- Exfoliating cleansers reach deep into pores to clear away oils, impurities and dead skin cells.
- Oily and acne-prone skin types should opt for cleansers containing benzoyl peroxide.
- Lactic acid can be safely used by those with dry and combination skin types.
- Those with sensitive skin should avoid using exfoliating cleansers daily.
Cleansing is a crucial step in any daily skincare regimen. While required less often, exfoliation is also essential to maintain clear and smooth skin. Exfoliating cleansers combine the benefits of both into a single product, cleaning and refreshing your skin while also removing dead skin cells for a brighter complexion.
What Is an Exfoliating Cleanser?
Your skin cells are constantly being renewed – this natural process typically occurs on a monthly basis. As a result, dead cells are pushed to the surface of your skin. Sometimes, they can accumulate in your pores, leading to the formation of blackheads or a dry, flaky appearance.
While standard cleansers are often unable to clear these stubborn cells from your skin, exfoliating cleansers are specially formulated to do so. These products contain chemical exfoliants that work by dislodging dead skin cells and debris that would otherwise remain on your skin after using a traditional cleanser. As a result, your skin appears softer, smoother and brighter.
Salicylic acid exfoliating cleanser
Salicylic acid is a beta-hydroxy acid (BHA) widely used in acne treatments. BHAs are oil-soluble, which means they can reach deep into clogged pores to clear away debris. Salicylic acid works by breaking down the “glue” that hold your cells together, dislodging any leftover dead skin cells on your skin.
Benzoyl peroxide exfoliating cleanser
Benzoyl peroxide (BPO) is another popular acne-fighting ingredient that removes dead skin cells, while also providing anti-bacterial benefits. BPO is comedolytic, which means it works by loosening dead skin cells and unclogging pores – much like salicylic acid.
Glycolic acid exfoliating cleanser
Glycolic acid is an alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) that also works by dissolving the bonds between cells, dislodging dead skin cells from the surface of your skin and within your pores. Due to its small molecular size, glycolic acid is able to penetrate deeply into your skin – making it the most effective AHA.
Best Exfoliating Cleanser for Your Skin
It’s essential to consider your skin type and its individual needs when choosing an exfoliating cleanser. To achieve the best results, it’s important to opt for the ingredients that work with your skin and recognize the ones to avoid.
Salicylic acid not only clears away excess oil but has also been found to control sebum production, making it an effective treatment for those with oily skin. Alternatively, glycolic acid may also help to control oiliness.
Those with dry skin should opt for a mild glycolic or lactic acid cleanser, ideally with a low concentration. Avoid cleansers containing benzoyl peroxide – this ingredient can be extremely drying on certain skin types.
If you have sensitive skin, it’s essential to avoid overusing exfoliants. Use a very mild glycolic acid cleanser once per week to clear away any dead skin cells that may have built upon the surface of your skin.
Those who experience acne should opt for an exfoliating cleanser containing benzoyl peroxide (BPO). The anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties of BPO make it an effective treatment for pimples, helping to heal them and reduce their appearance.
Use a mild glycolic acid or salicylic acid cleanser to control the oilier areas of your face without irritating the drier areas. Alternatively, opt for a lactic acid cleanser. Lactic acid is another AHA that provides a moisturizing effect on the skin.
How to Use an Exfoliating Cleanser
Some exfoliating cleansers are gentle enough to be used daily, while others should be limited to once or twice per week. It’s best to refer to the individual product information to avoid overusing your cleanser.
Use an exfoliating cleanser as the first step in your evening routine. By using it in the evening, you’ll be clearing away all the impurities and debris that has built up on your skin during the day. Most exfoliating cleansers are designed to be massaged into damp skin and rinsed off with warm water. After rinsing, apply a serum or moisturizer to add a boost of hydration.
While exfoliating cleansers are typically gentler on your skin than their facial scrub counterparts, overusing them may still lead to signs of over-exfoliation. If you notice redness, itching, sensitivity or peeling, stop using the product and wait for your skin to return to normal.
Exfoliating cleansers are an effective treatment for almost all skin types, helping to dislodge dead skin cells from deep within your pores. Not only does this help to prevent breakouts, but it also promotes a brighter, smoother complexion.
Those with oily and acne-prone skin will benefit from the oil-controlling and antibacterial effects of BPO cleansers, while dry and sensitive skin types should use a milder salicylic acid formula to treat areas of dry skin.
Most exfoliating cleansers can be used daily, although those with dry and sensitive skin may need to limit their use to avoid side effects.
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