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  • by Nicola Boulton August 16, 2022 4 min read

    At What Age Should You Start Exfoliating?

    Exfoliating is ideal for removing dead cells on the skin's surface. This process can start as early as one sees the accumulation of unwanted substances on the skin, although certain biological conditions cause variations on the time to conduct this process.

     Every 30 days, the skin loses dead cells to create a place for new ones in a process called exfoliation. However, exfoliation does not shed all the dead cells naturally. The accumulation of dead cells may lead to dry, flaky skin with blocked pores. This may be avoided by exfoliating the skin daily using suitable skin care products. This article discusses the distinction between physical and chemical skin care methods that exfoliate the skin.

    In What Ways Does Exfoliation Improve The Appearance Of The Skin?

    Exfoliating the skin improves its appearance in several ways. Exfoliation may enhance the skin’s appearance and the absorption of topical skincare products. Additionally, exfoliation prevents clogged pores, which can lead to breakouts. Similarly, long-term exfoliation boosts collagen production (Valencia et al., 2019). Notably, collagen is essential for healthy, glowing skin; the protein promotes skin elasticity, reducing wrinkles and skin sagging.

    Exfoliation Is Safe to Begin at What Age?

    The skin naturally exfoliates across all ages. However sustained exfoliation should begin when one discovers that the skin is not shedding off the dead cells effectively. Many users begin to exfoliate when the skin’s radiance is lost by lower production of hyaluronic acid or serum. During puberty for instance, acne brings black patches on the face which might be distressing for users. Adolescents should therefore exfoliate frequently to have enhanced skin appearance. One should avoid exfoliating until they see dark spots or rough patches on the skin.

    Mechanical Vs. Chemical Exfoliation: Which Is Better?

    Chemical exfoliation removes contaminants from the skin’s pores by dissolving them with chemicals or acids. The chemical exfoliation is ideal for oily or acne-prone skin. According to Kornhauser et al (2010), antioxidants like alpha and beta hydroxyl acids promote cell turnover. Chemical exfoliation reduces kills germs to prevent skin flare-ups and breakouts. Chemical exfoliation is gentler on the skin than manual scrubbing. There are several mechanical exfoliation methods. Skin exfoliation may be done using a washcloth, an exfoliating brush, and an all-natural bead face scrub made from Silicone. Microtears may form if pressure is applied on the scrub exposing the skin to infection and inflammation. A scrub with exfoliating and calming components reduces the severity of mechanical scrubbing on the skin. Users can improvise a face scrub made with brown sugar, honey, or coconut oil; sugar smoothen the skin, while honey makes it soft.

    Tips For Exfoliating Your Skin

    Ak (2019) explained that the skin is subjected to stress from daily routines. Whiteheads, Blackheads, and other blemishes are formed when makeup, sweat, excess oil, or germs enter the pores. Harmful rays, wind, rain, snow, and other weather conditions can also damage the skin. Fortunately, the skin has some resistance to some of these conditions. Therefore, it needs reinforcement to restore its natural properties. One method to reinforce the skin is exfoliation. The following factors are vital for exfoliation:

    Approach with Delicacy and Caution

    Kravitz et al. (2021) advised that when cleaning the skin, one should apply the cream in a circular motion while simultaneously removing the skin’s top layer. Face cleaning removes dead skin cells or debris from the surface to enhance access to the pores; one can use mild exfoliation to clean the pores.

    There's No Need to Do Two Tasks On The Same Day

    Exfoliation should be a regular skincare routine. Some individuals exfoliate when their skin breaks out, while others do it regularly. Arif (2015) showed that skin type dictates how often one should exfoliate. Oily skin requires exfoliation twice a week. In contrast, individuals with dry skin can exfoliate less regularly. However, regular exfoliation prevents impurities from building up in the pores. Similarly, it improves the skin’s texture.

    Make The Most of The Resources at Your Disposal.

    Mechanical exfoliation requires a washcloth or a brush. In contrast, chemical exfoliation utilizes chemicals called enzymes. Users should have skin-nourishing cleansers and moisturizers whenever they exfoliate. Including nourishers and moisturizers daily regimen improves the skin’s condition. Users should not mix exfoliating reagents or over-exfoliate. However, one should know their skin type and the state of their skin before exfoliating. Incorporating an exercise routine after cleaning the skin improves the efficiency of the reagents on the skin.


    Exfoliating two to three times a week is recommended for oily skin. The process eliminates dead skin, which may cause breakouts, blackheads, and patches that cannot be removed through the body’s natural processes. Further, the process enhances the absorption of topical skin care treatments, making them more effective. Exfoliation regularly keeps the pores clear, accessible, and with fewer breakouts. Exfoliating can start at any age, although 14 years is recommended. During this period, the skin may have unbalanced pH or become oilier. Breakouts, blackheads, and spots may all result from too much oil on the skin. Lastly, users should carefully select the tools for mechanical scrubbing to prevent damage and infections.


    Ak, M. (2019). A comprehensive review of acne vulgaris. J. Clin. Pharm, 1(1), 17-45.

    Arif, T. (2015). Salicylic acid as a peeling agent: a comprehensive review. Clinical, cosmetic and investigational dermatology, 8, 455.

    Kravitz, N. D., King, R. K., & Miller, S. L. (2021). Reapplication of the atraumatic extraction technique for removal of gingivally-retained deciduous teeth. AJO-DO Clinical Companion, 1(3), 194-197.

    Kornhauser, A., Coelho, S. G., & Hearing, V. J. (2010). Applications of hydroxy acids: classification, mechanisms, and photoactivity. Clinical, cosmetic and investigational dermatology: CCID, 3, 135.

    Valencia, G. A., Luciano, C. G., Lourenço, R. V., Bittante, A. M. Q. B., & do Amaral Sobral, P.     J. (2019). Morphological and physical properties of nano-biocomposite films based on        collagen loaded with laponite®. Food Packaging and Shelf Life, 19, 24-30.

    Nicola Boulton
    Nicola Boulton

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