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What Does Exfoliate Skin Mean? Here Is Why Should Do it and How Often


Our skin naturally sheds dead skin cells every 30 days to give rise to new healthy cells. Often, these dead skin cells do not shed completely on their own. 

Hence, your skin appears dry, flaky, and your pores become clogged. This is where exfoliating comes into the picture. 

Exfoliating refers to the process of removing dead skin cells from your skin. It could be either by using a chemical, granular substance, or an exfoliation tool.

Table of Contents:

  • What Does Exfoliating Do for Your Skin?
  • Which Is the Best Type of Exfoliation for Me?
  • Physical Exfoliation
  • Chemical Exfoliation
  • How Often Should I Exfoliate?
  • What Is the Correct Way to Exfoliate?
  • Do Not Scrub
  • Avoid Over-Exfoliating
  • Quality Over Quantity
  • Physical Vs Chemical Exfoliants
  • Skincare

What Does Exfoliating Do for Your Skin?

Skin exfoliation has numerous benefits. Stating the obvious first, but removing the dead skin cells will make your skin feel smoother, softer, and more supple than before. 

This is because your skin is now free from all the buildup of dirt, oil, and microbes, along with the dead cells. 

This buildup is responsible for clogging your pores and making your skin look dull. Without exfoliation, these clogged pores can lead to acne breakouts.

dry skin, skin flakes, skin buildup

Exfoliation also promotes blood circulation to the face and makes your skin look more radiant in addition to the softness and suppleness. 

It can also improve the effectiveness of topical skincare products due to enhanced absorption. In the long run, it can help in increasing the production of collagen protein. This protein promotes skin elasticity, minimizes the appearance of fine lines, and keeps the skin firm. 

Which Is the Best Type of Exfoliation for Me?

There are 2 main types of exfoliation, and the best type of exfoliation for you would depend on certain factors.

Physical Exfoliation

A physical exfoliant is one in which you need to manually scrub the product on your face and body. Examples include cleansing scrubs, exfoliating mitts, pumice stones, and loofahs, among others. 

body scrub

You can use this at home to get rid of the dead cells. 

If done incorrectly, it may irritate your skin. Be gentle and always follow it up with a humectant to seal in the moisture. 

Chemical Exfoliation

Chemical exfoliants use different chemicals, like hydroxy acids and retinol. Like physical exfoliants, they too can irritate the skin and damage it. 

  • Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) are water-soluble acids. Examples include glycolic acid, lactic acid, citric acid, tartaric acid, and malic acid. According to the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and polyhydroxy acids (PHAs) enhance skin cell turnover rate by lightly exfoliating skin. These can also help in resolving other skin concerns like age spots, melasma, large pores, fine lines, and wrinkles, as well as uneven skin tone. They work by peeling away the top layer of skin so that new skin cells can take their place. 
  • Beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) are oil-soluble acids. They work by drying out excess oils and dead skin cells to unclog your pores. Examples include salicylic acid, tropic acid, etc. 
  • Retinoids are vitamin A derivatives used to soothe sun-damaged skin, treat acne, and reduce the signs of aging by protecting your skin from free radicals and promoting collagen production. Examples include retinol, tretinoin, adapalene, etc. 

How Often Should I Exfoliate?

The frequency of exfoliation primarily depends on your specific skin type. Certain skin types need it more than others. 

If you have oily skin, you can exfoliate 3 to perhaps even 4 times a week. For normal to dry skin, exfoliate once or twice a week. For sensitive skin, you may want to exfoliate once every 8 to 9 days. 

You should also keep in mind other factors like temperature, air quality, hormones, and age when deciding the frequency of exfoliation. 

For example, on days you sweat more, it is easier for your pores to get clogged, and hence you may need to exfoliate more frequently as compared to days when you do not sweat as much. 

What Is the Correct Way to Exfoliate?

While exfoliating has numerous benefits when done correctly, the incorrect method can lead your skin to become more damaged and irritated. 

That is why you should keep in mind a few things to exfoliate the correct way. I have explained them below.

Do Not Scrub

Instead of scrubbing or rubbing the exfoliant on your skin which can aggravate and irritate your skin, be gentle and firm while massaging the exfoliant in circular motions on your face. 

Avoid Over-Exfoliating

Understand your skin and its requirements. Over-exfoliating can cause additional problems like inflammation. 

Quality Over Quantity

Keep in mind that you do not need generous amounts of exfoliant to make sure that you are getting rid of all the dead cells. 

A little goes a long way when it comes to exfoliating. You only need enough to create a thin layer on your face and massage it on. 

Physical Vs Chemical Exfoliants

For specific skin concerns, you may want to consider gentle chemical exfoliants. They can be more effective at targeting skin issues. Physical exfoliants are usually suitable for all skin types. 


An exfoliant cannot do much on its own if it isn't followed with the right products. Use a gentle cleanser before exfoliating, a moisturizer, and sunscreen in the day afterward. 

Being gentle while exfoliating is one of the most important things to avoid irritating your skin. The frequency and most suitable type of exfoliation depending on your skin type and its requirements. 

One exfoliant I know for a fact can work well for any skin type is mentioned below. 

WOW Ubtan Face & Body Scrub

WOW Ubtan Face & Body Scrub is a mix of natural botanicals suitable for all skin types. Infused with almond, walnut powder, chickpea flour, rose water, saffron extract, and other ingredients to exfoliate dry and dead skin cells. 

It supports the skin renewal process, helps in restoring the skin’s natural radiance and suppleness, and aid in smoothing and softening your skin. 

Ubtan Face & Body Scrub

Use this scrub once a week to get your glow back. 

Take a small quantity and rub it in circular motions on your face and body. Exfoliate for 2 to 3 minutes and rinse thoroughly with water. 


WOW has a wide range of other natural products that can work wonders for your skin. 

Explore more now!

Sangya Shaily

Sangya Shaily is a content writer from Mumbai, India. She loves writing lifestyle, beauty, fashion, and health & wellness-related content, among other things. In her leisure time, she loves to indulge in reading classic literature and spend time with her family.

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