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Down to the Nitty Gritty: What is Exfoliation?
Down to the nitty gritty: What is exfoliation?

Down to the Nitty Gritty: What is Exfoliation?

Thursday, July 27, 2023

Beauty, Wellness

What do sugar scrubs, salicylic acid and washcloths have in common? They’re all different kinds of exfoliation techniques. Wondering if you need to start exfoliating? Read on to find out more. 

What is exfoliation? 

Put simply, exfoliation removes dead skin cells from the outer layer of your body. According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association (AAD), there are two types of exfoliation methods: mechanical and chemical.  

  • Mechanical exfoliation uses tools like scrubs, washcloths or brushes to remove dead skin.  

  • Chemical exfoliation uses specific chemicals (often found in many skincare products) to loosen up and dissolve dead skin cells. 

Both can be done safely at -home. The exfoliation method that works best for you will vary based on your skin type and needs. 

Is exfoliation good for your skin? 

You may have heard that exfoliation is a key part of any skincare routine. This can be true for some. For many people, exfoliation is beneficial for their skin. It can help prevent ingrown hairs, brighten skin and encourage cell turnover.  

However, according to the AAD, these results don’t always happen for everyone. In fact, exfoliation, if not done correctly, can do more harm than good. If you exfoliate incorrectly or too often, you can damage your skin or increase your redness and acne. 

How do I exfoliate safely? 

If you want to add exfoliation to your skincare regimen, there’s nothing wrong with that. Just be cautious. If you decide to give it a try, make sure to choose an exfoliation method based on your skin type – not what’s most popular on the internet, moisturize afterward and make sure not to over-exfoliate. 

If you’re interested in adding exfoliation to your skincare routine, talk to your primary care provider or dermatologist for specific recommendations. 


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Genesis HealthCare System’s Health and Wellness content conveniently provides accurate and helpful information. Your health history and current health may impact suggestions provided through our Health and Wellness content. Although we hope this information is helpful, it is not a substitute for your doctor's medical advice. Before making any significant changes, please consult your doctor.