How Often Should You Exfoliate Your Face?

    How Often Should You Exfoliate Your Face

    How often should you exfoliate your face?

    Well, that depends on a few things.

    Not on your mood, or how motivated you’re feeling in a given week. Not on your ultimate skin goals (well, not really, anyways).

    It all comes down to your skin type, and what you’re exfoliating your skin with.

    Whether you have sensitive, acne-prone skin, or dry, aging skin, everyone, I mean everyone, should be exfoliating. No ifs, ands, or buts.

    How you exfoliate, however, should be completely dictated by your skin type.

    It’s often said that the rule of thumb for exfoliating is to keep it to three times a week max. As much as we’d love for it to be that simple, skin is way too complex to follow that general of advice.

    Here are a few basic rules you actually can follow, though.

    3 Rules On How Often To Exfoliate Your Face

    First, start slow.

    Begin by exfoliating just once a week, and wait to see how your skin reacts before you increase the frequency.

    Also keep in mind that even if your skin doesn’t feel irritated, you may not have the right skin type to be exfoliating more often.

    More on that later, though.

    Woman Scrubbing

    Second, keep the season in mind.

    As I’m sure is the case with your other skincare products and cosmetics, what you’re able to use in cold weather and what you’re able to use in warm weather differs.

    This is because our skin reacts differently based on the temperature, moisture in the air, etc.

    You may find that your skin can tolerate/use more exfoliation during the warmer, more humid months, and less often in the colder winter months when our skin is prone to be more dry.

    Thirdly, if your skin is left feeling and looking red, tender, and sensitive after exfoliation, these are tell tale signs that you are over exfoliating, so keep an eye on that and make sure you back off if need be.

    Finally, the method in which you exfoliate makes a big difference on how often you should be exfoliating.

    Before we get to the different methods, be sure to check out our post on how to exfoliate your face.

    You’ll get a lot of good tips there as well!

    Rotating Brush
    Since most bristles on rotating brushes, such as the Clarisonic, become stiff over time, it’s best to limit using these brushes to once or twice a week. If you’re good about changing the head, or feel like your brush has super soft bristles, feel free to use them more often.

    Since a washcloth is generally gentle, feel free to use this daily with your normal face cleanser. Make sure you use a new washcloth every night, though. I mean, unless you like spreading bacteria all across your face.

    Chemical exfoliant
    The number of times weekly you should use a chemical exfoliant varies slightly based on the strength of the product. For the most part, however, these should be limited to once a week. This is especially true if the exfoliant has a high concentration of glycolic acid.


    Face Scrubs

    The most common and well-known types of exfoliants are the scrubs.

    This is where your skin type matter greatly as far as how often you’re using these product.

    Now that we’ve covered the ground rules, let’s hop back in to answering your question.

    How often should you exfoliate your face?, especially when using a scrub, where the most variation lies.

    Keep reading to find out, all broken down by skin type.

    Oily Skin
    With oily skin, it’s best to stick to just twice a week for exfoliating. Since exfoliating strips our skins of natural oils, it signals to our skin that it needs to produce more. If you have oily skin to begin with, this can be an issue. By limiting your exfoliation to twice a week, you’re reaping the benefits of fresh skin while keeping additional oil at bay.

    Dry Skin
    When it comes to dry skin, you can exfoliate anywhere from one to three times a week. Start at once a week and see how your skin reacts, then work your way up if needed. A chemical exfoliant is also a good fit for someone with dry skin as it eliminates the build up of dead skin cells, but doesn’t require harsh scrubbing.

    Normal/Combination Skin
    If you have relatively normal skin, or find yourself oily through the T-zone area with dry cheeks (combination skin), you can safely exfoliate two to three times a week. Just remember that if your skin starts to feel raw, back it off a bit.

    Aging Skin
    When it comes to exfoliating your face, those with aging skin may benefit from it most. Older skin normally takes 37 days to regenerate fully, and exfoliation can help speed up that process by removing the dead skin cells and allowing your skin to start to breathe. For aging skin, stick to three times a week to reap the full benefits and give your skin a more youthful appearance.

    Mature Skin
    Image via Wise Owl Organics

    Sensitive/Acne Prone Skin
    For those of you who have more sensitive skin, or are struggling with regular breakouts and other acne-related skin issues (how is this still happening to us at this age?!), you’ll want to stick to once a week. While exfoliating is still a great fit for those with this skin type, it’s crucial you don’t damage your skin by overdoing it in the exfoliating department.

    Also, make sure you select a face exfoliator that has very gentle, smooth beads (not the plastic kind that hurt the environment, though). This will ensure the scrub isn’t too harsh on your delicate skin.

    So, there you have it. You now have the answer to the question of how often should you exfoliate your face. Make sure you practice safe exfoliation, and enjoy your beautiful results!

    So now that you know how often to exfoliate your face, be sure to read up on why it’s good to exfoliate your face in the first place!

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    About the Author

    About the Author: Brittney Fox is the Editorial Director and all-around beauty maven here at When she's not searching for the next big skincare breakthrough, Brittney loves Mexican food and salsa dancing.