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What are the Different Types of Exfoliation Products?

Diane Goettel
Updated May 21, 2024
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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.

BeautyAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Diane Goettel
By Diane Goettel , Former Writer
"Diane Goettel has a BA from Sarah Lawrence College and an MA in English from Brooklyn College. Diane lives in Mount Vernon, New York with her husband, Noah. They are the proud parents of a Doberman Pinscher named Spoon. Specialties: book editing, book marketing, book publishing, freelance writing, magazine publishing, magazine writing, copywriting,"

Discussion Comments

By SarahSon — On Jan 09, 2012

Are there some good body exfoliation products that work well on your feet?

This is where I seem to have the biggest trouble. I get tired of having dry, cracked feet - especially in the winter. I don't know if it is because of lack of moisture or if I need to get the layers of dead skin cells off.

Applying lotion every day doesn't seem to help much, and I think some kind of exfoliating product would give me better results.

You would certainly be able to use something much coarser on your feet than you would on your face. I am looking for some good products for exfoliation other than using on my face.

By Mykol — On Jan 09, 2012

I know there are a lot of great face exfoliation products on the market, but I had the best results when I went to the dermatologist for a chemical peel.

There are different kinds of price ranges available, and I went with a medium peel. Because it only need to be done once every few years, I figured the amount I was saving on skin exfoliation products was worth it.

The difference was dramatic, and since then, I make sure and have one done every 3-4 years. My face looks likes it is sunburned and will peel for about a week. After that, it is as soft and smooth as a baby.

I use a mild exfoliating cleanser on my face on a regular basis, but other than that, my face stays this soft for a very long time.

By bagley79 — On Jan 08, 2012

I can tell a big difference in my skin when I don't use an exfoliant on a regular basis. My face starts to feel rough and looks lifeless.

Once I begin using an exfoliating cleanser along with an exfoliating washcloth, my skin immediately begins to feel softer and smoother.

It really does make a different getting the dead layers of skin off your face. I do know that when using facial exfoliation products, you have to be careful you aren't too rough.

I would recommend only using products that are meant for your face. If you use something that is too coarse, that will leave your face looking very red and will not give you the results you want.

Diane Goettel

Diane Goettel

Former Writer

"Diane Goettel has a BA from Sarah Lawrence College and an MA in English from Brooklyn College. Diane lives in Mount...
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