The best way to exfoliate sensitive skin is to use gentle physical exfoliants, such as a soft washcloth or a sugar scrub, or chemical exfoliants, such as AHAs or BHAs, in lower concentrations and less frequently.
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When it comes to exfoliating sensitive skin, it’s important to take a gentle approach to avoid irritation. According to dermatologists, there are two types of exfoliants to consider: physical and chemical.
Physical exfoliants work by manually scrubbing away dead skin cells. However, it’s essential to choose gentle physical exfoliants to avoid damaging the delicate skin. Dr. Rachel Nazarian, a New York-based dermatologist, recommends “using a soft washcloth or a sugar scrub” as options for sensitive skin.
On the other hand, chemical exfoliants work by dissolving the bonds between dead skin cells and encouraging their shedding. Alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs) are examples of chemical exfoliants that can be used on sensitive skin. However, it’s essential to use them in lower concentrations and less frequently than for other skin types.
Despite the effectiveness of exfoliating, it’s crucial to avoid over-exfoliation, which can cause damage to the skin’s barrier. Dr. Shari Sperling, a New Jersey-based dermatologist, suggests limiting exfoliation to once a week and avoiding other potentially irritating skincare products, such as retinoids or benzoyl peroxide.
In the words of Dr. Ranella Hirsch, a Boston-based dermatologist, “exfoliation should be gentle and infrequent. Overdoing it can lead to inflammation, irritation, and even scarring.” By taking a conservative approach, sensitive skin can reap the benefits of exfoliation without suffering from adverse effects.
Here is a table comparing physical and chemical exfoliants:
|Exfoliant Type||How It Works||Examples|
|Physical||Scrubs away dead skin cells manually||Washcloth; Sugar Scrub|
|Chemical||Dissolves bonds between dead skin cells, encouraging shedding||Alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs); Beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs)|
Interesting facts about exfoliating:
- Exfoliating can help improve the effectiveness of other skincare products by allowing them to penetrate deeper into the skin.
- Regular exfoliation can help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
- Over-exfoliating can cause damage to the skin’s barrier and lead to increased irritation and sensitivity.
- Sensitive skin is often prone to redness, so it’s essential to choose gentle exfoliants to avoid exacerbating the issue.
Other responses to your question
Sensitive skin Avoid scrubbing or using mechanical methods of exfoliation. These will irritate your skin further and can lead to redness. Use a mild chemical exfoliator and apply with a gentle washcloth. For acne, you can also try a salicylic acid peel at your dermatologist’s office.
The Best Way to Exfoliate Sensitive Skin
- Smooth forehead texture (an area that easily gets congested)
- Visibly brighten skin
- Improve radiance aka you get dewy glow
- Resurface a rough, uneven skin tone
- Restore skin barrier function and therefore hydration
- Reduce the appearance of pores
- Stop pores from widening
- Help resolve blackheads
- Prevent spots and pimples
Dr. Jenny Liu, a board-certified dermatologist, presents tips on how to safely exfoliate sensitive skin. She first recommends considering whether exfoliation is needed and how often it should be done. Dr. Liu advises using an appropriate exfoliant such as lactic, mandelic, or polyhydroxy acid to minimize skin irritation, and to avoid using glycolic acid. She suggests using exfoliating cleansers instead of scrubs and recommends several products including Aveeno Calm and Restore Nourishing PHA Exfoliator for extra dry skin, and Extravions Gentle Daily Exfoliating Pad for those who prefer exfoliating pads. Dr. Liu suggests testing a chemical peel pad before daily use and recommends incorporating a moisturizer with exfoliating ingredients into a skincare routine to improve texture and skin tone without causing irritation.
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