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How to Exfoliate If You Have or Are Prone to Acne

* Skin exfoliators come in either chemical or physical options
* Physical options can sometimes be abrasive leading to a spread of bacteria
* Chemical options are preferable for acne-prone and sensitive skin

When it comes to exfoliating your skin, options fall into 2 camps, physical and chemical. For many years, there has been a debate as to which exfoliator type is the most effective and delivers the best outcome for your skin.

Physical exfoliants include things like salts, clays, beads and items that are ‘physically’ abrasive to the skin, while chemical options generally involve one or more of three acids, glycolic, lactic or salicylic. The accepted downside to physical options is the need for the abrasion. This scrubbing may be effective for some people, but those with slightly more sensitive skin might find the constant abrasion to be more disruptive than beneficial. That’s because abrasive exfoliates tend to tear the skin, allowing the spread of bacteria and causing additional acne breakouts.

Chemical options sound scarier, but the reality is it’s easier to scrub too hard than it is to cause excessive damage through the use of chemicals. In addition, chemical exfoliators have added benefits in the long run, such as stimulating collagen production and producing a smoother appearance for your skin.

As as additional note, it’s important not to over exfoliate your skin. Exfoliating once or twice a week should be sufficient. And, post-exfoliation treatments are also an important step for ensuring your skin is protected and in the best possible shape.

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Below, you’ll find 6 exfoliating options that are ideal for people who have more sensitive skin or are prone to acne breakouts.

1. Body Merry Glycolic Acid Exfoliating Cleanser

Enjoy a brighter, rejuvenated complexion with

. It contains a mix of glycolic acid, willow bark and jojoba beads to prevent the build up of dirt and oil on your skin. It also helps unclog pores and removes dead skin cells at the same time. The mix of effective ingredients ensures you receive a deep and nourishing clean, which can also fight against skin marks like age spots, sun spots, acne scars and other unwanted marks. This cleanser can also be paired with a moisturizer, toner and serum to further improve the look of your rejuvenated skin.

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Image courtesy of Amazon


2. Paula’s Choice Clear Anti-Redness Exfoliating Solution

Sporting 2% salicylic acid, the

is a great leave-on option for looking after your skin. Working almost immediately, you’ll notice a reduction in redness, clogged pores, blackheads and pimples. It also boasts a light-as-water texture, which means that even after application, you’ll feel like you don’t have anything on your face. The solution is free from harsh ingredients, fragrance free and hasn’t been tested on animals.

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Image courtesy of Amazon


3. La Roche-Posay Effaclar Dermatological Acne Treatment System


contains three steps for getting your skin free of acne. From day one of the treatment, you will begin to see the difference in your skin’s condition. After 10 days, this system may provide up to a 60% reduction in noticeable acne on your skin. Inside each pack, you’ll find a 2-month supply of acne wash, acne toner and acne cream.

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Image courtesy of Amazon


4. Laura Mercier Flawless Skin Face Polish

If flawless skin is something that sounds appealing, the Laura Mercier Flawless Polish may be the skincare option choice for you. Although it’s a physical scrub, it’s suitable for those with acne-prone sensitive skin. Inside the creamy scrub, you’ll find jojoba beads that work to cleanse and exfoliate your skin while removing dead skin cells. This will leave your skin feeling smooth, looking radiant and possessing an attractive glow.

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Image courtesy of Sephora


5. REN Clean Skincare Ready Steady Glow Daily AHA Tonic

The REN AHA Tonic promises to be a powerful yet gentle solution for sensitive skin. The included lactic acid and salicylic acid work to reduce oiliness and clean out your individual pores. It also encourages an increase in the turnover of skin cells to give your skin a better appearance. As an added bonus, the other ingredients in the tonic deliver a boost of energy and a noticeable glow to worn and tired skin.

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Image courtesy of Sephora


6. Murad Age Reform AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser

Boasting a trio of exfoliating acids, the Murad Age Reform Cleanser is an effective anti-acne answer. Use the cleanser two to three times a week to help boost your complexion and give you younger looking skin that’s clear of excess dirt and debris. The included salicylic, lactic and glycolic acids work alongside jojoba beads to leave dullness behind. In addition, this dermatologist-developed cleanser doesn’t include phthalates and has not been tested on animals.

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Image courtesy of Ulta


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