How Do I Exfoliate Oily Skin?

Mallory Hall
Mallory Hall
An exfoliating scrub.
An exfoliating scrub.

Studies have shown that oily skin tends to age less quickly than other skin types, but many people who have oily skin struggle with acne and try to clear their complexions. If you have oily skin, exfoliating is the most effective way to shed the top layers of damaged, dead skin cells and clean out your pores. Exfoliation is a natural process, but you can speed it up by using creams, peels and lotions. Be sure to use products that have been formulated for oily skin, and avoid using alcohol-based products or those that contain harsh chemicals.

Avoid harsh soaps when exfoliating skin.
Avoid harsh soaps when exfoliating skin.

Oily skin might sometimes appear flaky as the result of the skin constantly renewing itself. Even though pores become clogged as the skin pushes dead cells to the surface and you want to fix this, avoid over-exfoliating. Over-exfoliating your skin can actually lead to an increased production of oil.

Exfoliate oily skin only as necessary; doing it too often or scrubbing too hard is counterproductive. If your body is more prone to producing oil, wet your skin first and gently brush a loofah, body glove or sponge across the areas on which you want to focus. If you have oily skin on your face, you can purchase special facial cleansing pads that are gentler than other cleansing tools.

Frequent exfoliation can make one more prone to sunburns.
Frequent exfoliation can make one more prone to sunburns.

Avoid harsh soaps when you exfoliate oily skin. Most of these products have the tendency to dry out skin by shrinking the outer layers of the skin. This restricts the flow of the body’s natural oils as they exit your body through the pores, which is ultimately what causes acne and other skin breakouts. Whether you need a soap or a moisturizer, choose products that were specifically formulated for oily skin.

Choosing a cleanser formulated for oily skin can help to improve tone.
Choosing a cleanser formulated for oily skin can help to improve tone.

Depending on your body, you might require a different method of oily skin care such as creams and lotions that contain exfoliating grains. Exfoliate oily skin by wetting your body and applying the product to the oily area, then use a circular motion to remove the dead skin cells. Some lotions, also known as chemical peels, contain mild alpha hydroxy acids or salicylic acids that peel the top layer of the skin away from your body in a process known as microdermabrasion. Avoid alcohol-based products because although alcohol might temporarily dry your pores, it can cause irritation and affect the skin later.

After you exfoliate oily skin, it is important to rinse off thoroughly. Be sure to apply a moisturizer specifically for oily skin, because these products do not contain pore-clogging ingredients. Remember that a new layer of skin is now at the surface, so you might also be more prone to sunburn.

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Discussion Comments

anon213717

If you have oily skin and you're looking to exfoliate it, I would highly recommend using a gentle exfoliating cleanser. Pevonia Botanica has a great exfoliating cleanser containing all natural ingredients perfect for oily skin. The price is not too expensive, but it's not cheap either. At the end of the day you get what you pay for, and overall it's a great product.

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    • An exfoliating scrub.
      By: kubais
      An exfoliating scrub.
    • Avoid harsh soaps when exfoliating skin.
      By: Deyan Georgiev
      Avoid harsh soaps when exfoliating skin.
    • Frequent exfoliation can make one more prone to sunburns.
      By: Rostislav Sedlacek
      Frequent exfoliation can make one more prone to sunburns.
    • Choosing a cleanser formulated for oily skin can help to improve tone.
      By: ipag
      Choosing a cleanser formulated for oily skin can help to improve tone.