An Easy Guide To Exfoliation!

It seems like everyone is doing it. Are you?! We sure are. Several times a week, in fact! This week on our blog we're looking at the joys of exfoliation, it's many benefits and how to find the best exfoliation routine for your skin. 

Why Exfoliate?

Exfoliating is a really simple way to renew the look of your skin, clearing away old and dead skin cells as well as any dirt, grime or residual make up to leave it looking brighter and fresher, and also feeling softer and silkier.

It helps to deeply clean pores, which can mean less blemishes and breakouts because dead cells are no longer hanging around, clogging pores. Exfoliation also allows the products you apply afterwards (such as your precious serums, moisturisers, oils etc) to penetrate the skin more deeply and work more effectively, maximising their efficacy and allowing you to make the most of them. Exfoliating also helps to minimise the appearance of sun damage to the skin while boosting cell turnover. This is particularly helpful for aging skin as cell turnover naturally decreases over time meaning that we hold onto the dull outer layer for longer as we age. Increasing the rate of cell turnover with exfoliation will also help to boost collagen production and diminish signs of hyperpigmentation.

Overall, exfoliation improves the overall look of skin, giving it a softer, more youthful look. Skin experts agree that exfoliating is a necessary step for all the above reasons, and a must if you want to reveal fresh, glowing skin. It is not just for the face either! It will help to reveal softer, smoother skin all over the body in the same way that it does on the face and can help to diminish the appearance of Keratosis Pilaris, the little bumps that often appear on your arms and legs. We’re also huge fans of exfoliating our lips, especially in the winter, as it helps to keep dry, chapped skin at bay and keeps them ultra soft and kissable.  


How To Exfoliate.

When it comes to exfoliating there are plenty of options to consider, and as each person’s skin and needs are very (very) different it’s worthwhile exploring various methods, frequencies and combinations to find the exfoliating routine that works for you.

Firstly, there are two different types of exfoliators to consider – Physical Exfoliators and Chemical Exfoliators. Both methods have the same end goal, to slough off old and dead skin cells, boosting cell turnover and revealing the newer skin underneath. 

Physical Exfoliators tend to be grainy in texture and it is these grains, salts or particles that loosen and remove the old skin cells by rubbing them against your skin. Physical Exfoliation can also be achieved using a textured cloth as well as a scrub, so you are actually polishing your skin with small, gentle circular motions your chosen product or tool.

Chemical Exfoliants on the other hand use acids or enzymes to dissolve and melt away old cells so there is a lot less friction involved and sometimes even better results as they tend to work very evenly and consistently. They often work like a mask where you apply them in a layer, leave for a few minutes and then wash or wipe away. With the word ‘Chemical’ in the name they can be forgiven for sounding like a serious dermatological procedure, conjuring up images of women with red raw skin, but most are actually very easy and gentle to use and give beautiful results.

Some people prefer one method to the other, while others like to incorporate both into their routine. You can use a gentle physical exfoliator everyday if you choose, with a stronger chemical exfoliator once or twice a week. Everyone will benefit from incorporating some kind of exfoliation into their skincare routine, but how often will depend on your skin type and how sensitive it is.


Is there any drawbacks to exfoliating?

With exfoliation it is definitely possible to over-exfoliate, and each person will need to find their own perfect routine. We always recommend patch testing any new product before use, especially with chemical exfoliants such as peels as some can be very strong and might be too much for sensitive skin.

We say the most important element to consider when it comes to exfoliating is to choose an exfoliating product(s) that leaves the skin feeling silky soft and glowing, rather than stripped and tight. Exfoliating should never be an act of aggression against you beautiful skin and you should build up to a routine that suits you and leaves your skin looking healthy and fresh, rather than red and raw.  Over-exfoliation can lead to dull, blotchy and irritated skin, which is exactly the opposite of what you are going for when you start exfoliating!

If you are new to exfoliating choose a gentle exfoliator, physical or chemical, do a patch test before use and then proceed lightly and gently. From here you can build up the regularity of exfoliation to a routine that suits your skin and incorporate other exfoliants if you wish. Always follow the instructions that come with the product so that you aren’t over-exfoliating and be careful not to layer products that exfoliate on the same day. You want to enhance the function of your skin barrier to create healthy, glowing skin, not destroy the barrier entirely by completely stripping it away and leaving it unable to function and protect.  

Err on the side of caution, and if you notice any irritation, sensitivity or your skin feels stripped or raw then you have definitely overdone it and it’s best to strip right back on exfoliating to give your skin time to recover, before very gently reintroducing an exfoliating routine at a much slower pace with milder products.


For most people it is easy to find the right routine, especially if you start off with very gentle products and build up frequency of exfoliation from there. A simple physical exfoliator once or twice a week is a great place to start and might be all you need. The results are brighter, clearer, softer and healthier looking skin.


For Daily Physical Exfoliation

Codex Bia Exfoliating Wash on The Clean Beauty Edit Best of Clean Beauty

Codex Bia Exfoliating Wash, €55 


Antipodes Reincarnation Pure Facial Polish & Exfoliator on The Clean Beauty Edit

Antipodes Reincarnation Pure Facial Polish, €29 


The Organic Pharmacy Organic Muslin Cloth


For Gentle Chemical Exfoliation

The Organic Pharmacy Enzyme Peel Mask With Vitamin C and Papaya on The Clean Beauty Edit

Juice Beauty Stem Cellular Exfoliating Peel Spray on The Clean Beauty Edit

For Those Who Really Love To Exfoliate

Juice Beauty Green Apple Exfoliating Peel Spray Sensitive on The Clean Beauty Edit

Juice Beauty Green Apple Exfoliating Peel Mask Full Strength on The Clean Beauty Edit

For The Body

The Organic Pharmacy Cleopatra Body Scrub on The Clean Beauty Edit

Ilia Beauty Balmy Nights Exfoliating Lip on The Clean Beauty Edit
Shop our full Exfoliate and Peel Collection and enjoy free Worldwide delivery with minimum purchase. Join our Clean Team to collect generous rewards every time you shop!