3 Ways To Exfoliate Sensitive Skin

by Gio

3 ways to exfoliate sensitive skin

Sometimes it’s hard to follow the rules.

Take exfoliation, for example. We know we gotta do it, but if we have sensitive skin, that ain’t so easy. That’s skin that turns red just by looking at it. It screams in pain when you wash it.

How can we go the extra mile and get those dead cells off without traumatizing our skin even more?!

I hear ya, girlfriend. And I’m here to help. Exfoliating sensitive skin is SO hard but doable. Here are your three options:

1. Exfoliate uber sensitive skin With A Washcloth

When all else fails, try a washcloth. It’s by far the gentlest option there is. So gentle, even most people with sensitive skin can use it daily. But if you find your sensitive skin can’t take even that, cut back to once or twice a week.

How do you use a washcloth? With your fave cleanser. And apply moisturizer afterwards.

Just make sure your washcloth is completely dry. A damp washcloth may seem innocent enough, but it’s actually a playground for bacteria. Those pesky little nuisances thrive in humid environments!

Related: Should You Use A Washcloth To Cleanse Your Face?

Think you can't exfoliate sensitive skin? Wrong! Here are 3 gentle ways to do it. Click to Tweet

2. Exfoliate mildly sensitive skin with Lactic Acid

If your skin can take something that’s a little more heavy-duty, go with lactic acid. It’s an alpha hydroxy acid (AHAs) that dissolves the “glue” that holds skin cells together and hydrates skin to boot. Out of all the AHAs, it’s the gentlest. 

The only problem? It’s hard to find an exfoliant or serum with just lactic acid. Usually, it tags along with his other AHAs friends, like glycolic acid. You could use those too, but I find lactic acid alone is gentler.

Just don’t use it more than once a week. Your skin can’t take more exfoliation than that.

Best picks:

3. Exfoliate Sensitive And Acne-Prone Skin With Salicylic Acid

Cursed with both sensitive skin and acne (cos, you know, bad things never come alone)?

Then your best bet is salicylic acid. It’s a superexfoliant that gets inside the pores and removes all the crap that clogs them up and makes us breakout. It also has anti-inflammatory properties so it can soothe your sensitive skin too.

When you’re dealing with sensitive skin, less is always more. Use small doses (no more than 1%) once a week.

Best picks:

How do you exfoliate your sensitive skin? Share your tips and fave products in the comments below.

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Marianthi September 1, 2013 - 5:24 pm

Nice suggestions. I use the washcloth you show in the picture with whatever cleanser I have at the time daily / twice per day, and once a week I do an AHA/BHA peeling.
My acne discoloration does lighten up with time, so I keep this up religiously.

beautifulwithbrains September 1, 2013 - 7:57 pm

Marianthi, I like to use washcloths with cleansers too. They help cleanse skin better and perform a gentle exfoliating action too. I’m glad your routine is working so well for you.

Kem June 13, 2016 - 9:59 am

The Paula’s Choice 1% is also amazingly gentle.

Gio June 13, 2016 - 7:09 pm

Kem, it is. I’m a big fan, too.


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