Is facial exfoliation for all skin types?


Exfoliation is often said to be an essential step in our beauty regime as it works to remove the dead skin cells on the epidermis, resulting in a clearer, smoother and more even-toned skin which has greater translucency.  In fact, regular exfoliation not only improves the surface appearance but the function of the skin as it allow better penetration of the active ingredients in toners, serums and moisturizers.  

There are two ways we can exfoliate.  Mechancial exfolliation is where the dead skin cells on our skin’s outermost surface are physically scrubbed off with mircobeads and microdermabrasion falls under this category too.Chemical exfoliation on the other hand uses alphahydroxy acids (AHAs), betahydroxy acids (BHAS), retinoids, fruit enzymes, salicylic or glycolic acid to loosen the glue-like substance that holds the skin cells together, thus allowing them to slough away.

While exfoliation do sound like good skincare, but is it for all skin types?  Apparently not, according to what I’ve gathered after reading The Skin Type solution by Leslie Baumann.

Sensitive skin
Those with sensistive skin should not exfoliate as the process of scrubbing may cause inflammation for such skin type.  Stick to using a soft washcloth to slough away dead skin.  If yours is sensitive and oily with acne, you may already be using prescription retinoids and that itself provides natural exfoliation.

Combination skin
Those with combination skin can choose either mechanical or chemical exfoliation and exfoliate 2 times a week to keep pores clean and trouble-free.  Anything more may induce sensitivity and lead to skin reddening.  Microdermabrasion can be done but again, should be in moderation.

Dry resistant skin
Those whose skin are dry and resistant can exfoliate either mechanically or chemically more frequently and can even go for microdermabrasion regularly to keep skin glowing and smooth.

Pigmented skin
But if you have pigmentation, exfoliation like microdermabrasion or chemical exfoliation may help to remove the superficial unevenly pigmented skin cells stuck on the surface but it is not possible to remove those deeper.  In fact, those with hyperpigmentation should exfoliate moderately as overexfoliation in some instances is said to aggravate pigmentation.

So while exfoliation provides great skin benefits, it does not work for all skin types.  Even if it is suitable for yours, I would say exfoliate with moderation. In addition, never use mechnical and chemical exfoliation together; pick one or the other as too much exfoliation may induce skin sensitivity and redness. 


  1. Tracy says:

    i am very happy after 2 sessions of microdermabrasion. it has helped control the breakout of acne and my face tone is more even now. for once my open pores are not noticeable ?

  2. Becky says:

    I have been using a mild retiniods and find that gentle exfoliation with a washcloth a cold cream works well. The trick with exfoliation is to not overdo it – BE GENTLE!

  3. Sallie Handon says:

    I have sensitive skin so I don’t really exfoliate. I just use a face wash and hope for the best. But, I’ve never had acne problems, only on my back.

  4. Sesame says:

    That’s good! It’s wise not to exfoliate your sensitive skin since you have no other issues.

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