Beauty Skincare

Must Have Exfoliants for Dry, Sensitive Skin

December 8, 2019
Must-Have Exfoliants for Dry, Sensitive Skin

I used to be scared of using exfoliants for my dry, sensitive skin because of the negative feedback I heard! I’d hear people say how their faces turned red and irritated, and some even complained about soreness. Why would I set myself up for that when I’ve been warned?!

Since my skin is very sensitive, I put off using an exfoliant for the longest, however, I’m glad I decided to do my own research and try different products that now work wonders for me!

No matter what your skin type is, exfoliating regularly is an important step to have in your skincare routine. Exfoliation is key if you’re looking for brighter, smoother skin! The main issue with many people isn’t exfoliating—it’s the type of exfoliant they’re using and how often they’re doing it that ends up backfiring.

Disclosure: This post contains Affiliate Links. For more information, see my Privacy Policy here.


Why is Exfoliating Important?

Before we talk about what the best exfoliants for dry, sensitive skin are, what is exfoliating and why is it a huge deal?

Exfoliating removes the build-up of dead skin cells. As those dead cells continue to pile on top of your skin, it can lead to dullness, dark spots, and acne—three concerns we all try to avoid. When you exfoliate, you also reveal new, brighter skin underneath that is soft with a natural glow.

Another benefit of exfoliating is your products will become more effective. Since those dead skin cells will be removed, the products you use will be able to penetrate deeper into your skin and work better. Those acne treatments, retinol, and serums will work great if you keep your skin exfoliated.

Exfoliating is important because it'll help reveal new, brighter skin that is smoother with a natural glow. Click To Tweet

Ways to Exfoliate Your Skin

There are two ways you can exfoliate:

  • Physical Exfoliation
  • Chemical Exfoliation

If you have sensitive skin, then I’m sure looking at the word “chemical” makes you nervous, I felt the same when I heard of this option. However, after research and trial & error, I can honestly say it’s not bad. If anything, chemical exfoliants are more effective.

There are two ways you can exfoliate your skin: Physical + Chemical exfoliation. Each has its own benefits for our skin. Click To Tweet

Physical Exfoliants

Physical exfoliants manually scrub away dead skin cells.

When you use a physical exfoliant, you’re manually scrubbing away dead skin cells. Some popular ones you may have heard of are:

  • Sugar/Salt Scrubs
  • Exfoliating Gloves
  • Washcloth
  • Facial Tools

Chemical Exfoliants

Chemical exfoliants contain acids that help dissolve the “glue” that holds skin cells together which ensures they can be removed easily. A few acids you can use are:

  • Glycolic Acid
  • Salicylic Acid
  • Lactic Acid

I love using products with Glycolic or Salicylic Acid, however, everyone’s sensitive skin isn’t the same and you may not be able to handle those. You’ll have to go through trial and error to find the best one that works, but make sure you do a patch test! Don’t become like me and apply a new exfoliant all over your face… imagine how terrible that ended!

Exfoliants for Dry, Sensitive Skin

I’ve been alternating these exfoliants for months and they have worked amazing. Ever since I started exfoliating regularly, I’ve noticed a difference with the overall look and feel of my skin. These exfoliants are all-natural and I highly recommend them!

DIY Sugar Scrub

I’ve tried a variety of sugar scrubs but, of course, my top favorite will have to be my own DIY. I decided to make my own exfoliant one day out of curiosity and ended up loving it. The beauty of DIY’s is you know exactly what you’re putting in your products. You’re able to customize it based on your skin type and concerns.

I posted my DIY scrub tutorial on Instagram and included the ingredients used in the caption which you can check out here. The ingredients are affordable and the scrub takes no longer than 5-10 minutes to mix. You don’t have to follow the same exact recipe! There are many DIY’s you can try with the ingredients you already have!

Demosea Glycolic Exfoliating Toner

Demosea Botanicals Glycolic Exfoliating Toner is one of the must-have exfoliants for dry, sensitive skin.

I’ve tried Glycolic Acid in the past and didn’t have the best experience. It wasn’t until recently that I found out the percentage of acid(s) in my exfoliants can have a lot to do with how much it can irritate my skin. I’m glad I decided to give it another try and this time it’s from a brand called Demosea.

I use this on freshly cleansed skin, however, I don’t use it daily. It does tingle when you apply it to your face but it isn’t to the point where it causes redness or irritation. When you try this, make sure you spray it on a cotton round and dab it on your face. This has done an amazing job at fading hyperpigmentation along my jawline!

Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant

A must-have exfoliant for dry, sensitive skin is Paula's Choice BHA Liquid Exfoliant.

I found out about Paula’s Choice BHA Liquid Exfoliant through my Boxycharm subscription box. Unfortunately, they didn’t include it with my order—but I started to hear good reviews about this product. I decided to order the travel size just in case it didn’t work for me.

I’ve been using this regularly in my morning and night routine and I love it! You use this after applying your toner. This product contains another one of my favorite acids, Salicylic, which is perfect for providing an even skin tone and controlling acne.

You want to make sure you follow up with a good moisturizer after using this, but other than that, this has shown me a huge difference with my hyperpigmentation and breakouts. I used it for one week straight when I first received it and it cleared up a breakout I had on my cheeks and jawline!

Michael Todd Beauty Dermaplaner

Beauty devices/tools can be used as a physical exfoliant! Michael Todd Beauty’s Dermaplaning Tool is my number one favorite. We collaborated a few months ago and I received this device which helps remove dead skin cells and peach fuzz. Although I was nervous the first couple of times I used it, it has quickly become a staple.

After seeing the dead skin left behind after using this tool, I can’t begin to tell you how relieved I was. Yeah, seeing the dead skin was a tad bit disgusting, but at least it was removed from my face! Besides that, this leaves my skin very soft and has helped with my hyperpigmentation as well. You can check out my full review here!

Exfoliating Gloves

Exfoliating gloves are a great exfoliant for dry, sensitive skin since they aren't abrasive.

The last best exfoliant for dry, sensitive skin is exfoliating gloves. I tried these for the first time on my body last year and immediately fell in love. Since it did so well on my body, I figured using it as an exfoliant on my face would produce the same results, and I was right!

I’m very gentle when using these since my skin can become easily irritated from anything abrasive. You don’t have to press down hard, you simply add your cleanser and rub in gentle, circular motions to remove dead skin cells.

I purchase my exfoliating gloves off of Amazon and they come in a set with different colors. These are affordable and can be used multiple times—just throw them in the washer after using them!


If you have dry, sensitive skin and have been hesitant to use an exfoliant, I hope this post helped you realize they aren’t so bad! You have to keep your skin type in mind and always make sure you’re gentle when exfoliating. This step has been a game-changer in my skincare routine and I can’t imagine not doing it.

Do you exfoliate? What are your favorite exfoliants to use?

Did you love this post? Share it on Pinterest!
Must-Have Exfoliants for Dry, Sensitive Skin | Do you have a hard time finding a good exfoliant for your sensitive skin? In this post, we talk about the benefits of exfoliating and all-natural exfoliant products to use in your routine.
Subscribe to my email list below

You Might Also Like

No Comments

Leave a Reply