Exfoliation is the key to skin regeneration. Rubbing the surface of our skin gets rid of dead skin cells and encourages new ones to take their place. But what does this have to do with acne?
Well, even though our skin is supposed to release the top layer of dead skin cells naturally, it sometimes fails to do so. In those cases, we recommend using exfoliating products to encourage cell turnover. In this article, we’ll talk about how scrubbing your face can help prevent acne, and which tools you can use to achieve the best results.
The Best Exfoliator for Acne in 2020
Best Exfoliator for Acne — Washcloth: Exposed Skincare Derm-X Cloth
Since we’ve already mentioned washcloths, let’s start our list with one that’s ideal for sensitive skin.
Why we like it:
- Gentle microdermabrasion tool
- Microfiber cloth with polyamide
- Removes makeup, oil, dirt, and dead skin cells
- Machine washable
You might want to choose Exposed Skincare Derm-X Cloth if:
You need something gentle, to begin with — this 10-inch square microfiber towel could be perfect for you. The washcloth is completely reusable and machine washable. Furthermore, even though the material has a slight texture to it, it’s very gentle on the skin. However, as with any of these types of products, we’d recommend getting several of them and using them interchangeably, so you never have to use a dirty cloth on your bare face.
Best Exfoliator for Acne — Electric Brush: PIXNOR Waterproof Facial Cleansing Brush With 7 Brush Heads
Electric facial brushes can be pretty harsh — but not this PIXNOR brush.
Why we like it:
- 7 brush head attachments
- 2 speeds
- Works well with a chemical exfoliant
You might want to choose PIXNOR Waterproof Facial Cleansing Brush if:
You’re worried that an electric facial brush will be too rough for your face — this one lets you choose between 7 attachments. There are 3 traditional brushes of varying softness, a sponge, a gentle exfoliating head, a massage head, and even a pumice stone head. No matter which skin type you’re working with, one of those attachments will help clear away dirt, blemishes, and scars.
Best Exfoliator for Acne — Silicone Cleanser: INNERNEED Super Soft Silicone Cleanser and Massager
Silicone scrubbers are the perfect tools for people with sensitive skin — and this one comes highly recommended.
Why we like it:
- Antibacterial food grade silicone
- Soft and shallow bristles
- Flexible — follows the angles of the face
- Great grip
You might want to choose INNERNEED Super Soft Silicone Cleanser if:
You’re worried that using a brush would harm your skin. A silicone cleanser would be a perfect face washing tool. In fact, because of its antibacterial nature, you could go on using the cleanser for a long time. Furthermore, the silicone scrubber has a convenient pocket in the back that slides onto two of your fingers. Unlike facial brushes, it doesn’t require batteries, and unlike washcloths, it doesn’t need to be machine washed.
Best Exfoliator for Acne — Chemical Exfoliant: Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Salicylic Acid Exfoliant
While the previous products we’ve mentioned mostly operate on the surface layer of the skin, this BHA-based product penetrates deep into the pores.
Why we like it:
- Gel-like consistency
- Contains antioxidants
- 2% salicylic acid
You might want to choose Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting Exfoliant if:
You’d rather not irritate your skin with physical exfoliants; this smooth gel formula is exactly what you need. The salicylic acid the product relies on will dig deep to rid your pores of dirt and dead skin cells. Meanwhile, your skin will also be intensely hydrated, and the green tea will also reverse signs of aging and even sun damage.
Best Exfoliator for Acne — Body Scrub: Asutra Organic Exfoliating Body Scrub
Lastly, we wanted to include a physical body scrub for body acne.
Why we like it:
- Sea salt particles
- Vegan ingredients
- Contains aloe vera and a mixture of oils
- Peppermint oil battles acne
You might want to choose Asutra Organic Exfoliating Body Scrub if:
You need to deal with acne on your back or chest; this scrub will help you encourage cell turnover. While the sea salt provides the physical scrub, this product also consists of moisturizing jojoba, argan, and sweet almond oils. It also provides some aromatherapy thanks to peppermint and rosemary essential oils. However, since this is a fairly harsh physical scrub, we wouldn’t recommend using this on your face.
How Dead Skin Cells Affect Your Acne-Prone Skin
If we’re all supposed to have a natural ability to get rid of dead skin cells, why exactly do we need to exfoliate? As we have mentioned, our skin’s natural processes can fail, especially when we already have hormonal acne. After all, hormones actually have a huge impact on whether or not our skin is able to release dead cells on its own. So what happens if it can’t?
Without exfoliating, the dead skin cells on the surface layer of our skin would clog our pores. That, in turn, would cause our natural oil to become trapped just under the skin, causing blemishes and pimples. In order to avoid these kinds of acne, we need to get rid of that debris and open up our pores, so that the oil can escape naturally.
In addition to helping with acne prevention, exfoliating can also lessen the appearance of scars, which is another common problem of acne-prone skin. However, since such skin is already pretty sensitive, let’s talk about the various types of exfoliating products and how you can use them.
Tools and Products
Most of the tools and products we’ll be recommending belong to one of two categories: physical and chemical exfoliants. However, even within those two categories, there are many different types of products.
Physical exfoliants are all products that get rid of the outermost layer of your skin through friction. Basically, these products scrub the dead skin cells away. These products include tools like towels or washcloths, brushes, or sponges, as well as scrubs made from ground seeds or plastic beads.
However, if you want to avoid causing mayhem in your sewers, we recommend avoiding products with microplastics. Additionally, if you’re looking for a good scrub, you can always make one using common household supplies like ground coffee, sugar, and olive or coconut oil.
On the other hand, chemical exfoliants aren’t as easy to replicate. Typically, you’ll hear about 2 kinds of chemicals involved in the making of these products. Alpha and beta hydroxy acids are both exfoliants that target different parts of the skin, with AHA targeting the surface layer, while BHA penetrates deeper into the pores.
In the ingredient lists, AHA is usually represented as glycolic, lactic, and citric acids, while BHA is more commonly known as salicylic acid. If you have any experience with products for acne-prone skin, you’ll know that salicylic acid is great for controlling sebum production and cleaning pores.
Tips for Acne-Prone Skin
If you have acne-prone skin, you’ll most likely want to stick to chemical exfoliants. Those products usually have a gel-like consistency, so there are absolutely no scrubbing particles that might further irritate your skin. However, if your skin has a rougher texture, you might want to use physical scrubs.
Whether you end up going for a chemical exfoliant or a physical scrub, you’ll likely use them as a face wash. After wetting your face and getting rid of any makeup, you can squeeze about a dime-sized dollop of the product out and apply it to your face in circular motions. If you are using a physical scrub, you’ll want to make sure that you’re not being too rough. Fortunately, with a chemical exfoliant, that’s pretty much impossible.
If you purchase a tool like a washcloth, brush, or a sponge, you’ll also need to be careful with the amount of pressure you apply while you’re scrubbing. Additionally, you’ll need to make sure that the tool has the chance to dry completely after each use, to deter bacteria growth. You can pop washcloths into the washing machine, and use boiling water to sterilize sponges or brushes.
Off With the Old, Out With the New!
When our skin gets a bit stubborn and forgets to let go of old skin cells, there’s nothing else to do but lend a helping hand. As we have learned today, that hand could also use a number of physical or chemical exfoliating products or tools. So choose wisely!