An exfoliating wash is a dual-purpose toiletry product that simultaneously cleanses and smooths skin by scrubbing away dead skin cells. They are available for both men and women and are usually divided into versions meant for use on the body and gentler versions intended specifically for use on the face. There are a multitude of exfoliating wash formulas, which can be designed to suit a variety of skin types. Some exfoliating washes rely on solid particles to remove dead skin while others use chemical components.
It is possible that an exfoliating wash designed for the body is also sufficient for use on the face, but generally there are some differences between the two. An exfoliating body wash might employ larger, coarser exfoliating particles, which can be anything from tiny round beads to more jagged crushed nuts or salts. The cleansing and moisturizing ingredients may also not be gentle or light enough for use on the face, which is unsurprising since many people use different cleansers and moisturizers for their faces than they do for their bodies.
Using an exfoliating wash can help clear up multiple skin complaints. While some people find that exfoliating every day is too rough for their skin, using an exfoliating wash a couple of times a week will slough away any dead skin cells lingering on the surface that inhibit the fresh, bright skin underneath from shining through. Not only can these exfoliating washes brighten skin, they can also help prevent breakouts caused by dead skin cells that clog pores by trapping dirt or oil inside. Additionally, some types of exfoliating washes include moisturizing ingredients to not only cleanse and smooth, but hydrate as well.
Many exfoliating washes use solid particles suspended in cleansing soaps to scrub away dead skin cells, but some versions also use chemical exfoliators such as glycolic acid. Glycolic acid appears in very low concentrations in exfoliating washes, but can still cause irritation to people with sensitive skin. Using an exfoliating wash with glycolic acid will cause a chemical reaction that peels away the upper layer of dead skin cells and reveals the fresh, smooth skin below.
It is common to find exfoliating washes that are marketed specifically for men or specifically for women, but there is usually little difference besides the fragrance. Typically, scents targeted toward women are fruity or floral, and scents targeted toward men are clean or nature-inspired. Generally, the intention of an exfoliating wash for men is the same as an exfoliating wash for women, and the ingredients can also be essentially the same.