Exfoliation of the skin on your face and body

Last updated: 23/1/2023

When you exfoliate your skin, you remove dead skin cells and clear the pores. You get a healthier and more attractive skin surface with fewer spots and less acne.

Here is a guide to exfoliation of the skin on your face and body, so you know the dos and don’ts of exfoliation.

Read by Anne Thestrup Meimbresse

Anne, Varde Pharmacy
Anne has a MSc in Pharmacy from the University of Southern Denmark and has worked as a pharmacist at the Varde pharmacy for several years. Here she advises both costumers and doctors about the correct use of medical products.

What is exfoliation?

Exfoliation is an effective beauty treatment for all skin types. It removes the top layer of dead skin cells, clears the pores, and stimulates the formation of new skin cells. All this makes your skin look firm and healthy, and reduces the likelihood of spots and acne.

Exfoliant products contain active ingredients that loosen the skin cells chemically. Exfoliation is also known as peeling. A scrub, on the other hand, is different from exfoliation and peeling. Scrub creams normally contain abrasive grains – and exfoliants do not. That is why many people find that exfoliation is gentler on the skin than a scrub.

How to exfoliate your skin

The skin forms new cells every day. The old, dead skin cells are shed, and form an outer layer on top of the skin. If you do not remove the dead cells, your skin may look rough, grey and lifeless. It also forms a breeding ground where spots and acne can develop. On the other hand, if you exfoliate your skin regularly, you remove the dead skin cells, reducing the occurrence of spots and acne – and in that way your skin will look smoother and more healthily radiant. Besides, exfoliation is good for blood circulation.

Spots and acne do not only occur on the face. You may find them anywhere on your body. So the skin on your face is not the only place that benefits from cleansing, care, moisture and exfoliation; the skin all over your body will benefit too. We recommend using body scrub from Australian Bodycare.

The process of shedding dead skin cells and forming new ones goes on all the time. With age, however, the process becomes slower, and it may be advantageous to help the process on its way when you reach your 30s. Until then, the process is fine by itself, so young people do not need exfoliation.

Mechanical or chemical exfoliation?

Scrub creams should only be used about once a week, or they may be too hard on the skin. Exfoliants, in contrast, can be used more often, some daily, and others a couple of times a week. The most important thing is to use products that suit your skin and skin type.

Using scrub creams, scrubbing gloves and the like is also called mechanical exfoliation, while using products that contain acid or enzymes that dissolve the dead skin cells is called chemical exfoliation.

Both methods are effective, as they remove the dead cells from the skin surface. Mechanical exfoliation can be a little hard on the skin, however, so if you have dry or delicate skin, it may be best to use chemical exfoliation instead. If you have dry skin, you can use a dry skin cream.

Exfoliation with salicylic acid

The products normally used for exfoliating the skin are called BHA (Beta Hydroxy Acid) exfoliants, also referred to as exfoliation with salicylic acid. BHA exfoliation or exfoliation with salicylic acid is known for its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effect, which is especially beneficial if you are exfoliating your skin to get rid of spots and acne. With spots and acne, it is very important to combat bacteria and inflammation in the skin.

Exfoliation on the body – step by step

  1. Take a warm bath, which will open the pores and makes the body more receptive to exfoliation.
  2. Then apply your exfoliant product – which may be an exfoliant soap, an exfoliant cleansing product, or an exfoliant cream – with gentle circular movements. You can use a brush or scrub glove, but do it carefully, without scrubbing your skin too hard. We recommend using body scrub from Australian Bodycare.
  3. Rinse the exfoliant off your skin with lukewarm water. Make sure you remove it all, so there are no residues of the product left on your skin.
  4. Cleanse the skin with a good cleansing product, such as a body wash.
  5. Dry the skin carefully, patting with the towel rather than scrubbing.
  6. Moisturise your skin with a nourishing body lotion or body cream.

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Get rid of hard skin on your feet with exfoliation

Many people suffer from hard skin on the feet, and precisely there, it may be difficult to get soft, smooth skin. On your feet you will normally need more than an ordinary exfoliant.

You can treat your feet yourself using a special exfoliant foot mask in the form of a pair of exfoliant socks, so that your feet are ready for the summer without needing a visit to a chiropodist. Your feet must remain in the exfoliant liquid in the plastic socks for precisely 90 minutes. In the meantime, you can relax while you watch a good film or read a book. During the following days, the hard skin will drop off in flakes, and after seven to ten days your feet will be lovely and soft like a baby’s feet.

Special note about exfoliation on your face

When exfoliation is mentioned, most people focus especially on the face. Even though you need care all over, it makes sense to pay special attention to your face. Your face is unprotected, and exposed every day to wind and weather, pollution, and perhaps make-up too.

READ THIS TOO: 10 good tips about acne on your face

At the same time, the skin on your face is more delicate than body skin, so it is important that you always use special products for skin care on your face. This also applies when you exfoliate the skin. Here you should use a product that is specially designed for the thinner and more delicate facial skin. And when you have exfoliated your skin, remember to finish off with a good face cream.

Exfoliation of your face – step by step

  1. Cleanse the skin on your face with your usual cleansing product, e.g. face wash from Australian Bodycare. For cleansing your face we recommend a Face Scrubber. The face brush cleanses the pores deep down and removes bacteria, dirt and remains of make-up. It minimises the risk of skin problems such as spots and blackheads. 
  2. Moisten the skin on your face with lukewarm water. You can perhaps use a face cloth, which you place over your face and leave for a few seconds. This opens the pores and makes the skin more receptive to exfoliation.
  3. Then apply your exfoliant product – which may be an exfoliant soap, an exfoliant cleansing product, or an exfoliant cream – with gentle circular movements. You can use a sponge, but do not scrub the skin. We recommend face mask from Australian Bodycare.
  4. Rinse the exfoliant off your face with lukewarm water. It is important to remove it all, so that there are no remains of the product left.
  5. Then use a skin tonic on your skin. This might for instance be face tonic from Australian Bodycare, which is a mild, deep-cleaning tonic without alcohol.
  6. Moisturise the skin with a good, nourishing face cream that suits your skin type and your skin's special needs.

Bonus information: Face mask from Australian Bodycare is a multifunctional product that both cleanses and peels the skin. The fine-crushed natural sandalwood nutshells perform a mechanical exfoliation, and the product can be used at the same time as a deep-cleansing mask that draws impurities up from the pores. The face mask helps to remove dead cells and other impurities which may clog the pores and form blackheads, spots and acne.

Cleansing face mask for congested and oily skin

Deep cleansing clay mask for men and women, to get rid of blackheads and pimples