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The ~*Best*~ Exfoliating Products That Will Help Reveal Healthy, Glowing Skin

Your guide on how to exfoliate your face without ruining your skin.
The best exfoliating products for glowing skin
PHOTO: (LEFT TO RIGHT) Ira Nopuente, Getty Images

Cleansing our skin is pretty standard practice, but what many people fail to realize is how important it is to exfoliate regularly. It can help get rid of dead skin, blackheads, and whiteheads, and when these layers are gone, you'll be left with smooth, glowing skin. Convinced that this is key to a flawless complexion? Read on for the 411 on exfoliation.

What is exfoliation anyway?

Exfoliation is the process of removing old or dead skin cells on the outermost layer of the skin. While our skin regularly sheds these dead skin cells every 30 days or so, there are some instances when they do not come off completely. This then results in a complexion that is clogged and patchy. Regular exfoliation is what helps prevent this.

How often should you exfoliate your face?

Experts agree that three times a week should be more than enough. Individuals with very sensitive skin can opt for once or twice every seven days. Before you get tempted to do more, know that over-exfoliation can damage the skin barrier by creating tiny cracks that could, in turn, lead to inflammation or skin dehydration.

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What's the proper way to exfoliate face?

Just because you’ve noticed that the scouring pad in your kitchen sponge does a great job at buffing out stubborn dirt, it does not mean that your plan of attack is to find an exfoliant that offers abrasion.

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There are two ways to exfoliate, physical {aka mechanical} and chemical exfoliation. When exfoliating mechanically, you make small circular motions with a gentle scrub or with an exfoliating tool. Chemical exfoliation, on the other hand, is simply accomplished with a good cotton pad and a skincare product loaded with actives (more on that later).

What physical or mechanical exfoliants can I use for my face?

Products and tools that you can use to mechanically exfoliate the face are typically designed to contain beads, shells, and other abrasive components that are meant to slough away at the topmost layer of the dermis. Here are the safest ones you can try:

Best physical exfoliant for normal to dry skin: Mary Kay Naturally Exfoliating Powder

Buff away those layers of dead skin cells with this non-abrasive scrub. This has finely milled rice starch that gently scrubs away layers of dead skin cells without irritating the skin. You can turn this into an exfoliating mask with this powder by adding a few drops of nourishing face oil to create a paste. 

Mary Kay Naturally Exfoliating Powder

Mary Kay Naturally Exfoliating Powder, P1,099, Mary Kay


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Best affordable physical exfoliant: Human Nature Purifying Facial Scrub

For under 100 pesos, this strawberry-infused scrub offers gentle exfoliation that would rid of dry flaky skin. If you need a body scrub, this tube has got you, too!

Human Nature
Purifying Facial Scrub, P99.75, Human Nature


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Best gentle physical exfoliant: Shiseido Waso Soft + Cushy Polisher 

A beauty junkie favorite, this exfoliant comes in a whipped tofu formula that clears away impurities while aiding skin renewal.

Waso Soft + Cushy Polisher, P1,600, Lazada


Best exfoliating tool: Foreo Luna 2 Mini 

Say goodbye to 99.5 percent of gunk with this small yet mighty silicone brush that gently exfoliates your skin every time you wash your face. 

Luna Mini, P7,538, Sephora 


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What chemical exfoliating products can I use?

Unlike its physical counterpart, chemical exfoliants work beyond the upper layers. Chemicals like AHA, BHA, and acids make their way in between the skin cells, loosening up debris, revealing a new layer in the process.

Best chemical exfoliant for oily skin: COSRX One Step Original Clear Pads

Regulate sebum production while providing gentle exfoliation with these willow bark water and betaine salicylate (a type of BHA) pre-soaked pads. 

One Step Original Clear Pads, P900, BeautyMNL


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Best chemical exfoliant for acne-prone skin: SNAILWHITE Glow Potion AHA-BHA Toner

This contender not only comes in with a very wallet-friendly price tag, but it also promises to exfoliate the skin without any peeling after-effects.

How to get rid of acne scars and marks: SNAILWHITE Glow Potion AHA-BHA Toner

SNAILWHITE Glow Potion AHA-BHA Toner, P395/150ml, Watsons


For Dry or Sensitive Skin: The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% +Ha

The cult classic The Ordinary has a large range of acids, and folks with sensitive skin will benefit from this anti-inflammatory solution that also happens to be cruelty-free and vegan-friendly.

The Ordinary
Lactic Acid 10% +Ha, P660, BeautyMNL


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Best chemical exfoliant for normal skin: Ole Henriksen Glow2OH™ Dark Spot Toner

This gently dissolves layers of dead skin and dislodges stuck gunk beneath the pores. Expect to see glowing skin in no time!

Ole Henriksen Glow2OH™ Dark Spot Toner

Ole Henriksen Glow2OH™ Dark Spot Toner, P1,770, Sephora


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