14 Best Face Exfoliators of 2023 | Dermatologists Recommended

Best Face Exfoliators plays a vital role for improving your skin and fighting acne by exfoliating dead skin cells & reducing the inflammation.

Last Updated: Jan 14, 2023

Best Exfoliators for Face

Exfoliation is a must no matter how sensitive your skin may be. There are various best face exfoliators, in the same way that there are specific types of exfoliators best suited to enhance the youthful appearance of mature and aging skin.

Exfoliates purge the skin of debris but provide an escalation factor in mimicking what the skin does naturally in stripping the skin of residue, dead cells and gland oil build-up that aging skin can no longer accomplish efficiently with regular cleansing alone.

How To Choose The Best Face Exfoliators?

If you haven’t already been initiated into exfoliation, listed below are five tips for you:

1. Know your skin type. Know how to exfoliate your skin based on your skin type because the best exfoliator is the one best suited for you. Here is a quick guide on the most suitable exfoliation techniques best suited for every skin type:

  • Normal: Scrub or enzyme-based.
  • Oily: Scrub, BHA or, manual exfoliator device.
  • Dry: Scrub, AHA combined with emollients and moisturizers.
  • Combination: AHAs and BHAs.
  • Sensitive Skin: Exfoliating brush or muslin cloth.
  • Acne prone skin: Salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide.
  • Mature and aging skin: AHAs and BHAs, professional chemical peels, microdermabrasion, laser skin resurfacing.

2. Read through the labels. Check out the the guide on exfoliation provided by the manufacturer. Make sure to follow exfoliation instructions exactly as stated to avoid permanently damaging your skin.

3. Always follow through with a moisturizer. Exfoliating can be very drying for your skin. Immediately restore moisture to avoid damaging your skin.

4. Exfoliate regularly. The frequency depends on your skin type and how your skin responds to your exfoliator. Keep in mind that each time you exfoliate, you are speeding up skin turnover, and that with each turnover, lesser damaged skin rises to the surface.

5. Get a professional exfoliation periodically. For more intense exfoliation, don’t learn how to exfoliate face more intensively. Instead, schedule a session with your skin care specialist, one that specifically addresses your most pressing skin concerns. Chemical peels combined with resurfacing techniques is one of the best ways to exfoliate for wrinkles removal.

Our Methodology: How We Choose The Best Exfoliators For Your Face?

We consulted numbers of dermatologists to share the best exfoliators they generally recommend to their patients along with the most compelling reasons to refer them. Secondly, we mined some highly rated and best selling exfoliators in the market on the basis of research conducted by our own R & D Team.

Further, we tested a few of the face exfoliators among the top one’s shortlisted and revealed the specifications in this best guide. Also, this article has been reviewed by the renowned dermatologists & beauty experts, so you can trust your reliable source completely.

Take a quick look at our top 12 best exfoliators we rounded up for you!

12 Best Exfoliators That Dermatologists Recommend!

Get ready to boost your skin’s youthful health and appearance with these 12 best skin exfoliators of 2022:

Cerave SA Cleanser
Best Exfoliator for Face Drugstore

Cerave SA Cleanser

Paula's Choice Exfoliant
Best Exfoliators for Acne Prone Skin

Paula’s Choice Exfoliant

Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant
Best Exfoliator for Body

Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant

Kate Somerville Exfolikate
Best Face Exfoliator for Oily Skin

Kate Somerville Exfolikate

Sunday Riley Good Genes
Best Exfoliator Drugstore

Sunday Riley Good Genes

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Explore The Best Face Exfoliators Recommended by Dermatologists

Best Exfoliator for Face Drugstore

Cerave SA Cleanser

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Cerave SA Cleanser is a non-comedogenic cleanser that exfoliates your skin while eliminating oil, debris, and dead cells. It smoothes your skin without causing it to lose moisture.

Brand: Cerave | Key Ingredients: Salicylic Acid, Antioxidants, niacinamide & Hyaluronic Acid | Size: 8 Fl. Oz. | Skin Type : All Skin Type

Green Signal

  • Cleanses Skin Intensely
  • Replenishes Skin Texture
  • Ehances The Complexion

Red Flag

  • It Feels Little Heavy
Best Exfoliators for Acne Prone Skin

Paula’s Choice Exfoliant

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Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant is one of the greatest liquid exfoliants that genuinely lives up to its claims. It’s core component gives many advantages such as improvement in skin texture, exfoliating dead skin cells.

Brand: Paula’s Choice | Key Ingredients: Salicylic Acid and Green Tea | Size: 4 Fl. oz. | Skin Type : All Skin Type

Green Signal

  • Improves Large Pores
  • Smoothes Skin Texture
  • It’s Very Light On Skin

Red Flag

  • Irritating For Some Users
Best Exfoliator for Body

Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant

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Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant promises to speed up skin regeneration and brighten the face in only one week. It is also effective on acne blemishes and scars. Coloidal oatmeal relaxes and soothes skin while papaya enzymes and salicylic acid remove dead skin cells and debris.

Brand: Dermalogica | Key Ingredients: Phytic acid, Papain Enzymes, Colloidal Oatmeal and Salicylic Acid | Size: 2.6 Fl.Oz | Skin Type : Normal, Combination, and Oily

Green Signal

  • Decongests The Skin
  • Improves Acne Blemishes
  • Restores Youthful Appearance

Red Flag

  • Not Recommended for Sensitive Skin
Best Face Exfoliator for Oily Skin

Kate Somerville Exfolikate

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Kate Somerville’s ExfoliKate Intensive Pore Exfoliating Treatment instantly brightens dull skin. Several people have praised this product for improving skin texture and pores since the first usage.

Brand: Kate Somerville’s | Key Ingredients: Papaya, Pineapple, and Pumpkin Enzymes, Lactic Acid, Salicylic Acid, and Silica | Size: 2 Fl.Oz | Skin Type : Normal, Combination, and Oily

Green Signal

  • Smooths Skin Texture
  • Polishes Facial Skin
  • Adds Youthful Glow

Red Flag

  • It’s Highly Priced
Best Exfoliator Drugstore

Sunday Riley Good Genes

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Good Genes All-In-One AHA Lactic Acid Treatment gently exfoliates dead skin cells & targets dark spots, pigmentation and large pores making the complexion smoother & glow. It intensely hydrates skin to give you a plumper & youthful look. It also combats fine lines & wrinkles.

Brand: Sunday Riley | Key Ingredients: Lactic acid, Licorice, Prickly Pear Extract and Lemongrass | Size: 1 Fl. oz | Skin Type : Normal Skin

Green Signal

  • Instantly Plumps Skin
  • Combats Hyperpigmentation
  • Deeply Exfoliates & Polishes

Red Flag

  • It’s Highly Priced
Best Exfoliating Pads

Dr Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Peel

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Dr Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Peel is a two-step AHA/BHA peel pad that contains 7 acids and 12 antioxidants. Among the two pre-soaked cotton wipes one is labelled as “Exfoliate & Smooth” which comes in three distinct variants (extra-strength, original, and ultra-gentle), whilst the other one is labelled “Anti-Aging Neutralizer”.

Brand: Dr. Dennis Gross | Key Ingredients: Glycolic Acid, Salicylic Acid, Resveratrol and Green Tea Extract | Size: 0.7 oz | Skin Type : Normal, Dry, Combination, and Oily Skin

Green Signal

  • Smoothens Fine Lines
  • Improves Uneven Skin Texture
  • Reduces Appearance of Pores

Red Flag

  • May Increase Sun Sensitivity
Best Face Exfoliators for Dry Skin

Tatcha Rice Polish

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Tatcha’s Rice Polish Foaming Enzyme Powder is a mild exfoliation made with Japanese rice bran that helps skin look polished and healthy. It works well on combination to dry skin.

Brand: Tatcha | Key Ingredients: Japanese Rice Bran, Tatcha’s Proprietary Complex of Rice, Green Tea, and Algae | Skin Type : Combination to Dry Skin

Green Signal

  • Increases Skin’s Moisture
  • Improves Skin Radiance
  • Gently Removes Dead Skin Cells

Red Flag

  • Not Recommended For Sensitive Skin
Best Face Scrub for Glowing Skin

St Ives Scrub

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St Ives Fresh Skin Scrub is one of the most cheap exfoliators on the market, but it has a grittier feel and can be harsh on your skin. This one is risky to use, especially if you have acne-prone or sensitive skin. We highly advise doing a patch test before applying to your facial skin.

Brand: St Ives | Key Ingredients: Potassium 3, Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Fruit Extract, Juglans Regia (Walnut) Shell Powder & Shea Powder | Size: 6 OZ | Skin Type : Normal, Dry & Combination Skin

Green Signal

  • Rejuvenates Dry, Dull Skin
  • Exfoliates Skin Intensely
  • Improves Skin Texture

Red Flag

  • Product Texture is Grittier
Best Exfoliator for Clogged Pores

The Ordinary Exfoliator

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One of the best exfoliating alternatives is the Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution. The colour and consistency contribute to the fun factor of application. However, because its composition is so powerful, doing a patch test always works!

Brand: The Ordinary | Key Ingredients: Alpha and beta hydroxy acids, hyaluronic acid crosspolymer, vitamin B5, black carrot, and Tasmanian | Skin Type : All Skin Type

Green Signal

  • Improves Skin Tone
  • It’s Very Lightweight
  • Improves Skin Hydration

Red Flag

  • Causes Tingling Sensation
Best Face Exfoliators for Mature Skin

Skinceuticals Micro-Exfoliating Scrub

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This product uses diatomaceous earth microbeads from marine sources to slough away the dry, damaged and lifeless top layer of your skin, in turn facilitating a more efficient skin regeneration and turnover. This product is also infused with aloe which helps facilitate faster skin healing and the restoration of yours skin’s protective barrier protection.

Brand: Skinceuticals | Key Ingredients: Propylene Glycol, Glycerin, Pentylene Glycol | Size: 5 Oz | Skin Type : All Skin Type

Green Signal

  • Promotes youthful-looking skin
  • Effectively exfoliates
  • Prevents Moisture Loss

Red Flag

  • Its Not Paraben-Free
Best Face Exfoliator for Sensitive Skin

Cetaphil Extra Gentle Daily Scrub

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Cetaphil Extra Mild Daily Scrub is a gentle facial cleanser that eliminates dirt, oil, and pollutants while buffing away dry, dull skin to enhance natural surface cell renewal. Its vitamin complex infusion leaves skin soft, smooth, and radiant. You don’t have to worry if you are prone to acne or chemicals because this is one of the most rated gentle face exfoliators.

Brand: Cetaphil | Key Ingredients: Vitamin E & B5, Glycerin | Size: 6 Fl Oz | Skin Type : Combination to Oily, Sensitive Skin

Green Signal

  • Exfoliates Gently
  • Nourishes Skin
  • Increases Skin Hydration

Red Flag

Gentle Face Exfoliator

Versed Doctor’s Visit

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The Versed Doctor’s Visit Instant Resurfacing Face Mask is well-known among skincare enthusiasts. Its gel-like substance slides easily across the face. It revitalizes your face from the first usage. It provides several benefits and is unquestionably value for money.

Brand: Versed | Key Ingredients: AHAS, BHA, Papaya and Pineapple Enzymes | Size: 1.7 Fl Oz | Skin Type : All Skin Type

Green Signal

  • Smoothes Skin Texture
  • Provides Dewy Glowing Skin
  • Enhances Skin Complexion

Red Flag

  • Very Few Customer Reviews


When it comes to great-looking skin, prevention and maintenance are of premium importance. Exfoliation is an effective means by which you can keep your skin healthy and youthful looking so be sure to take advantage.

Comparison – Best Face Exfoliators 2023 (Our Top Picks)

Product Price Expert Rating Where To Buy
Cerave SA Cleanser $11.47 4.9/5 Buy on Amazon
Paula’s Choice Exfoliant $34.00 4.8/5 Buy on Amazon
Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant $64.00 4.7/5 Buy on Amazon
Kate Somerville Exfolikate $28.00 4.6/5 Buy on Amazon
Sunday Riley Good Genes $85.00 4.3/5 Buy on Amazon
Dr Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Peel $142.50 4.1/5 Buy on Amazon
Tatcha Rice Polish $68 4.1/5 Buy on Amazon
St Ives Scrub $19.47 4.1/5 Buy on Amazon
The Ordinary Exfoliator $13.14 4.1/5 Buy on Amazon
Skinceuticals Micro-Exfoliating Scrub $32.99 4.1/5 Buy on Ebay
Cetaphil Extra Gentle Daily Scrub $8.97 4.1/5 Buy on Amazon
Versed Doctor’s Visit $17.99 4.1/5 Buy on Amazon

The 3 Most Compelling Reasons Why You Should Exfoliate:

There is really no best time to exfoliate. The benefits of exfoliation for all skin type has already been established. Keep in mind to choose the right exfoliator for your face based on your skin type.

Below are 3 of the best reasons why you should keep exfoliating no matter how sensitive your skin may be:

1. Exfoliation speeds up skin healing. It also helps facilitate skin restructuring and renewal, according to a study involving pig skin which demonstrated how a chemical peel smoothened the pig skin, suggesting the same benefits of exfoliation, chemical peeling specifically, in improving signs of skin aging.

2. Exfoliation promotes skin restructuring. Any form of exfoliation will help stimulate faster skin regeneration and renewal mechanisms. Some forms are preferred over others in addressing very specific needs for exfoliation. According to a review of chemical peels, the best exfoliator for acne scars involves superficial and medium peeling using a chemical peel agent.

3. Exfoliation improves the absorption of beneficial ingredients of other products in your regimen. When the corneal stratum, consisting of layer after layer of dead skin cells sitting on the surface of your skin, is broken down, your products can penetrate your skin more easily and deeply.

Is It Good to Exfoliate Your Face?

In an industry that originated with a few simple steps to proper skincare, cleansing was the purest way possible to properly care for the skin.

As perceptions about appearance and aging changed so did the number of skincare products sitting on the bathroom counter.

In a society where the streamlining of processes is common and the need for multi-functioning products is the norm, the skincare industry’s product lines had to conform.

This change has also complicated the selection of a basic facial cleanser, in that cleansers can no longer just clean the skin. They must perform other functions to compete for the attention of the multi-tasking mindset.

What Do Exfoliators Do?

Beyond the surface, more abrasive exfoliation bolsters what the skin does naturally, a process in decline as the skin ages (source).

The clearing of trapped oil in the skin’s pores, the layering of dead skin cells, and the stimulating of cell turnover all work to maintain optimum skin health.

However, selecting an exfoliate that doesn’t damage the skin in the process can be the challenge.

Often, exfoliates such as crush nutshells, synthetic plastic beads, and rough clothes can perform the task but lead to scaring and increased irritation.

Is Chemical Exfoliation Better Than Physical?

Chemical alternatives in beta and alpha hydroxides such as glycolic, lactic, salicylic acids often derived from plants and other organic materials tackle cell regeneration from below skin’s surface.

According to Lisa VanBockern, licensed Aesthetician and owner of Tempe, Arizona-based Skin Script Products, “Crushed nut shells can be too aggressive and create microscopic tears in the skin which causes irritation. Chemicals are working their way into the skin and actually doing something at the surface and below the surface of the skin.”

Combining the benefits of a simple cleanser with the enhanced stimulation of an exfoliate provides the gentle detergents the face needs to rid it of oil and debris on the surface while incorporating the more deep-penetrating action essential for pore-reshaping, dead cell-purging and clogged oil gland-pumping. However, aside from deciding tolerance for crushed shell or bead scraping or acid stripping, the frequency must also be considered.

Why Should You Choose An Exfoliating Cleanser?

Exfoliating cleansers provide the best opportunity for consistent use in that it is a major component in a product designed for daily use–the cleanser (source).

Also exfoliates alone can bring more harm than benefit if used improperly for optimum results, Orange County plastic surgeon and director of OCBody.com, Dr. John Di Saia MD warns, “Exfoliants using mechanical means (beads, shells) should be mixed conservatively if at all with chemical exfoliants. The combination in inexperienced hands can lead to scarring that can be hard to correct.”

The gentle nature of cleansers can counteract the potential harm exfoliates can cause if used alone.

As a result, selecting the most effective exfoliating cleanser is based on the appropriate skin type for the cleansing component and the condition of the skin for the exfoliating component to achieve a more cleansed skin across all of its layers.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

Que: How Do You Exfoliate Correctly?
Ans: When using a scrub or chemical exfoliant, use tiny, circular motions to apply it softly. Rinse with lukewarm water after about 30 seconds of this. Avoid using hot water for rinsing. Also, if you use a brush or sponge for exfoliating, choose ones that have short, soft strokes. Exfoliating should be avoided if you have open wounds or sores, or if your skin is burned.

Que: Does Exfoliating Reduce Acne?
Ans: Whether your acne is minimal or severe, exfoliating on a regular basis will smooth and soften your skin while also brightening your complexion. 

Que: How Often Should You Exfoliate If You Have Acne?
Ans: If your skin is prone to acne, experts recommend exfoliating 2-3 times each week. You may need to lower it to 1-2 times per week depending on the severity of your acne.

Que: Can Over Exfoliating Make Acne Worse?
Ans: Skin that has been over-exfoliated can become so sensitive and damaged that it becomes readily irritated. This irritation might lead to an acne breakout. Using too much exfoliant also eliminates too much of the skin’s surface layer, removing all of the stored moisture. 

Why Should You Trust Us?

Our experts have thoroughly investigated every detail of each product for a week or more and have determined that they pass safety checks. This ensures that the products we recommend are the best for addressing your skincare concerns.


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