Exfoliating Your Face - Tips and Product Picks

Best Practices for Glowing Skin

How to Exfoliate Your Face
How to Exfoliate Your Face. Stockbyte/Getty Images

We all love to use a good, inexpensive body scrub like St. Ives Apricot Scrub from our chest down, but don't think that you can get away with using a product like that one on your face too. The skin on your face is more sensitive and delicate than the skin on your body. For this reason, you need to use an exfoliating product just for your face.

We include the neck and chest area as part of the face when it comes to skin care products.

Breakouts, aging, and other common face issues such as dark spots are very common on the neck and chest area as well. This means that you need to moisturize, use serums, and facial sunscreen on your neck and chest, too. Our neck and chest can give away our true age very easily, so it is important to invest time in caring for those areas of your body.  

How to Exfoliate Your Face

  • Start by Washing: You should always exfoliate on freshly cleaned skin. On the days that you exfoliate, use a gentle face cleanser like Neutrogena's Ultra Gentle Gel Cleanser as to not irritate your skin before exfoliating.
  • Pick an Exfoliator Made for the Face:  This is important. When it comes to body scrubs like the St. Ives one mentioned above, many times they use large pieces natural ingredients like shells and seeds to exfoliate. These ingredients make for great exfoliators, but the jagged pieces can actually cause mini cuts in your skin, which you definitely don't want.
    For manual ones, try looking for a facial cleanser that uses uniform exfoliating particles like jojoba beads or finely ground natural ingredients. These will exfoliate without causing tiny scratches in your skin. If you want to use a chemical exfoliator, these will be more like facial wipes that you use after you cleanse. You just wipe the cloth over your face and let it dry. The cloth contains different facial acids that will evenly exfoliate with little to no work from you.
  • Stick to a Schedule: You should only exfoliate your face at least once a week. There are even exfoliants that are gentle enough to use once a day. Be sure to thoroughly read the product's instructions before beginning to use it. For example exfoliating facial cleansers are mild, gentle exfoliators and are safe to use daily. Also, some exfoliating wipes are OK to work up to daily use, so make sure you read the directions. Exfoliating any more than the recommended is excessive and can cause your face to show signs of peeling and redness. Definitely not the look you're going for.
  • Rub in Circular Movements: And use a light hand. Simply rubbing the exfoliation, if you're using a manual one, in circular motions is going to give you great results. Try to take about two minutes on your face and make sure to move past the cheeks and forehead where you can get stuck sometimes. Remember to bring it down to your neck and chest. Be sure to go all the way to your hairline and to your ears. If you're using an AHA wipe, a simple swipe across your entire face, neck and chest is all you need to do!  Can't get any easier than that. 
  • Stay Away from the Eyes: The delicate skin around your eyes should be avoided when exfoliating.

Our Favorite Facial Exfoliators

Manual Face Scrubs We Love:

  • Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant: This exfoliant is beloved for many good reasons. It is gentle enough for daily use and combines both rice based powder and a mix of facial acids to effectively exfoliate your skin.  
  • Origins: Never a Dull Moment Skin Polisher:  Reviews are almost all positive for this bi-weekly scrub from Origins. Exfoliators include finely ground apricot and mango seeds.

Chemical Face Scrubs We Love

Exfoliating Tools Worth Checking Out

  • Clarisonic: The gold standard in exfoliating tools, if you want to splurge for great results, check out this brush. You simply put your facial cleanser to work and the brush cleanses and exfoliates your skin. Definitely worth the splurge. Just be sure not to over do it when it comes to using this brush.
  • FOREO Luna Cleansing Brush not only effectively cleans your skin but also is gentle. In addition, it can actually provide anti-aging benefits to your skin as well. Definitely worth checking out.

Updated by Hanah Tetro