Skincare

The Best 5 Exfoliants for Sensitive Skin

December 8, 2019
A black woman using a dry brush on her leg

When you have sensitive skin, you have to be cautious about the type of products you use. One small thing can cause irritation and set you back in your routine. Choosing gentle products with nourishing ingredients is important, especially when looking for the best exfoliants for sensitive skin.

Exfoliating regularly is essential if you want brighter, smoother skin. To avoid irritation, you want to find a scrub that’s non-abrasive and use it properly.

In this post, you’ll find the best exfoliants for sensitive skin and learn why this step is a must for your weekly routine.

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Why is Exfoliating Important?

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

Another benefit is your products will become more effective since they’ll be able to penetrate deeper.

It’s recommended to exfoliate 2-3 times per week, however, this will vary depending on what your skin can tolerate.

Different Ways to Exfoliate

There are two ways you can exfoliate:

  • Physical Exfoliation
  • Chemical Exfoliation

A physical exfoliant involves manually scrubbing away dead, rough skin. Some examples are sugar scrubs, exfoliating nets, and face brushes.

It’s important to be gentle when using these and not overdo it. Your skin shouldn’t feel raw or flaky afterward.

Chemical exfoliants are acids that help dissolve the glue that holds skin cells together. With time, the skin will shed and reveal smooth, rejuvenated results. A few examples are Glycolic, Salicylic, and Lactic acid.

Best Exfoliants for Sensitive Skin

Skin & Co Face Gommage

Skin & Co Face Gommage

The Face Gommage from Skin & Co is a cleanser and exfoliant that helps to polish the skin, remove impurities, and provide a radiant appearance.

Some of the ingredients are:

  • Black Winter Truffle
  • Sweet Almond Oil
  • Apricot Seed Powder

The Apricot Seed Powder is gentle and will help you achieve smooth skin. I also love that this cleanser can help fade blemishes and discoloration. This is a must-have for sensitive skin and will quickly become a staple in your routine!

Related Post: The Best 6 Face Cleansers for Sensitive Skin

DIY Sugar Scrub

If you haven’t been able to find the perfect exfoliant, then mixing a DIY is the next best option.

The beauty of DIYs is you know exactly what you’re adding to your products. You’re able to customize it based on your skin type and concerns.

Here are the ingredients I use for my sugar scrubs:

  • Coconut Sugar
  • Argan Oil
  • Almond Oil
  • Vegetable Glycerin
  • Avocado Oil

You can view a tutorial by clicking here. This takes no longer than 5 minutes to make and you can use it from head to toe.

Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant

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

The 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant from Paula’s Choice is a leave-on chemical exfoliant that unclogs pores, smooths wrinkles, and brightens skin tone.

My favorite ingredient in this product is Salicylic Acid which is great for sensitive skin.

Here are some benefits of using it:

  • Promotes exfoliation
  • Reduces the appearance of blackheads
  • Combats acne
  • Combats oily skin
  • Helps reduce blemishes

Although it’s gentle enough for daily use, you want to find a frequency that works best for your skin.

Michael Todd Beauty Sonicsmooth

The Sonicsmooth Dermaplaning Tool from Michael Todd Beauty is a facial exfoliating system that removes peach fuzz and the build-up of dead skin cells. This should be used in your routine once a week.

Here are some benefits to expect:

  • Reveals brighter, smoother skin
  • Helps your products penetrate deeper
  • Rids complexion of facial hair
  • Helps your makeup apply smoothly

I was nervous the first time I used it, however, I fell in love after seeing the results. This leaves my skin smooth and it has helped fade the hyperpigmentation I’ve struggled with.

Exfoliating Gloves

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

Exfoliating gloves are made out of textured fabric similar to a loofah and can be used to exfoliate your whole body, including hard-to-reach areas.

I love pairing this with my favorite body wash to cleanse and exfoliate at the same time. They’re easy to use and can provide the following benefits:

  • Prevent ingrown hairs
  • Unclogs your pores
  • Improves blood circulation
  • Sloughs off dead skin

When using these, you want to let the gloves do all of the work. Don’t press down hard on your skin, be gentle and use circular motions to exfoliate.


Finding the best exfoliants for sensitive skin will take time, trial and error is key to your skincare journey. Always look for non-abrasive scrubs and be gentle.

As you continue to prioritize exfoliation in your weekly routine, your skin will thank you for it!

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