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What are the Different Types of Exfoliating Facial Products?

B. Miller
B. Miller

Exfoliating facial products may be used on the skin for a deep cleanse, to treat acne, remove dry, dead skin, and help dull skin to look bright and fresh again. There are a few different types of exfoliating facial products available; these primarily include different types of scrubs and cleansers. Some may be used every day, while others should only be used once every week or two to prevent over cleansing the skin, which can lead to extra oiliness.

Exfoliating scrubs are the roughest type of exfoliating facial products; these generally include large, granular ingredients such as salt, sugar, plastic beads, or fruit pieces, just to name a few. These are scrubbed onto damp skin, and are very effective at sloughing off dead skin cells. In general, these should only be used once a week, depending on one's skin type. It is also important to be gentle when using a scrub such as this; scrubbing too hard can cause tiny scratches and damage to the delicate skin of the face. Exfoliating masks are similar to these scrubs.

Exfoliating facial produces may help reduce facial acne.
Exfoliating facial produces may help reduce facial acne.

Another type of exfoliating facial product is a simple exfoliating cleanser. This generally contains much smaller, gentler exfoliating ingredients, and is designed to be used every day. Rather than slough off dead skin, exfoliating cleanser generally just offers a deeper clean than a regular cleanser without exfoliating ingredients. This type of cleanser may be used morning and night for oily or acne prone skin, or may just be used once a day or every other day if it appears to be drying the skin out too much.

A homemade scrub made of sugar and coconut oil can be used to exfoliate the face.
A homemade scrub made of sugar and coconut oil can be used to exfoliate the face.

Exfoliating facial products may not just be scrubs or facial cleansers, but deep cleansing brushes as well. These brushes may be powered or not, and may be used with exfoliating cleanser or a regular cleanser. The brushes typically offer many small scrubbers, which help to loosen dirt and oil in the pores, offering a deeper clean than can be achieved with just the hands.

After using any exfoliating facial product, it is important to apply moisturizer to help treat the skin. Moisturizer should be applied in the morning and evening, and sunscreen should be applied every day. Some people choose to apply toner after using an exfoliating product, to help shrink the pores and dry up any blemishes; toner may not be necessary for those with average skin types, however. If skin appears to be red or irritated after using an exfoliating product, use the product less frequently or switch to a gentler exfoliating cleanser.

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Discussion Comments


@ankara-- But not all exfoliating facial cleansers have to have physical exfoliants like beads, cornmeal, sugar or oatmeal in them. Some exfoliating products have chemical exfoliants. Those don't require massaging or scrubbing. The chemical exfoliates on its own.

Salicylic acid, alpha-hydroxy acid and beta-hydroxy acid are all chemical exfoliants. In my opinion, they work very well, even better than physical exfoliants.


@alisha-- It depends on the product. I've used several different types of exfoliating creams and washes like that. Some of them don't work because the beads literally melt away in your hand and so there is no exfoliating action on the face when you're massaging them in.

Others stay intact and those are good because they cause the dead skin to peel off as you massage.

I would recommend reading the product label closely. If it mentions anything about the beads melting, I doubt it will work.

The thing with facial products is that you have to do some testing to see which product is going to work for you. I know you don't want to waste money but you can't know until you try it.


Has anyone used an exfoliating facial cream with little beads in them? I came across this product at the pharmacy the other day. It looked very interesting but does it work?

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    • Exfoliating facial produces may help reduce facial acne.
      By: Ocskay Bence
      Exfoliating facial produces may help reduce facial acne.
    • A homemade scrub made of sugar and coconut oil can be used to exfoliate the face.
      By: bit24
      A homemade scrub made of sugar and coconut oil can be used to exfoliate the face.