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How Often Should You Exfoliate Your Face?

Exfoliation is a key part of a healthy skin routine, used to remove dead skin cells, stimulate circulation, and give you a fresh, healthy glow. We’re often asked at our med spa in Raleigh how often you should exfoliate your face, and the truth is, there isn’t one comprehensive answer. Factors like skin type, skin conditions, and type of exfoliation all play a role. To help you take better care of your skin and show off a healthy glow, we’re doing a  deep dive into facial exfoliation. 

Why It’s Important to Exfoliate Your Face

Exfoliating your face removes all the dead skin cells and debris which gives you a refreshed appearance, but there’s several other benefits that you may not realize. 

Unclogs Pores and Prevents Acne

Dead skin cells and surface debris basically seal your pores, causing them to get clogged with oil which leads to breakouts. Regular exfoliation keeps your pores open and clean, reducing their appearance and preventing blackheads and acne. 

Makes Treatments More Effective

Moisturizers, serums, and other treatments are also necessary to retain a smooth, youthful appearance, but if you’re not exfoliating, they can’t do their job because they are blocked by a “wall” of dead skin cells and clogged pores. Once your skin is smooth and free of dead skin and other barriers, all the rich, nourishing ingredients in your treatments and moisturizers can penetrate more deeply and allow you to experience maximum benefits. 

Smooths Skin and Evens Skin Tone

If your skin tone and texture looks uneven, it’s often caused by dry, flaky skin cells. Removing them evens out your complexion and minimizes any discolored areas. 

Improves Makeup Coverage

Dry patches and flaky areas creates a cakey look to your makeup and makes it look uneven. A smoother, more even complexion allows your foundation to rest on the skin’s surface rather than forming rough cakey patches or settling into fine lines. 

Boosts Circulation and Cell Growth

Exfoliating stimulates blood flow to your face, which nourishes the cells, making them healthier and leading to healthy skin. It also improves cell “turnover” by continuing to bring fresh, new cells to the surface of the skin and eliminating dull dry skin cells.  

Types of Exfoliation

There are two main types of exfoliation: mechanical and chemical. Both are effective at removing the dead skin cells and providing a brighter, more radiant complexion, but they work in very different ways. 

Mechanical 

Mechanical, or manual, exfoliation involves manually removing or sloughing away dead skin. This includes a brush, loofah, or specially textured cloth to buff away layers of dead skin, as well as scrubs. Scrubs are applied to the skin in a circular motion to penetrate and break up the cells and often contain a slightly rough material such as apricot seeds, flax seeds, or lemon peel. 

For more intensive skin rejuvenation that gives your complexion a “reboot,” you may want to consider microdermabrasion. Microdermabrasion is where medical-grade corundum powder is gently showered onto the skin, then gently suctioned away, removing the powdered crystals as well as old dead skin cells and oil. This safe, comfortable procedure leaves your skin clean, smooth, and beautifully radiant. 

Chemical

Chemical exfoliants contain gentle acids, such as alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta hydroxy acids (BHAs). These gently break down the bonds that hold dead skin cells to your face and are often ideal for sensitive or dry skin because they don’t cause microtears or overly irritate skin. 

Chemical peels are another form of more intensive skin exfoliation, effectively peeling away old skin cells and leaving behind a fresh, glowing complexion. 

Exfoliating Different Skin Types

How often you exfoliate your face depends a lot on what kind of skin type you have. 

Oily Skin

If your skin is oily, using a gentle manual or mechanical exfoliant daily will help you eliminate the dirt and debris within your pores, helping you reduce the likelihood of acne and breakouts. However, it’s important to avoid over-exfoliating, which you’ll see if your skin seems more oily, red, or irritated.  

Normal/Combination Skin

If your skin is more oily in the T-zone and dry around your cheeks, either mechanically or chemically exfoliating two to three times a week will keep skin healthy.  

Dry Skin and Sensitive Skin (Including Rosacea)

A very mild chemical exfoliation often works best for dry or sensitive skin to avoid microtears and irritation. Two to three times a week for dry skin and less often for sensitive skin is usually the standard. 

It’s important to note that these are just general guidelines. Working with a skin specialist to get more personalized recommendations for your unique needs will get the best results.

Contact BodyLase in Raleigh or Cary to Schedule a Skin Rejuvenation Treatment Today


While at-home exfoliation is fine for daily maintenance, our skin specialists provide microdermabrasion, dermaplaning, and chemical peels that will have your skin looking and feeling soft, smooth, and radiant. Our spa also carries medical-grade skincare products that help promote healthy skin. During your consultation, we will examine your skin and recommend the ideal type of exfoliation to help you look and feel your best as well as suggest products to use at home to maintain your glow. Contact us online or at 919-954-2288 to book in our Raleigh MedSpa office and 919-851-8989 to book in our Cary MedSpa office.