The three main types of exfoliation products are exfoliating cleansers, exfoliants, and exfoliating masks. All three of these products help to clear out the pores and remove dead cells from the skin. They all do this in slightly different ways and to varying degrees.
Exfoliating cleanser is often the mildest of exfoliation products. This product is simply facial cleanser with an exfoliant mixed in. An exfoliant is a rough substance such as salt, or a product of similar hardness and grain size, that helps to slough off dead skin cells and clear off the pores when it is rubbed on the skin. The intensity of the exfoliation will depend on the ratio of exfoliant to cleanser. Some cleansers only include a very small amount of exfoliant while others include much more.
An exfoliant is an exfoliation product that is primarily made up of exfoliant with very little cleanser or other similar ingredients mixed in. While an exfoliating cleanser can offer some mild exfoliation and can be used daily, an exfoliant has more drastic results and should be used weekly or even less frequently, depending on skin sensitivity. "Skin buff" and "skin glow" are names that are commonly used for exfoliation products that are made up primarily of exfoliant.
The third variety of exfoliation products is exfoliation masks. These are skin products that are left on the skin for a certain amount of time and then either peeled away or washed away. The masks that are peeled away usually come in a gel-like form. They help to pull away dead skin cells and pull dirt and oil out of the pores. The masks that are washed away are made of clay that, as it dries on the skin, draws dirt, oil, and dead skin cells out of the pores.
Exfoliation products all help to remove dead skin cells and clear out the pores. They are basically beauty products that are used to remove a layer of skin. A much more intense version of these products is the chemical peel.
Unlike the exfoliation products described above, all of which can be safely used at home, a chemical peel must be administered by a doctor. The procedure may also require follow-up visits. A chemical peel can also be considered a kind of exfoliation product in that it removes multiple layers of dead or damaged skin and can also help to clear out the pores.