3 Ways To Exfoliate Sensitive Skin

liz earle hot cloth cleanser 02

Sloughing off those dead skin cells that are accumulating on its surface leads to brighter, smoother and younger-looking skin. But if have sensitive skin, it can also cause redness, irritation and, in the worst cases, even scarring. You may be tempted not to exfoliate at all, but that’s never a good idea. So, what can you use to exfoliate your skin gently but effectively? Here are three options:

1. Got uber sensitive skin?

If you have super sensitive skin that gets irritated very easily, the safest option is a soft washcloth. Simply use it with your favourite cleanser to remove dead skin cells, and apply moisturizer afterwards to soothe the newly-exfoliated skin. A washcloth is usually gentle enough to be used daily but if you find that’s too much for your skin, cut back to two or three times a week. Just remember to keep your washcloth clean and dry. Bacteria thrive in humid environments so never use a washcloth that hasn’t fully dried on your skin, or you could risk an infection.

2. Got mildly sensitive skin?

If you have mildly sensitive skin, you could use a product with a very low concentration of Glycolic Acid (such as Paula’s Choice RESIST Daily Smoothing Treatment with 5% Alpha Hydroxy Acid, which contains 5% Glycolic Acid). Glycolic Acid is an AHA (Alpha Hydroxy Acid) that works by dissolving the bonds that hold skin cells together. To further minimize the risks of developing an irritation, leave it on the skin for only 30 minutes.

3. Got acne?

If you suffer from sensitive skin and acne, you may want to use an exfoliant with Salicylic Acid. Salicylic Acid sloughs off the dead skin cells that have accumulated on the surface, and can even get inside the pores to remove all the gunk that is clogging them. Again, the trick is to choose a product with a small concentration of Saliclyc Acid (max 1%, like the Philosophy clear days ahead oil-free salicylic acid acne treatment & moisturizer) and leave it on the skin for only half an hour.

Do you have sensitive skin? If so, how do you exfoliate it?

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  1. Marianthi says

    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 says

      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.

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