and dryness. I know because I’ve been there! Exfoliating with a strong product every day is NOT a good idea!

While exfoliation can help remove the bacteria that can contribute to breakouts, over-exfoliating can also reduce the number of good bacteria that keep the skin healthy. Exfoliation makes your skin look more radiant but overdoing it can make your skin more prone to breakouts because there are fewer “good bacteria.” It’s all about maintaining a good balance. 

Three Types of Exfoliation

So, how do you exfoliate properly and what type of exfoliation is right for you? Let’s start with the method that most people know of, which is physical exfoliation.

Physical Exfoliation

woman with coffee grounds on face exfoliation

Physical exfoliation consists of small granules that manually scrub away dead skin cells and leave your skin feeling smooth. Physical exfoliation can also be done with different tools like brushes or facial razors.

Facial razors are small razors that are specifically designed for the face. They have a shape that makes them easy to control and navigate over your face. They not only shave away the little hairs on your face, but they also get rid of the dead skin cells on the surface of the skin. 

But why would you shave away those tiny hairs that are barely noticeable? Well, your skin will look much more glowy and smoother, so you can apply makeup on an even surface or just show off your bare, radiant skin.

Physical exfoliation can be pretty harsh on the skin, which is why if you have sensitive skin you should probably stay away from physical exfoliation or just do it once a week. A great product for this type of exfoliation is ORS’s gentle Lavender Cream Exfoliator which uses Jojoba beads in a moisturizing formula to exfoliate the skin without drying or irritating.

Chemical Exfoliation

woman having orange pumpkin mask applied to face

Another type of exfoliation is chemical. The most common chemical exfoliators are Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) and Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs). AHAs are water-soluble acids that gently peel the dead skin cells from the face, evening out the skin tone and smoothing the skin. One example of an AHA is glycolic acid. This acid is used in ORS’s Pumpkin Mask to reveal fresher skin. 

On the other side, BHAs are oil-soluble acids that help clean the pores more deeply. These two types of exfoliation are considered to be gentler than physical exfoliators and they can be used more often. ORS’s Clarifying Toner is our favorite product that has a combination of different AHAs.

Enzyme Exfoliation

Enzymes usually work on the top layer where the dead skin cells are and not the underlying layers. For this reason, it works better for people with sensitive skin or skin conditions like Rosacea and Eczema. ORS Pumpkin Mask is the best enzyme exfoliator to prevent clogged pores and reveal radiant skin. 

Last but not least, we have enzyme exfoliation. Enzyme exfoliation comes from fruits like papaya, pineapple, and pumpkin and is the most gentle exfoliation type. It works by breaking down the matrix that holds skin cells together and digesting the dead skin cells. With enzyme exfoliation, it is less likely that you end up over-exfoliating because of how gentle it is.

Before I studied skincare in college, I didn’t know about the best types of exfoliation for my skin type. What I learned was that different types of exfoliation can be better depending on the person. Here’s what I learned.

How to Choose the Best Types of Exfoliation for Your Skin Type

In order to exfoliate properly, you first have to consider your skin type. If you have sensitive skin, you need to use a gentle exfoliator type that will not irritate or cause more redness on your skin like enzyme exfoliation. If you have dry skin, you can step up to a chemical exfoliator that is gentle enough to avoid causing more dryness, but strong enough to sweep away more dead skin cells. 

skin types oily dry combination

Oily skin can benefit from a physical exfoliator because it removes the excess oil and dirt on the surface of the skin. When it comes to normal and combination skin, you can try using all the different methods or products that combine them until you find the one that best suits your skin type. But remember, start out slowly with a new exfoliator type so you don’t end up over-exfoliating.

When shopping for new products, you also need to consider what part of the body you are exfoliating. Usually, with the body you can use harsher exfoliators because the skin is not as thin and sensitive as the face. When it comes to the face, make sure you are using a product that is specifically designed for the face and that is more gentle than body exfoliators.

Try out different methods until you find the best types of exfoliation for your skin type on the face and body, which may be different.

When to Exfoliate

In order to achieve the best results after exfoliating, you need to apply your skincare or body care right afterward in order to avoid irritating or drying the skin. Since your pores are clean, your skin will be able to absorb your skincare products more effectively. You also need to use sunscreen every day, but especially after you exfoliate because the skin might be more sensitive to UV rays and prone to get sunburnt. Similarly, don’t exfoliate after a long day in the sun for the same reasons. 

Also, if you want to exfoliate in order to get a smoother and closer shave, you need to do it before. Exfoliating before shaving should be done in order to prep the skin and hair follicles for you to get the perfect shave. 

In order to make sure you don’t over-exfoliate, you can develop a routine and set 1-2 days of the week for when you will exfoliate. Finally, if you have an event, make sure to exfoliate a couple of days before and not right before the event. This will avoid the risk of having red or irritating skin on that special day.

Time to Try Some New Exfoliating Products!

exfoliating Pumpkin Mask with pumpkins

Exfoliating can provide a lot of benefits to your skin and help you feel good about how it looks. It has helped me improve my confidence and to achieve radiant and glowy skin. Always remember that if you exfoliate too frequently, you run the risk of over-exfoliating, and that can end up harming the skin. 

Experiment with the different methods to make sure you are using the best types of exfoliation for your skin type. Follow the instructions on your product about how often you should use it, and develop a routine accordingly. Also, take into consideration the different types of exfoliation when looking for a product, based on your skin type needs and concerns.

If you do it right, exfoliation is a great tool for achieving the skin you’ve always wanted to have, so don’t be afraid to use it. If you want to shop ORS exfoliating products, go to organicradianceskincare.com and find the perfect product for you! Don’t forget to subscribe to our email list to get more skincare tips and specials on ORS skincare products.

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  2. What Does It Mean to Exfoliate? Why You Should and How to Start https://www.healthline.com/health/beauty-skin-care/meaning-of-exfoliating
  3. 7 Benefits of Exfoliation You Didn’t Know You Were Getting https://www.eccotique.com/blogs/news/why-is-exfoliation-so-important-for-your-skin
  4. Halt the Face Acids: Here’s How to Know If You’re Over-Exfoliating https://www.healthline.com/health/beauty-skin-care/over-exfoliating#TOC_TITLE_HDR_1
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  6. Everything You Need to Know About Exfoliating Your Skin Safely https://www.healthline.com/health/how-to-exfoliate#when-to-stop
  7. How to Tell If You’re Over-Exfoliating Your Skin https://www.allure.com/story/skin-over-exfoliation-symptoms-treatments
  8. To Scrub, Slough, or Chemically Dissolve? Experts Weigh In on the Ultimate Guide to Winter Exfoliation https://www.vogue.com/article/skincare-mechanical-vs-chemical-vs-physical-exfoliation
  9. Why you might want to switch to an enzyme exfoliant https://www.russh.com/what-is-an-enzyme-exfoliant/
  10. HOW DO ENZYME EXFOLIANTS WORK? https://labmuffin.com/how-do-enzyme-exfoliants-work/

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