How to tell what the best exfoliator for you is

The secret to smooth, dewey skin comes from exfoliating and removing the dead particles that can dampen your glow. But, with so many different types of exfoliants, it can be difficult to choose one that fits your skin type. The two main categories are physical exfoliants and chemical — both have benefits if you use them correctly.

First off, those with oily skin should look for a physical option with beads or a scrubbing agent of some kind, Byrdie notes. Helping to slough off dead skin cells and debris, this type of exfoliant can come as a product or a cleansing device like a brush. Just make sure that they aren’t too intense — adjust your pressure by finding the right granule for you or choose a softer brush when you use a device. If you’re using too much pressure or the exfoliant is too strong, it can lead to micro-tears and irritation, so choose wisely. Make sure to moisturize after application because your skin will need hydration to keep it healthy, ELLE explains.

If your skin falls in the combination category, you can dabble in either variation. Combination skin is less sensitive to this type of product and can manage a physical exfoliant or a chemical option, the outlet notes.

Pay attention to your skin's natural tendencies

Dry skin poses a unique need for exfoliation. With a lower tolerance to this type of product, make sure to avoid overdoing it and stick with products that are hydrating. ELLE recommends steering clear of anything that contains high amounts of alcohols, as these can exacerbate already-dry skin cells. Esthetician Rianna Loving, recommends a natural ingredient for dry skin, telling Byrdie, “Scrubs that contain honey are perfect not only to exfoliate but to moisturize as well.”

If you have acne-prone skin, harsh physical exfoliants can make scars look worse, but using a chemical product can penetrate deeper into the skin and cleanse pores. “AHA and BHA acids (like salicylic, lactic, and glycolic) will be most effective. These will not only fight oil and remove pore-clogging dead skin cells but also improve skin’s texture and repair acne scars,” Loving says. Look for products like these if you’re aiming to avoid breakouts. Furthermore, sensitive skin should only have the lightest options in their arsenal, like oatmeal and rice products, Byrdie recommends. Avoid scrubbing which can cause even more irritation.

One of the keys to finding a product that works for you comes from being incredibly gentle with whatever product you find and monitoring any changes that you see. 

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