Exfoliating your face is one thing you don’t want to overdo. Here’s how often you should exfoliate based on skin type.

Your face called — it wants to shed a little skin. But before you break out the apricot scrub, let’s dive into the world of exfoliation to reveal the secrets of radiant skin.

Read on for everything you need to know about exfoliating, including how often you should do it depending on your skin type.

Whether you’re new to exfoliating your face or just need a refresh, here’s what you need to know about your two basic options for safely shedding dead skin off your gorgeous face.

Physical exfoliation

Also known as manual or mechanical exfoliation, physical exfoliation involves using a tool and some effort to remove dead skin. You can use an exfoliating face brush (the electric spinning ones you see everywhere) for your face or opt for a loofah or body brush for body exfoliation. Or, opt for microdermabrasion or a dermaplaning sesh.

If tools aren’t your thing, you can physically exfoliate by using a scrub designed for the face, or you can make your own!


Exfoliating with chemicals is not as extreme as it sounds. Some of the best chemical exfoliants include all-star ingredients like alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs), beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs), or retinol. You can prob find them in any beauty store, drugstore, or major retailer.

Enzyme exfoliants are also a top-notch option. Look out for bromelain (from pineapple), papain (from papaya), and cranberry enzymes.

If you want to kick things up a notch, you can visit a licensed esthetician for a professional chemical peel. These peels speed up exfoliation to reveal even smoother, brighter skin.

Wondering if exfoliating your face is worth it? Check out these benefits:

  • smoother, brighter skin
  • improved texture
  • unclogged pores (fewer breakouts)
  • better absorption of your skin care products

Now, let’s get into how often to do it based on your skin type.

If you’re blessed with “normal” skin (read: not oily, dry, acne-prone, combo, or sensitive), then you have some options to play with.

Test out both physical and chemical exfoliants (on different days, spaced out, OFC) and see which option gives you the glowiest results.

You can probably stick to exfoliating just twice weekly, too. No need to get heavy-handed here.

Dry and oily at the same time? Relateable. You can get creative to give your skin the custom exfoliation job it craves.

For example, an oily t-zone is very common and can benefit from either a physical or chemical exfoliator. You can also just skip the rest of your non-oily zones and exfoliate those spots less often with a more gentle exfoliator (like a non-intense AHA).

Go ahead and hit those oily spots up to three times weekly (as your skin tolerates) and give the more dry spots some days off.

Feel free to use a physical exfoliator product, oily peeps. As a bonus, oily skin is the only skin type with the green light for extra exfoliation days. Why? Exfoliating oily skin helps prevent your pores from clogging up and leading to acne.

The exact number of exfoliation days will come down to what your skin can tolerate. If you’re noticing redness, irritation, or peeling, knock it down a day or two, but you can aim for every other day if your oily skin doesn’t mind.

Psst. Acne-prone babes, check out these options for treating acne (spoiler alert: it’s a lot of chemical exfoliants like retinoids, glycolic acid, and salicylic acid).

Exfoliation is a delicate dance between you and your skin.

Some skin types can benefit from extra exfoliation days (we’re talking to you, oily and combo folks), but generally, a couple of times a week is enough for most skin types.

Your skin may prefer a chemical exfoliant to a physical scrub. If you notice redness, irritation, and peeling, your skin is trying to tell you it either needs a few days off or is more partial to one type of exfoliant over another.

P.S. Shop our favorite facial exfoliators by skin type here.