This Is How You Exfoliate Your Acne-Prone Skin

How Do I Exfoliate My Acne-Prone Skin?

Exfoliation is the body’s natural way of getting rid of dead skin cells above the skin’s surface. A product is used to perform the procedure, which is called “exfoliants.” This lessens the amount of dead cell build-up on the skin.

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How Do I Exfoliate My Acne-Prone Skin? Our skin can naturally exfoliate dead skin cells, but the story’s different for acne-prone skin. They will require more thorough research about exfoliants because their skin is more sensitive than normal skin.

Here’s a guide in choosing the correct exfoliants for your skin if you have acne-prone skin. Check it out.

Acne-Prone Skin

“The process wherein the skin naturally exfoliates the dead skin cells is called Desquamation.

However, for people whose skin is more prone to acne, this natural process doesn’t work sufficiently.

Dead skin cells linger longer in their skin, creating comedones and plugging pores. All sorts of pimples begin as comedies.

It doesn’t matter whether your acne is severe or mild, proper exfoliation will soften the skin for a brighter complexion.

This will also reduce breakouts from clogged pores, dead cells, and skin oil.

Do not run immediately to the store and purchase abrasive or harsh scrubs. You have to think more and learn more about what products to use and not to use.

You have to know how to identify products that will best suit your skin type.

It is crucial to make the right choice to achieve better results and not worsen your acne issues.

Choosing Your Exfoliants

There are hundreds of exfoliating products and procedures sold and practiced today. But there are only two forms of it: chemical and physical.

Chemical Exfoliants

Chemical exfoliants work without the use or help of any abrasive agents.

They dissolve or loosen the bonds that hold dead skin cells on the surface by utilizing enzymes or acids.

Most people are not familiar with the term “chemical exfoliant,” but I’m sure they’ve heard about the products and procedures.

You might not have an idea about it, but you may have used this before. 

  • Beta hydroxy acids (BHA) like salicylic acid
  • Alpha hydroxy acids (AHA) like glycolic, lactic, and tartaric acid
  • Topical retinoids, including Differin (adapalene), retinol, and Retin-A (tretinoin)
  • Chemical peels (superficial chemical peels, deeper trichloroacetic acid (TCA), carbolic and phenol peels)
  • Topical retinoids, including Differin (adapalene), retinol, and Retin-A (tretinoin)

Some of these require prescriptions. However, some over-the-counter chemical exfoliants are sold at your local stores or pharmacies.

Most of these are safe enough for daily use. A very popular chemical exfoliant is the OTC glycolic peel.

Salicylic acid peels are strong chemical treatments. They are mostly used in spas and skin spas.

If you go to a local spa, the estheticians will help you pick the treatment made for your skin type.

If you’re having the worst acne breakouts, visit your dermatologist so that he/she can prescribe you with powerful exfoliants.

They would probably give you prescriptions for medications such as topical retinoids or other stronger chemical exfoliants.

Whether doctor prescribed or over-the-counter, chemical exfoliants will get to a point where it’ll dry your skin.

To help deflate excessive dryness, irritation, and peeling, you can use an oil-free moisturizer as part of your daily skincare.

Physical Exfoliants

You’ve probably heard about physical exfoliants. These are products that manually eliminate dead skin cells through an abrasive ingredient.

  • Rough cleansing pads
  • Rough cleansing cloths
  • Gritty scrubs
  • Professional microdermabrasion procedure

Microdermabrasion Treatment

This procedure will leave your skin feeling softer and smoother than before.

However, this is the least exfoliant for acne-prone skin ever considered. It involves friction that can extremely irritate inflamed skin.

The rubbing and scrubbing of this procedure may leave your skin to appear redder. Also, this can worsen any existing breakouts.

You may want to avoid physical exfoliants when you have inflamed acne.

Facts About Exfoliants And Acne-Prone Skin

When you say exfoliant, people will quickly think about physical exfoliants. Facial scrubs, cleansing cloth, and konjac sponges are the 3 famous physical exfoliants.

These three items must be avoided when your skin is prone to acne, for reasons that they:

  • Encourage breeding of bacteria that cause spots.
  • Easily irritate and inflame your skin
  • Puch pustules and acne papules into the deeper skin layer

Acne-prone skins should use chemical exfoliants – never physical exfoliants. Chemical exfoliants use enzymes/acids to break the bond that holds dead skin cells together.

The outermost layers of your skin are basically dead. They are more resistant to invaders, such as pollution. The real challenge here is the layers sticking around for a long time.

Acne-prone skin is always having trouble with slow cell turnover. Delay is mainly caused by excess sebum production.

Exfoliate Schedule

Gentle Daily Exfoliation

For people with oily skin that is not prone to any sensitivity-induced problems, you can gently exfoliate daily.

This will help you fight breakouts while keeping your skin clear and smooth. But since your skin is still prone to acne, never use any harsh exfoliants.

Turn your daily face wash into a mild scrub. You can use a cleansing brush every night for this routine.

Choose a brush that fits every skin type – must offer gentle daily exfoliation. This will slowly oil from your pores, dead skin cells, and makeup.

Weekly Deep Exfoliators

Give your skin a good deep cleansing treatment at least once or twice a week. Deep exfoliators can help fight sebum – acne’s ultimate cause.

Deep exfoliating treatments can discard dead skin cells. This will prevent sebum from being trapped inside the pores.

If you wish for a smoother complexion, I’m sure you’ll love a velvety-smooth texture. You’ll get this with a deep exfoliator.

There is no one right answer. Let your skin’s reaction and appearance guide you to the right decisions.

Glycolic, salicylic, and other acids dispute dirt and oil while removing dead cells are found in chemical exfoliators.

Be careful because these products will burn mucous membranes if not used properly. Some people use chemical exfoliants less irritating than scrubs.

Scrubbing ingredients such as ground coconut husk and microbeads are features of mechanical exfoliators.

They loosen and lift flakes in the skin. These will do the work for you, so there is no need to press while you exfoliate.

Because of public demand, several manufacturers have developed products combining both blend scrubbing and chemical exfoliants together.

These give the deepest clean but can irritate your skin.

Before trying out any product, always do a patch test. Limit your use to once per week to avoid overdoing exfoliation.

Morning And Evening Exfoliation Is Possible

During the morning, an enzyme-based exfoliator will be useful to break down purged pores during night time.

If you’re doing skin detox, consider cleansing with an enzyme-powdered cleanser.

During the evening, the skin benefits from sloughing off dead skin cells. This will remove dirt and oil build-up during the day and also impurities and pollution.

This is the time you have to break out your scrubbier cleansing exfoliators.

Other times to use exfoliators include:

  1. After a sweaty workout session.
  2. After using clay or charcoal-based facial mask
  3. After wearing a clay-powered, detoxifying facial moisturizer.
  4. During a skin detox where your goal is clear out, purge your skin of a build-up of petroleum-based ingredients.

Follow Safety Tips

The reaction and behavior of your skin are affected by your means of exfoliating. The goal is to get the best from any cleansing routine without triggering a breakout.

  • Do not hesitate to ask a professional for exfoliant guidelines and tips.
  • Do a patch test before trying any product, whether over-the-counter or doctor prescribed.
  • Avoid using multiple exfoliating products at the same time (if not from a doctor’s prescription)
  • Do not overdo exfoliating

Not following instructions may cause excessive dryness, peeling, redness, severe breakout, and irritation. It isn’t always good to have too much of a good thing.

Don’t overdo it!

If you’re thinking that overdoing it will make the process faster, you are wrong! Exfoliating more than you should be will cause redness, flaky skin, peeling, and severe skin issues.

When you overdo face exfoliating, you’re only increasing your chance for sun damage, and then, later on, skin cancer.

You don’t want to scrub off the natural protective layers of your skin, as this won’t do you any good.


It is important to moisturize your skin after exfoliating. Pick a moisturizer that has at least SPF 30 and can provide lightweight, non-greasy hydration.

We all have different skin types. Exfoliation removes dead skin cells. It is essential to take notice of your skin’s adjustment and reaction.

However, it is also best to consult with your dermatologist, especially if your skin is sensitive.

Here are the steps to follow to moisturize skin:

Before exfoliating, wash your hand thoroughly, the brush, or the flannel. Otherwise, you will sabotage your own efforts.

  1. Use your preferred facial scrub, move in a small, gentle, circular stoke around your face. Do not press on too hard!

  2. Be tender. Apply only a light touch. Think as if you’re pressing flower petals, not washing your dishes. Also, exfoliation chemicals are not to be left for a long time. Do not power sand your skin!

  3. After exfoliation, rinse with lukewarm water – not warm – not hot.

  4. Gently pat your face with a dry soft towel and apply your chosen facial moisturizer.


If your skin is prone to acne, you have to be more careful of what you’re using. Best if you use chemical exfoliation for better results and not irritate your skin more.

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