These are the 15 best face exfoliators for glowing skin and clean pores

These are the 15 best face exfoliators for glowing skin and clean pores

09.09.2022 Off By manager_1

An exfoliator is probably the most important product for glowing skin. We’re not talking about the physical scrubs that we used to abuse as teens, but the chemical products that do the job for us.

Tiffany J. Libby MD, a dermatologist and Mohs specialist at Brown Dermatology, explains that chemical exfoliators help to loosen the bonds between dead skin cells. This allows them to shed their old cells and reveal healthier ones beneath. They also unclog pores and exfoliate the surface skin cells. They can also lighten the skin and increase cell turnover and renewal. Some may even stimulate collagen production. A resurfaced skin will allow for your skin-care products (and their effectiveness) to work better.

Overuse of an exfoliator can cause irritation, redness, breakouts and damage to the moisture barrier. Exfoliators that are too harsh or gentle for your skin can cause a dull, irritated appearance. To strike an optimal balance, first, make sure you’re not exfoliating too often — no more than three times a week, or look into TikTok’s dermatologist-approval skin cycling trend.

One to two exfoliations per week is sufficient for sensitive or dry skin. Michelle Henry MD, a dermatologist board-certified and clinical instructor of dermatology at Weill Medical College, New York City recommends exfoliating for around 30 seconds or less using gentle circular movements. She recommends that you follow the instructions on the package for chemical exfoliators as they can vary from one product to the next.

A second, and perhaps even more important, factor is to ensure you are using the right exfoliants for your skin type. Dr. Henry recommends that sensitive skin avoid mechanical exfoliation and instead choose alpha hydroxy acids, such as glycolic acid. She says that they exfoliate the top layers of skin and also moisturize and help retain moisture. Dr. Libby shares similar advice. “If your skin is sensitive, you should start with polyhydroxy acids or lactic acid or mandelic acid. These larger alpha hydroxy chemical molecules that don’t penetrate as deeply into skin and are less likely to cause irritation.”

Dr. Henry explains that physical exfoliation is important for oily skin because it helps to remove oily buildup. Dr. Henry says that oily skin can lead to more stubborn skin cells and a slower rate of skin shedding. To keep skin clear and healthy, she recommends exfoliating with salicylic acid (a form of beta hydroxy acid or BHA). This “gently accelerates skin turnover and better penetrates oils and oily hair follicles”. Dr. Libby also recommends salicylic acid because it “is great at targeting oil and unclogging pores.”

Below, we rounded up dermatologist-approved facial exfoliants to get you glowing right at home — whether you’re sensitive, oily, or somewhere else on the skin-type spectrum. These top-rated products are available at Sephora, Ulta Beauty and Dermstore.

Glytone Enhance Brightening Solution

Glytone’s Enhance Brightening Solution, according to Dr. Libby is a popular choice. It “uses glycolic, salicylic acids to exfoliate the skin and unclog pores as well niacinamide, an azelaic Acid derivative to brighten the skin and treat dark spots.” The main purpose of this product is to correct uneven skin tone. Many reviewers praise its ability to treat hyperpigmentation in the decolletage which is often overlooked.

Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting Liquid Exfoliant 2% BHA

There are many skin-care products that live up the hype. Paula’s Choice’s Skin Perfecting 2%BHA Liquid Exfoliant is one of them. It has thousands of glowing reviews and won the 2022 Allure Readers Choice Award for best exfoliator. The 2-percent salicylic acid concentration (BHA) is responsible for this. It helps to replenish the skin and is particularly popular for combating blackheads and acne. The powerful antioxidant green tea is another key ingredient. It counters irritation commonly caused by harsh exfoliators.

Glow Recipe Strawberry Smooth AHA + AHA Salicylic Acid Cream Serum

Glow R ecipe Strawberry Smooth AHA + AHA Salicylic Acid Skin Serum is a great choice for people who prefer a serum-textured exfoliator to an acidic one. The combination of AHAs and BHAs will soften your skin. Strawberry combats excess oil making it a great choice for people with acne-prone skin. This lightweight serum is available in a beautiful pink bottle that you can proudly display on your bathroom counter.

Exuviance SkinRise Peel Pads Morning Glow

Exuviance’s SkinRise morning glow peel pads are recommended by Dr. Libby. These are an excellent daily peel pad, which uses three polyhydroxy acid to gently exfoliate skin and reduce the appearance fine lines. They also contain green tea extract to soothe the skin. This means that you are replenishing your cells without irritating the skin.

U Beauty Resurfacing Compound

U Beauty’s limited selection of products was formulated to be the very best. This explains the higher price. It’s worth every penny, according to reviewers. Resurfacing Compound is an all-purpose, high-performance formula that combines a whole skin-care regimen in one product. AHAs, vitamins C, E, and retinol (a form of vitamin A), are all included. This will help you achieve clearer, brighter, smoother skin.

SkinMedica AHA + BHA Exfoliating Cleanser

Meet your match if you have large pores. Dr. Park, like other dermatologists, loves SkinMedica’s AHA/BHA exfoliating cleanser. It contains many good-for you ingredients. She notes that this face wash contains a mix of AHAs (lactic glycolic, citric and malic), BHAs (salicylic), jojobaspheres to gently exfoliate the skin, and lavender to soothe it. BHA is lipid-soluble so it can penetrate deeper into the pores to give a thorough clean. This makes it a great choice for combination and oily skin types.

Dr. Libby also recommends this cleanser. She says that it helps to “lightly exfoliate the skin, improve skin texture, and complexion.”

Kate Somerville ExfoliKate Intensive Exfoliating Treatment

Dr. Henry also recommends Kate Somerville’s ExfoliKate Intensive Exfoliating Therapy. She says that this treatment is great for all skin types, with papaya enzymes and pumpkin enzymes acting as natural AHAs as well as salicylic acids. Although there may be some initial tingling, this is normal. Vitamin E, aloe vera and honey work together to soothe the skin.

Acure Brightening Facial Scrub

Dr. Henry recommends Acure’s Brightening Facial scrub for sensitive skin. This scrub brightens your skin with French green clay and sea kelp. This affordable, vegan scrub has received over 7,000 5-star Amazon reviews. It’s easy to see why this scrub is so popular for treating discoloration, uneven skintone, and clogged pores.

La Roche-Posay Ultrafine Scrub

Dr. Park recommends La Roche-Posay Ultrafine scrub, which is specially formulated for sensitive skin. It contains a combination of chemical and physical exfoliants to gently remove skin using superfine pumice particles. What are the results? Glycerin is a good choice for a brighter, more smoother skin.

Versed Day Maker Microcrystal Exfoliator

The Versed Day Maker Microcrystal Exfoliator, which is 100 percent made from plant-based microcrystalline and biodegradable, is a perfect alternative to microbeads. This formula contains an antioxidant-rich mixture of raspberry leaf extract and blackcurrant to reduce oil production and inflammation so that your skin doesn’t get irritated by it.

Isdin Isdinceutics MelaClear

Ron Robinson, cosmetic chemist, recommends gentle chemical exfoliants mixed with skin-calming substances for sensitive skin. He says that Isdin’s Isdinceutics MelaClear has a stable form vitamin C and phyto acid [for exfoliation].” It also contains calming green Tea, which provides gentle chemical exfoliation and irritation-free.

Aveeno Positively Radiant Daily Skin Brightening Scrub

Marina Peredo MD is a New York City-based dermatologist who recommends Aveeno Positively radiant Skin Brightening Daily Scrub to normal skin types. The antioxidant-rich soy oil helps to brighten the skin, reduce discoloration and even out skin tone. Jojoba oil and glycerin soothe and nourish the skin. This drugstore face scrub is only $7 and will last quite a while.

Golde Papaya Bright Superfood Face Mask

Golde’s Papaya Bright Instant Exfoliating Superfood Face Mask was a 2020 Allure Best of Beauty Winner. It activates with water and is a powder-to gel formula. This mask brightens and exfoliates your skin with 100% pure, edible superfoods that are rich in vitamin C. There are no essential oils, clays or preservatives. Natural papaya enzymes and lucuma fruit combine to make your skin feel tropical and energizing.

Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial

We put Drunk Elephant’s T.L.C. because it is so effective, and Sukari Babyfacial was awarded the Allure Best of Beauty Award 2017. The 25 percent AHA mix (a combination of glycolic, tartaric and lactic acids) and two percent BHA, (salicylic acid) are added to brighten your skin and leave it feeling fresh. This stuff is trusted for its brightening ability, which is also due to chickpea flour. It doesn’t irritate her sensitive skin.

Dr. Park suggests Drunk Elephant’s T.L.C. for a milder (and safer-for-pregnancy!) option. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum has a 12-percent AHA/BHA mix to resurface the skin. It also contains antioxidant-rich raspberry extract, marula oil, and marula oils to hydrate and soothe the skin.

Klur Skin Soil

Klur’s powdery Skin Soil Multiuse additive exfoliating grain transforms your favorite water-based cleanser to a low-friction, enzyme-rich exfoliating paste. Rice bran, papain enzyme powders, and rosehip seed are refined grains that gently polish uneven surfaces, removing pore-clogging dirt, and re-starting cell growth. This double-duty cleansing step will make your skin care products absorb deeper.