3 Of The Best: Gentle Skin Exfoliators

By now we’re positive you’ve grown out of thinking a ‘good old scrub’ once or twice a week is beneficial to your skin. It never really gave your teenage complexion that flawless finish you strived for, did it? In actual fact, it just aggravated your skin and left it pink – and not in a cute ‘I’m shy, but really into you,’ kind of way.

The problem is, as skin ages, the rate of cell turnover becomes tired and sluggish which, if not helped along with some gentle exfoliation, results in dull, lifeless skin. And nobody is into dull, lifeless skin. So, what’s the best way to maintain that healthy glow without damaging your skin or causing irritation along the way? Customized exfoliation that works for you.

Chemical peels and microdermabrasion are great when prescribed as part of a treatment plan and administered by a trusted, board-certified pro who knows how to read sensitive skin, but you can also get medical-grade results with a bevy of physician-dispensed, at-home treatments. They’re far more effective than your average everyday drugstore brand. Here’s our pick of some of the finest options.

1. SkinMedica AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser


Containing gentle citrus oils, salicylic acid and bilberry and licorice extracts, this creamy exfoliant works well on all skin types. Great for unclogging blocked pores and removing excess oil and makeup, it’s so mild you can use it both in the morning and at night. If you’re super-sensitive, however, we’d recommend introducing it into your routine two or three times a week, then building up as your skin becomes more tolerant. It’s just sensible skincare practice.

2. PCA Skin Gentle Exfoliant


A good one for both dry and oily complexions, this exfoliating cleanser contains jojoba seed oil for light hydration and uses tiny, smooth beads to gently remove dead skin cells as it’s massaged into your skin. Glycolic acid is its primary exfoliating ingredient, while aloe vera leaf juice helps purify, soften and smooth. PCA Skin products are also free from skin irritants like fragrance and artificial colors which is a big tick in the brand’s favor.

3. SkinCeuticals Purifying Cleanser

Containing no beads or ‘scrub’ like particles, this mild cleansing gel again uses glycolic acid to gently exfoliate the skin and remove dead skin buildup. It also contains glycerin to help keep your skin moisturized, and is fragrance-free so shouldn’t cause any irritation if you’re of a sensitive nature. We love the fact you can use this every day to soften and smooth the skin.

Tip: Remember, too much exfoliation is just as bad as not exfoliating at all. In fact, you may even be worse off if you’re over-zealous with both your methodology and frequency of exfoliation. Why? Because over-exfoliation often leads to redness, irritation, tightness and dryness, which, if you ask us, is a helluva lot worse than dull skin. Don’t you agree?

Written by: Georgia Gould