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Unearth Your Best Skin With These Exfoliators

Skincare enthusiasts rave about exfoliating and its benefits for the skin — and for good reason. Exfoliation removes dead skin cells and other potential buildup, leaving your skin looking bright and smooth. 

There are two types of exfoliation: physical and chemical. Physical exfoliation is when you use a tool or face scrub to rub off excess skin cells, while chemical exfoliation is all about the ingredients, mainly acids, which dry out excess oil and dead skin in your pores to unclog them. 

Many products contain exfoliants — toners, face masks, cleansers, and more. This makes it easy to add the perfect chemical exfoliant to your skincare routine.

The type of exfoliation you want will depend on your skin type. While exfoliation has its benefits, it can also cause skin irritation if you over-exfoliate. If you have dry skin, adding an exfoliator to your skincare routine could help your skin look more vibrant, but be careful not to use a harsh chemical exfoliator that could cause more dryness. To help you find the best exfoliators, we made a list of our favorites on Flip for both your face and body.

August 15, 2022
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A woman in black tube top sitting on chair with exfoliating grains on her skin
Table of Contents

1. Moon Juice Acid Potion - Liquid Exfoliator

The Acid Potion exfoliator is out of this world. Glycolic, lactic, and salicylic acid help unclog your pores for smoother skin. Niacinamide and adaptogenic reishi hydrate, soothe, and balance for a flawless, glowy face. If you’re looking for one of the best exfoliators for acne-prone skin, this product is enhanced with acne-fighting salicylic acid. Use it three nights a week or every night, depending on your skin type. Simply shake into your palm and apply to clean a face and neck with your fingertips.

2. CRUX Supply Co. Citrus Salt Exfoliator

Revitalize your skin with this citrus salt exfoliator from CRUX. The salt scrub features a unique sea salt mixture blended with nourishing oils, citrus extracts, vitamins, and antioxidants. The product is infused with cedar wood, lime, bergamot, and grapefruit essential oils to create a warm and citrusy aroma. This exfoliator is a versatile skincare must-have because it can be used as a body or face scrub.

3. TONYMOLY I'M Rice Active Enzyme Powder Exfoliator

Bring on bright glowy skin with the I’M Rice Exfoliating Enzyme Cleanser. This water-activated powder exfoliant is infused with rice powder, rice extract, and papaya enzyme to gently exfoliate and reveal brighter skin and a more radiant complexion. The formula is vegan and free of artificial fragrances and colors. This face scrub is a great way to work away buildup to reveal flawless skin.

4. Josh Rosebrook Active Enzyme Exfoliator

This professional resurfacing treatment works to clear, soften, and renew skin. Potent fruit, honey, herbal enzymes, and acids gently slough away dead skin cells while finely ground, round walnut shells mechanically reveal new skin and help stimulate collagen production. Nutrient-dense plant oils and raw honey combine to restore moisture and help clear skin issues, while rich herbal antioxidant and anti-inflammatory synergies assist in calming, regenerating, and helping to reset your skin's natural healing ability and support healthy skin function.

5. Act of Wellness Euphoric Polish + Exfoliator - 2pcs

This product from Act of Wellness is a weekly two-step exfoliator to smooth and brighten dull skin. Phyto-endorphin, monk pepper berry extract, and arctic root combined with a blend of botanical extracts leave your skin glowing and soft to the touch. Arctic root also delivers antioxidant protection against damage induced by free radicals. This scrub helps reduce climate stressors that may irritate the skin, preventing texture and redness. It contains alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) that may increase your skin's sensitivity to the sun, so make sure you wear a daily sunscreen to protect from burns.

6. Goldfaden MD Doctor's Scrub Microderm Exfoliator

Goldfaden MD’s daily facial exfoliator boosts hydration and removes dead surface skin to reveal brighter, radiant, healthier-looking skin. The product contains hyaluronic acid, a lubricating substance that makes the skin feel firmer and more hydrated. It’s also infused with Jojoba Oil, a powerful skin nourisher and moisturizing agent to reduce water loss and enhance your skin’s flexibility and suppleness. Seaweed extract works to improve the moisture levels of your skin while enhancing its natural glow. 

7. Peet Rivko Exfoliator

Use natural ingredients to enhance your skin’s natural beauty. This exfoliator from Peet Rivko is a physical exfoliant featuring jojoba beads, oatmeal, and rice bran. Gently remove dead skin cells to leave your skin soft, smooth, and radiant. Oatmeal has been used for centuries to soothe and heal irritated skin — oat lipids and starches act as emollients, binding water and protecting the skin barrier. Finely ground rice bran creates a gentle exfoliant with nourishing, anti-inflammatory properties. This is one of the best exfoliators for sensitive skin because it’s paraben-free, sulfate-free, and fragrance-free. It’s also free of phthalates, phenoxyethanol, PEGs, silicones, petroleum, essential oils, nut oils, and floral extracts.

8. Necessaire The Body Exfoliator - Eucalyptus

The Body Exfoliator is a weekly multi-exfoliation treatment for your body’s skin. Use one to two times a week or as desired by applying the product all over your body and massaging it into your skin until it foams. This gel exfoliator will help soften and smooth your skin and adds a calming eucalyptus scent to your shower. The product is ideal for uneven skin texture and skin tone thanks to its formula containing pumice, glycolic acid, and lactic acid.

9. Vitamasques Pineapple Gommage Peeling Gel Exfoliator

Looking for the best exfoliator for combination skin? This lightweight pineapple exfoliator is designed to gently peel away dirt and dead skin, leaving your skin healthy and glowing. Many exfoliators can be harsh and leave your skin needing a boost of hydration. This unique product uses gommage gels, which are light and gentle on the skin while moisturizing and removing impurities. The pleasant formula is suitable for sensitive skin, eliminates dead skin cells, and is ideal for targeting blemishes. 

10. Tenoverten The Rewind Exfoliator

Smoother, softer skin texture and a brighter, more even look are all just one scrub away. This product is a natural yet potent blend of gentle exfoliators for feel-good hands. That’s right: it’s an exfoliant for your hands. Beautify your hands and reduce visible signs of aging with this antioxidant-rich, multi-acid formula. This is one of the best natural exfoliators because it’s packed with naturally-derived ingredients to make your skin feel super smooth.

11. Youth to the People Mandelic Acid + Superfood Unity Exfoliant

This leave-on liquid exfoliant unites three gentle acids with superfood antioxidants (kale, licorice root, and green tea) to clear pores, smooth texture, even tone, and support your skin's protective barrier. It's all of the acids, none of the irritation. Highlighted ingredients include AHA mandelic acid, beta-hydroxy acid (BHA), salicylic acid, poly-hydroxy acid (PHA) gluconolactone, antioxidant licorice root, and amino-acid compound glucosamine. Apply to clean skin with a (reusable) cotton round, avoiding the eye area. 

FAQ

What is the most effective exfoliator?

Finding the most effective exfoliator depends on your skin type and skincare concerns. The best exfoliators for Black skin differ from the best exfoliators for rosacea — it's all about seeking a product that’s best for you and your needs. Salicylic acid or BHA are usually stronger exfoliants, as they’re oil-soluble and penetrate deeper into pores to exfoliate the skin. AHAs are water-soluble and work on the top layers of the skin, but they’re often sold in higher concentrations, thanks to their less intense nature. 

When testing exfoliators, always start gentle and work your way up. A super strong exfoliator might not be best for your skin, as over-exfoliating can cause irritation and damage. People with oily skin will likely tolerate stronger exfoliants better than individuals with dry or sensitive skin. 

What is a good daily exfoliant?

You don’t need to exfoliate every day. How often you exfoliate will depend on your skin type. If you want to exfoliate frequently, choose a gentle exfoliator that won’t result in skin irritation. You can also use an exfoliating cleanser as your daily face wash if you want consistent exfoliation, or consider incorporating an exfoliating brush into your routine. But most chemical exfoliating toners and masks should be used once a week unless you know your skin can tolerate more. 

Which is the best exfoliator for sensitive skin?

If you have sensitive skin, you can still use an exfoliator to help remove buildup and feel silky smooth. Find a chemical exfoliant that isn’t too harsh and is free of any ingredients that are known to irritate your skin, like added fragrance. The best chemical exfoliants for sensitive skin are gentle and nourishing. If you’re nervous, we recommend talking to a dermatologist to find the right exfoliator for you.

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