All about exfoliation

Exfoliation is beneficial for all skin types, including dry skin. Exfoliation removes dead skin cells from the surface of the skin and thus prevents clogged pores, which causes e.g. blackheads.


Benefits of exfoliating your skin

  • Removes dead skin cells, dirt and sebum accumulated on the skin
  • Cleans pores
  • Brighter skin
  • Improves skin texture and evens out its tone
  • Helps the active ingredients to be absorbed better into the skin

When exfoliating your skin, you must remember to follow a routine that suits your skin, both in choosing the product and in how often you use it, so that the skin's protective layer is not damaged. Excessive exfoliation can cause skin infections and worsen acne, among other things.

Our skin sheds dead skin cells from its surface in cycles of about 28 days. However, this is affected by external conditions, such as dry, cold air, heating, air conditioning, and stress. Regular gentle exfoliation is very important for the well-being of the skin, especially in winter, and exfoliation also enhances cell renewal. When we're young, our skin can effectively take care of shedding the dead skin cells by itself, without external help. However, as we age, the skin's ability to remove dead skin cells slows down and needs a little help from exfoliating products. For this kids or young people do not need exfoliation. 

[Cosrx] Refresh AHA BHA Vitamin C Daily Toner


Exfoliating products and their differences

Exfoliating can be performed either mechanically or chemically.

Mechanical exfoliation uses a tool, such as a brush or sponge, or a scrub to physically remove dead skin cells. Chemical exfoliation uses chemicals, such as alpha and beta hydroxy acids, to gently dissolve dead skin cells.

Chemical peeling products are mainly gentler on the skin when used correctly. As the name suggests, chemical peeling removes dead skin cells chemically, for example with the help of AHA or BHA acids.

Physical or mechanical exfoliation is carried out either with a brush, a sponge or an exfoliating product with physical parts (granular composition) that exfoliate the skin mechanically. In principle, we do not recommend brushes intended for skin exfoliation, at least for the face, because their brush heads are usually not renewed often enough, and the bacteria accumulated on the brush are transferred back to the skin every time they are used.

[Skinfood] Strawberry Sugar Food Mask


How often should the skin be exfoliated

The frequency of skin peeling depends entirely on the skin's individual needs and tolerance.

(like bumps, clogs, blemishes or advanced signs of sun damage) may do well exfoliating with AHA or BHA twice daily. Others will find application once daily or even once every few days to be their skin’s sweet spot. It can take some experimenting to find the right cadence.

Dry skin

  • Dry skin should also be exfoliated, but in moderation and with a gentle product. 1 time a week may be sufficient frequency of exfoliation for dry skin.
  • For dry skin, light chemical exfoliation is most likely the best, as mechanical exfoliation may irritate the skin.
  • We recommend: [Isntree] Chestnut AHA 8% Clear Essence

Combination skin

  • Combination skin is usually more prone to either dryness or oiliness, so choose a peeling product based on your main skin condition.
  • The frequency of exfoliation depends on your skin, but we recommend starting with 1-2 exfoliation times a week.
  • We recommend: [Cosrx] Refresh AHA BHA Vitamin C Daily Toner

Oily skin

  • Exfoliation is very important for oily skin, so that abundant sebum production does not clog pores.
  • Stronger chemical peeling is suitable for oily skin, mechanical peeling may also be a good option for some.
  • However, avoid too strong exfoliating products if your skin tone is dark or if you notice dark spots appearing on the skin after pimples. This may indicate that the scrub you are using is too strong for your skin. Too strong exfoliator can cause dark spots on darker skin tones.
  • For some people with oily skin, daily exfoliation with AHA or BHA acids may be the right amount, only by testing will you find the most suitable method and amount for your skin. In general, oily skin should be exfoliated 2-3 times a week.
  • We recommend: [Numbuzin] No.4 Pore Zero Peeled Egg Toner Pad

Acne prone skin

  • Like oily skin, acne-prone skin especially needs exfoliation. However, choose a gentle chemical peel so that the skin doesn't get irritated any more and cause more pimples instead of preventing them.
  • Exfoliation for acne-prone skin is very individual, in general you can say that 1-3 times a week is a good amount, but by testing you can find the optimal frequency for yourself.
  • We recommend: [Torriden] Balanceful Cica Toner Pad

Sensitive skin

  • For sensitive skin, you should primarily choose a light chemical peel. The frequency of use depends entirely on the skin's reactivity and tolerance to exfoliation.
  • We recommend: [Pyunkang Yul] Peeling Gel


[Isntree] Chestnut AHA 8% Clear Essence


Choosing a suitable exfoliating product

 AHA acids are best suited for dry and aging skin. AHA acids smooth the skin's texture and help with lines and wrinkles. AHA works on the surface of the skin.

BHA acids, on the other hand, are excellent for treating blocked and enlarged pores, blackheads and pimples. BHA is also a good choice for sensitive skin due to its soothing properties. BHA works on the surface of the skin and deeper in the pores as well.

LHA acids (Lipo Hydroxy Acid) are lesser-known derivatives of salicylic acid, the advantage of which is its very gentle exfoliating properties. LHA is a very effective aid for acne, but at the same time gentle on the skin.



Skin care after peeling

Always remember to moisturize the skin well after exfoliating. It's also good to think about what active ingredients to combine with exfoliation in the same skin care routine (at the same time), especially if the skin is sensitive.

After exfoliating, apply for example a moisturizing toner and ampoule before moisturizer.


The product recommendations presented in the article have been drawn up on a general level based on the properties of the products. However, it is good to remember that everyone has their own skin and not all ingredients are suitable for everyone.

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