While some people love to exfoliate regularly, others can be wary, especially if their skin is dry or sensitive. But the truth is that when done correctly using the right products, all skin types can benefit greatly! 

Exfoliating is a simple process that removes dead cells from the outermost layer of your skin and this is an important part of any skincare routine, both for the face and the body. Through exfoliation, pores are kept clean and free of build-up, cellular turnover is increased, and the complexion becomes clear, bright, and glowing. 

If you have an oily skin type, exfoliating should be an essential part of your routine, so in this article, we’ll tell you how to exfoliate oily skin and other important information such as frequency, the best exfoliant for oily skin, and formula ingredients - so read on!

How many times should you exfoliate your skin if you have an oily skin type?

The question of how often you should exfoliate your skin if you have oily skin depends on a number of factors and while no universal rule exists, for oily skin, it is best to do it at least twice a week. It’s important to note though that even if you have this skin type and want to reduce excess oil and grease, over-exfoliation may be harmful, stripping away the healthy oils and leading to damage, inflammation, and irritation. 

Identify Your Skin Type

As you know, the skin is just as complex as all your other vital organs, and because each skin type has its own characteristics, it is essential that you know which you have and how it responds to certain processes in order to care for it properly.

In this section, you will learn how many times to exfoliate your face per week depending on your skin type.

Sensitive Skin

Contrary to popular belief, if you have sensitive skin, you can still exfoliate, but it’s essential that you know which types of formulas to use. Using a product that’s not suitable for your skin type can cause itching, irritation, and increased redness and it’s best to only exfoliate once a week, or twice at the most depending on your tolerance level.

Dry Skin

As with sensitive skin, if you have a dry skin type you can still exfoliate but always opt for products that work effectively while being gentle and not overdrying. To keep your complexion free from a buildup of dead, dry skin cells, aim to exfoliate approximately twice a week again, after assessing your level of tolerance. 

Oily Skin

Exfoliation is highly beneficial for individuals with this skin type where the pores become easily clogged with excess oil and skin cells. Because this skin tends to be thicker and not as delicate as dry and sensitive skin, there are usually more options in terms of how to exfoliate oily skin, which we’ll explain later in the article, and it can be done more frequently - approximately three times per week. 

Normal Skin

Even though your skin is neither too oily nor too dry when you have a normal skin type, exfoliation is vital for removing dead skin cells, encouraging cell turnover, and optimizing the absorption of moisturizers and serums. Once you’ve found a product that works well for your needs, it’s really a matter of preference as to how often you exfoliate, although it’s best not to use a physical scrub more than twice a week. 

Combination Skin

With more oil in the T-zone - the forehead, nose, and chin - and drier areas on the cheeks, the products you use to exfoliate your skin should be tailored to the needs of each area and limited to twice a week, three at the most. 

Which Exfoliator Product Should You Use? 

While the main objective of exfoliation is to remove dead cells from the surface, encourage cellular turnover, and create a brighter, healthier complexion, it’s important to choose the right type of exfoliating product to get the results you want:

  • Mechanical scrubs

Mechanical, or physical, scrubs contain granules such as salt or sugar that work by sloughing off dead skin. These types of exfoliating scrubs are usually well suited for the skin on the body and can be done reasonably frequently, but how often to scrub the face skin really depends on your skin type and is generally not recommended for very dry, sensitive skin.

  • Chemical exfoliants

Chemical exfoliants use safe, skin-friendly acids that help to break down the bonds that ‘glue’ the skin cells together. If you have dry skin, we recommend using Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs), such as glycolic acid, which in addition to exfoliating the skin, help improve luminosity and hydration. For oily skin or acne-prone skin, we recommend using Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs), for example, salicylic acid, which penetrates deeply, helping to unclog pores, balance oil production, and remove dead cells.

  • Enzyme exfoliants 

Enzyme exfoliants are the most gentle type of exfoliating formula, therefore most suitable for individuals with sensitive skin. These products work by breaking down the skin proteins in the top layers of the skin and then removing dull, dead cells. 

What Exfoliating Ingredients Should You Look For?

There are many different ingredients that can be used to exfoliate the skin, but some of the most popular are:

  • Glycolic Acid (AHA)
  • Lactic Acid (AHA)
  • Salicylic Acid (BHA)
  • Fruit Enzymes
  • Bamboo Extract
  • Jojoba Beads
  • Mandelic Acid
  • Citric Acid
  • Sugar Granules
  • Coffee Grounds

The Benefits Of Exfoliating Your Skin

The skin regenerates itself every 28 days, although certain factors can prevent this regeneration process from taking place as it should. Environmental pollution and dirt, along with the toxins, impurities, and grease that accumulate in the skin, end up clogging the pores and hindering the skin's natural renewal. That is why exfoliating the skin is essential, not only to promote epidermal renewal but for your skin to breathe and better absorb the ingredients from your other skincare products. 

Other benefits of exfoliation include:

Deeply cleansing the skin

Exfoliation doesn’t just remove dead cells, it also cleanses the skin of dirt and makeup residue that may still remain on your skin after you wash it.

Unclogging pores

The exfoliant helps in the decongestion of the pores; that is, it prevents dirt from accumulating deeply and clogging your pores, which can result in the appearance of skin imperfections. 

Creating youthful and glowing skin

Exfoliating regularly helps to stimulate collagen synthesis, improve the texture and integrity of your skin and keep it looking plump and youthful. If you're consistent, it will also help to reduce the signs of premature aging, fine lines, and wrinkles. 

Exfoliation has many other benefits:

  • Improves circulation and boosts cellular health to reveal glowing, radiant skin.
  • Benefits lymphatic drainage that stimulates oxygenation in the blood, nourishing the surface of your skin.
  • Evens out skin tone and improves the skin's texture, thanks to promoting cell renewal and reducing the number of hyperpigmented cells and blemishes.
  • Contributes to the density, elasticity, and firmness of the skin. 
  • Reduces acne breakouts, as it helps prevent sebum accumulation.
  • Prepares the skin for the subsequent absorption of other skincare products, such as oils, serums, or creams.


#1 - Which exfoliator is best for oily skin?

One of the best ways to fight oily skin at the dermal level is by having a strict skincare routine, which includes the right exfoliant for your needs. Our dermal resurfacing serum Glowpeel is perfect for oily skin, as it not only removes the dead cells that can clog pores and cause breakouts but also acts on damage caused by the sun, such as hyperpigmentation and wrinkles. Because this formula uses gentle fruit acids that are safe for all skin types, how often you should exfoliate your face with this type of exfoliant is really down to personal preference, although 2-3 times per week works well for most individuals.

#2 - Does exfoliating get rid of oily skin?

Oily skin occurs when the skin glands create too much sebum and while exfoliation doesn’t get rid of oily skin completely, it may help reduce excess oil while also working to accelerate cellular renewal for an overall more healthy-looking complexion. If you have oily skin, it's important to make sure all the products that you use in your routine are specifically designed for your skin type, including cleanser, toner, and moisturizer.

Bottom Line 

As you’ve seen, exfoliation is a great way to rid your skin of dead cells and dirt and in the process, improve the appearance of your skin, and we hope this post has answered some important questions for you, such as how often you should exfoliate your face if you have oily skin and which is the best exfoliant to use.

Always keep in mind, however, to avoid excessive exfoliation, as it can lead to redness and irritation, and if you have any concerning issues with your skin, make sure to talk to your dermatologist first. If you are ready to start exfoliating, take a look at our Advanced Exfoliating System, the easiest way to introduce exfoliation into your routine and work towards the clear, non-greasy complexion you’ve always wanted!

Melissa Feldman

Melissa Feldman

Melissa Feldman lives in Toronto, Canada and works as an independent research writer. She has undergraduate degrees in both Teaching and Psychology, and a Master’s degree in Immigration. Melissa is skilled at writing compelling articles and producing academic, marketing, and creative content. She writes about a range of lifestyle topics, including health, fitness, beauty and nutrition. She has more than two decades of experience reviewing and editing publications intended for both public and professional audiences.

Written by Melissa Feldman

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