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How Often Should You Exfoliate Your Face? Research-Backed Advice

man checking skin

Exfoliation is a crucial step in every guy’s skin care regimen. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the more confusing steps when you first start learning to take better care of your skin.

Without a doubt, among the most pressing questions guys have regarding exfoliation is how often they need to do it.

Should I exfoliate my face every day?

Every other day?

Once a week?

We know that it can all seem terribly confusing, especially because everyone seems to have a different answer. To help set the matter straight, we’re going to do our best to give you research-backed advice on how often you should really be exfoliating your face.

Ready to dive in? Here are three things you should know about exfoliating your face:

  1. Exfoliating removes dead skin cells from the outermost layer of the skin, revealing smooth, healthy skin underneath.
  2. Although the skin does an effective job at shedding on its own, it can still benefit from additional help.
  3. Guys with normal skin types should stick to using a gentle facial scrub no more than twice per week.



A Deep Dive into the Epidermis

Your skin is an incredible organ that does a good job at shedding dead skin cells by itself. But as with most of our organs, our skin could use some additional help to keep it in top shape.

When you exfoliate with a facial scrub, you’re exfoliating the top layer of the epidermis, called the stratum corneum. The stratum corneum is mostly comprised of dead skin cells and keratin-rich corneocyte cells. 

layers of epidermis

According to an early study published in the British Journal of Dermatology, it was found that corneocytes remain in the stratum corneum for two weeks, and that a healthy stratum corneum sheds about one layer of corneocytes each day (see claim: “In most body regions the renewal time for the horny layer was about 2 weeks…”)

The Best Way to Exfoliate

To keep things simple, most skin care companies will tell you that you’re scrubbing away the top layer of the skin. What they don’t typically mention is that you’re only exfoliating a small part of the epidermis—not the entire top layer itself.

beautician applying scrub

This is why scrubbing too hard and too often can result in dry, irritated skin. In addition to exfoliating too much and not giving your stratum corneum time to catch up, you could also be scrubbing so hard that you’re penetrating into deeper layers of the epidermis.

The best way to exfoliate is to use a gentle face scrub and use only your hands. You don’t need a wash cloth, a loofah or any other fancy scrubbing products to get the job done.

Take the skin care quiz

Factors That Affect the Skin Renewal Process

Although researchers still don’t quite understand the desquamation (skin peeling) process, we do know that it can be affected by various factors. When deciding how often you should exfoliate your face, consider how the following factors may influence your skin’s needs:

  1. Age—According to a 2016 study published in Clinical Interventions in Aging, the keratinocyte turnover rate slows with age (see claim: “…as the keratinocyte turnover slows, the keratinization and desquamation processes alter.”) This means that young skin generally needs more exfoliation compared to older skin.
  2. Skin Type—Your body’s natural oils are produced by the sebaceous glands, which are located in your dermis (the middle layer of the skin). If you have oily skin, you may find yourself needing to scrub more to prevent a buildup of oil, dead skin cells and, ultimately, to help avoid acne breakouts.
  3. Skin Care Products—Some facial scrubs are harsher than others. The truth is that you don’t need a tough, gritty scrub that feels like sandpaper on your skin. No matter what skin type you have, it’s important that you stick to using a gentle men’s face scrub to exfoliate your face.

So, How Many Times a Week Should You Exfoliate Your Face?

To bring it all back, how often should you be exfoliating your handsome mug? Based on everything we’ve said thus far, the rule of thumb is to scrub your face twice per week if you have a normal or combination skin type.

Experiment with your frequency until you reach a good amount that fits the needs of your skin. Once you find the sweet spot, you’ll be rewarded with a clear complexion and handsome skin tone.

Have you tried Tiege Hanley’s Facial Scrub? Give it a shot and let us know what you think in the comments below!

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