Guide to Choosing a Facial Scrub

Your skin is constantly shedding dead skin cells all day, every day. These tiny cells are what make up your body’s largest organ, the skin. Your skin is essential in protecting your body from outside elements such as moisture, heat, the sun’s rays, and toxic substances. 

Not only is your skin the largest organ, but it’s also a pretty big deal. We all want clear, glowing skin like the celebrities we see on IG, so let’s break down the art of exfoliation, how to do it, what to use, and why it’s important.

The Art of Exfoliation

Exfoliation is a big deal, really. Exfoliation breaks down the dead skin cells that accumulate on the top of your skin and sloughs them away, leaving a healthy, smooth skin layer. Yes, your skin sheds cells daily, but that isn’t enough if you want to keep your skin at its peak of dewy freshness. 

Here’s why:

Why Is It Important to Exfoliate?

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, exfoliating your skin can help it absorb all of the nutrients from those serums and creams you apply every day. It also allows your skin to look like its best, glowy, dewy self.

Exfoliation reduces congestion in the skin and reduces breakouts and dry patches. Collagen production and elasticity increase with long-term exfoliation practices too. You just need to know what products will work best for your skin.

Know Your Skin Type

Your skin type determines which skin exfoliant you should use and how often you should use it. 

There are five skin types, oily or acne-prone, dry, normal, sensitive, and combination. Each skin type requires different ingredients for the skin to look its best. Let’s dig a little deeper into each skin type.

  • Oily/Acne-Prone Skin: Oily skin is shiny, prone to breakouts, and usually has large pores. Avoid ingredients such as mineral oil, cocoa butter, and shea butter. Oily products usually cause breakouts.
  • Dry Skin: Dry skin is easily irritated and has tight, dry patches. Avoid oils such as coconut oil and shea butter, which can clog pores. Fragrances and certain acids such as salicylic acid are harsher on dry skin too.
  • Normal skin: Normal skin is skin that is neither dry nor oily. It is not prone to breakouts or dry patches, and it tends to self-exfoliate.
  • Sensitive Skin: Sensitive skin gets irritated easily, becomes red, and tends to have allergic reactions. Formulas with soothing ingredients such as aloe, colloidal oatmeal, and hyaluronic acid are great ingredients for sensitive skin. Avoid fragrances and acids.
  • Combination Skin: The combination skin type is oily around the nose, forehead, and chin. It is dryer in the cheek area and has large pores. Avoid facial products containing oils and heavy creams.

How to Choose a Facial Scrub

Choosing a facial scrub is just as important as knowing your skin type. If you select a scrub without knowing what ingredients it includes, you risk irritating your skin, having breakouts, or causing skin damage. 

There are two types of exfoliants: manual and chemical. Manual scrubs are the grainy ones that you massage into the skin with your hands. Chemical scrubs are chemical peels that do the scrubbing action for you by dissolving the dead skin cells with skin-safe acids.

We have compiled a list of facial scrub info for each skin type below. Read it carefully so that you know what to look for when you’re shopping for your next facial scrub.

Facial Scrub For Oily/Acne Prone Skin

Oily and acne-prone skin types are prone to breakouts, so choosing a scrub that will balance the oils, prevent future breakouts, and unclog pores is key. Ingredients like salicylic acid are good ones to look for. Salicylic acid breaks down old skin cells and cleans inside the pores, leaving you with squeaky clean skin. 

If you have never exfoliated before, start by scrubbing twice a week and work your way up to three or four times per week. Listen to your skin. If it becomes irritated or dry, stop. Too much exfoliation can cause irritation and breakouts.

Scrub for Dry Skin

Alpha hydroxy acids are great for dry skin types. 

Glycolic acid boosts the production of collagen and exfoliates at the same time. It encourages cellular turnover (reproduction of healthy cells) and removes dead skin cells on the skin’s surface. Glycolic acid is a stronger acid, so only use it two to three times per week.

Scrub for Normal Skin

Lucky you! If your skin is normal, then you may not need to exfoliate at all. Evaluate your skin and if it looks dewy naturally, then leave it alone. This look means that your skin is doing its job of exfoliating on its own.

If you need a little exfoliation, try something with glycolic acid, and don’t use too much. Once or twice a week is sufficient for your skin type.

Scrub for Sensitive Skin

You have delicate skin, and you already know it. Choose something clean, simple, and fragrance-free. 

Lactic acid is hydrating, and oatmeal exfoliants are gentle. Exfoliate once per week and if you have acne-prone skin, use salicylic acid no more than once per week. 

Scrub for Combination Skin

Combination skin can use a mixed bag of exfoliants. The rule to remember is if you exfoliate and your skin feels dry, apply a moisturizer. Never use two different types of exfoliant on the same day because that might irritate your skin. 

Exfoliate two to three times per week with either glycolic acid to hydrate or salicylic acid to clean out clogged pores and impurities.

Know Your Skin

The art of exfoliation is a practice that all of us should strive to master. Pay close attention to your skin by recognizing when it breaks out, forms dry patches, or becomes reddened. Knowing your skin will help you understand how often to scrub and which products to use. 

When using a new product, use it for a few weeks without changing to something else. Staying consistent with a product will help you to determine which products are causing the skin upset. If you have an allergic reaction, stop using a product, and contact a dermatologist with any skincare needs or concerns.

The Bottom Line

It is essential to exfoliate your skin to keep it healthy and fresh. Removing dead skin cells from your face regularly also helps encourage collagen production and elasticity in the skin.

Your skin type should always determine which products you choose to use on your skin. Don’t let fancy packaging fool you. The ingredients are what matters when it comes to skincare. 

Choose a gentle cleansing cloth, like Glamnetic Cotton Candy Cloths, to help remove makeup, impurities, and give a gentle daily exfoliation to your skin. Your skin is the first thing you see when you look into the mirror, so make sure you’re taking care of it.


How to Safely Exfoliate at Home | American Academy of Dermatology

How To Determine Your Skin Type: The Complete Guide (+ Quick Test) | Byrdie

What Is Glycolic Acid and How Does It Work for Skin Care? | Glamour


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