5 Simple Exfoliating Tips for Sensitive Skin


Exfoliation – it’s a tricky business. When should you do it? How often? What products should you use? Is it normal to be red afterwards? Are you doing it right?

Sister, I’ve had all the same questions at you. (Also I just realised I’m definitely not cool enough to pull off ‘sister’ – sorry about that.)

Exfoliating is particularly tricky for sensitive skin, as without the right products and routine, it can easily inflame, cause breakouts and do more harm than good. (Kind of like Mr Incredible in The Incredibles – means well, but wreaks some havoc.)

So I pulled together all my tips for creating a facial exfoliating routine for sensitive skin that works. Coincidentally, there’s 5. What are the chances!


1. Limit it to 1-2 times per week

Your skin can feel SO GOOD after you exfoliate that you can be tempted – all people on a quest for good skin are – to exfoliate more, sometimes even daily. RESIST THE URGE! I know you feel clean and fresh and dead skin cell-less, but your skin does not need to be exfoliated daily. Keep it to 1-2 times per week.

I personally do it once a week – and what a day that is. I have dry skin from the eyebrows down, with an oily forehead, all of it sensitive and have found that works best for me.


2. Don’t use an exfoliating face wash, use an actual exfoliant product

An exfoliating face wash is my version of a ‘Conditioning Shampoo’ that hotels lump you with rather than give you a shampoo AND a conditioner. I have absolutely no idea how a product is meant to take the dirt and oils out of your hair, while replacing them at the same time? Someone please explain that.

Similarly an exfoliating face wash is trying to do two jobs at once, and likely doing neither of them well. (Multi-tasking is a myth people, I’m telling you. Read this if you’re wondering what I’m on about.)

Keep the cleaning and the exfoliating separate. It will allow both products to do their job well.


3. Make sure you CLEAN your face first

Having said that, make sure your face is clean before you exfoliate. You want to exfoliate clean skin, so that you’re removing the dead skin cells and not just removing the dirt.

Your exfoliator already has a tough job, don’t make it harder by making it battle through dirt and oils, just to get to those dead skin cells.


4. Try a natural product


Natural exfoliations are a bazillion times better for sensitive skin than toxic or chemical ones – that’s probably a proven scientific fact in some medical journal. (Bazillion sounds scientific, doesn’t it?) But it’s also true from experience. I’ve used a lot of exfoliants, and I meant A LOT. I actually completely stopped using them at one point, because no matter which product I used, I would break out in a rash. And as fun as that sounds, it’s not. I didn’t start exfoliating regularly again until a few years ago when I tried Go-To’s Exfoliating Swipeys. Suddenly, ta da! It worked! I didn’t break out, and my skin felt amaze-balls. My problem? I hadn’t been using a natural based product.

Since then, that’s all I use to exfoliate. Recently I’ve been trying to Frank Body Sweet Cheeks kit and I feel head over heels (which is dangerous in the shower) in love with the Creamy Face Scrub. As mentioned on Instagram, it does get up my nostrils but it’s worth it. My skin feels fresh with a capital F afterwards, and I’m always sans rash.

I highly, strongly (all those polite words with aggressive undertones) recommend either Go-To’s Exfoliating Swipeys or Frank Body’s Creamy Face Scrub for anyone with sensitive skin.


5. Find the best time to exfoliate

Now, there’s a lot of conflicting advice out there about when to exfoliate. I personally would say it’s PM, as in the morning your skin has just spent all your sleepy-time repairing itself. However, some may say the best time is AM, when your skin’s just spent all that time repairing itself, as it’s easier to get to the dead skin cells.

I would say: find what works for you. For me, it’s PM. But you might try in the AM and find that your skin is healthier and rejuvenated. And the end of the day, find products and routine that suit your skin and your lifestyle. That’s what it’s all about sister. (Sorry – just wanted to give it one more shot.)