Physical exfoliation and acne-prone skin: Yay or Nay? 

Most people think that exfoliation isn’t for them if they have sensitive or acne-prone skin. That is a myth! While scrubbing away at inflamed skin may not be the best approach, it is a fact that exfoliation is very important in the treatment of acne. 

Chemical exfoliators generally penetrate deep into the layers of skin and can sometimes cause adverse reactions and further irritate or inflame acne-prone skin. At Clean Beauty Booth, we’re all for mild, natural, and effective physical exfoliants as they are gentle and do not irritate the skin. However, regardless of what exfoliant you choose we urge you to be mindful of the fact that less is more

Whether your acne is mild or severe, regular exfoliation will reduce breakouts and uneven skin by unclogging pores to get rid of the sebum and dead cells that lie on the debris of the skin. 

How to exfoliate acne-prone skin using physical exfoliants? 

Step 1 - Choose a gentle physical exfoliator

When choosing a physical exfoliant pick one that is mild on acne-prone skin. If you choose to opt for face scrubs, products that contain natural fruit enzymes or smoother granules can be very gentle on the skin. On the other hand, when choosing mechanical exfoliants, opt for silicone cleansing pads that are non-toxic, easy to clean, and effectively massage and cleanse the skin. Facial konjac sponges, although mild, can sometimes collect bacteria on its surface. For this purpose, be sure to replace them after a month's use. 

Step 2 - Be mindful of the ingredients 

It can be highly beneficial to choose products that contain specific exfoliating enzymes or granules that work well with acne-prone skin. Some of the common natural enzymes/ingredients that are great for acne-prone skin include Bromelain (pineapple extract), Papain (papaya extract), charcoal powder, lemon, honey, jojoba granules, etc. 

Be wary of natural exfoliants that are coarse. If exfoliants such as coffee grounds, sea salt, granulated sugar, and crushed walnut shells have jagged edges it could damage your skin. 

Step 3 - Avoid over-exfoliation and maintain a low pressure

There is more to the equation than scrub particles; how you use the product is just as important. The potential for exfoliation-related damage isn’t just limited to physical exfoliants. It could happen with the overuse of anything from silicone cleansers to chemical peels.

Over-exfoliation or scrubbing can cause microtears on the skin's surface. Microtears weaken the skin's barrier and make it prone to dry patches, redness, or inflammation. When using a new scrub, make sure to test it on the back of your hand. If it feels even mildly scratchy, avoid using it on your face. Avoid zealous scrubbing daily as this can also lead to microtears and limit deep exfoliation to once a week. The key is to use a gentle scrub, gently.

Moral of the story? Exfoliation is a part of any healthy skincare routine, no matter what skin type. Go ahead and use that gentle, fragrance-free scrub, once or twice a week without worrying about hurting your skin. We’ve got you!

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