Exfoliating Treatments for Individual Skin Types

To exfoliate or not to exfoliate, this is the beauty question of late.

It’s a touchy subject, with many people voicing various opinions.

But for us folks at the Naked Chemist, feel it is an important part of your beauty routine.

Your skin is the body’s largest organ and is constantly renewing itself; dead cells can accumulate on the surface, leaving your skin looking dull and lacklustre.

The very action of exfoliation resurfaces and stimulates your blood flow, infusing your skin with nutrients through its rich network of capillaries, making your skin appear healthy and glowing.

So whether your concerned about sensitive skin or looking for a dry skin boost, let us help you, with a tailored exfoliation plan for your particular skin type.

Exfoliation know-how

Exfoliants on the market today currently run in two lanes: there is physical and chemical. Both of which technically do the same thing—remove dead skin and debris—yet they do so in completely different ways.

You also want to make sure you’re doing it right; good exfoliation will allow your serums and moisturisers, to penetrate well into your skin.

Want to learn more about what is exfoliation? Follow the link to learn more.

Why exfoliate your skin?

  • softens fine lines
  • it unclogs pores
  • removes dry patches
  • encourages collagen synthesis
  • promotes cellular turnover
  • gives skin a vibrant, glowing complexion
  • retains moisture levels, in the top layer of the skin
  • makes your skin appear fuller, plumper, and firmer

Sensitive skin

If you have sensitive skin, you don’t need us to tell you, to much physical scrubbing can make you look like the revenge of the killer tomato; in saying that, whilst you need to be gentle with your skin, it doesn’t mean you should skip the exfoliating step altogether.

Avoid products that contain large gritty grains, as these can be too abrasive, instead, opt for very gentle powders or peeling gommages, that will gently slough off any dry, dead skin cells.

We are big fans of gentle enzymatic peels for sensitive skin — this article is a great read if you consider a peel, but not sure whether your skin can tolerate it.

Dry skin

Dry skin is similar to sensitive skin because the cells that adhere to the surface are dehydrated and fragile.

Creamy scrubs with spherical beads that won’t tear your skin are ideal; they will moisturise as you exfoliate.

Along with enzymatic peels and gommage formulas, you may also want to introduce low strength alpha hydroxy acids into your routine, for a mild exfoliation which is not overly irritating. Lactic acid has larger molecules that don’t penetrate too deep into your skin, and it is extremely hydrating.

Normal skin

If you are one of the lucky few to have normal skin, then we applaud you. Predictably, there are more a lot more options for you here.

Numerous products are suitable for this skin type; from exfoliating washes to gentle peels containing glycolic, salicylic, or lactic acid—or a combination of all of these that can bring even more benefits to your skin a beautifying boost is required.

Even though your skin is normal and more durable don’t be overzealous with the scrubbing and massaging, which can take your skin from normal to sensitive in no time.

Oily/Combination skin

If you have an oily/combination skin type, a beta-hydroxy acid formula is the best option. They are oil-soluble and can help to break down excessive surface debris and oils in the follicular wall. An exfoliating clay mask is also a great option, that will simultaneously exfoliate whilst pulling out debris and impacted plugs from the follicular wall.

The important point here is not to use reusable devices like the Clarisonic brush and cloths; these can harbour bacteria from the previous treatment and actually make your breakouts or acne worse. If acne is a concern, we have put together an entire article on chemical peels for acne.

Mature skin

Whilst more of a skin condition then a skin type, we feel a more mature skin is worth mentioning. This skin concern usually copes better with peeling exfoliators that contain gentle fruit acids to slough away dead skin cells and improve the texture of your skin.

A gentle occasional chemical peel with alpha-hydroxy acids will help to lighten lines and restore skin to a youthful glow. Is also a good option.

Facial discs that you swipe across your skin are great; they gently peel away dead skin cells, debris and excess oil or dirt from the surface of your skin.


As you can see, there are many methods to choose from, including exfoliating powders all the way through to deeper peels, to help with stubborn acne, The method you choose all depends on your skin type, and skin condition.

But with great power comes great responsibility. We never recommend exfoliating more than once a week—certainly if you use a chemical peel on your skin. That should be done monthly max.

For those of you who require further reading, this is a great article on exfoliation.

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