Exfoliating: What it Means and Why You Should Do it

Your skin may look dull and tired. It may even have an uneven texture and tone. No matter how much sleep you get or the water you drink, you just can’t seem to achieve the healthy, radiant complexion you want. 

The problem is the layer of dead skin cells, dirt, and oil currently living rent-free on the top layer of your skin, muddling your complexion, creating patches of dry, rough skin, and making your skin look dull. 

Thankfully, there is a solution: exfoliating

Exfoliating (the right way) is a vital part of any good skincare routine, but the ingredients and products you use are essential. Together we’ll discuss what exfoliating does, why you should be doing it, and how you can do it properly as part of your current skincare routine. 


Most of us have tried some method of exfoliating at some point, but if you haven’t, don’t worry; we’re giving you the exfoliating cheat sheet. 

The literal definition of exfoliation is to throw off scales, laminae, or flakes, but skincare goes a little bit deeper than that. Exfoliating simply means removing the top layer of dead skin cells, dirt, oil, and any other impurities that reside on the surface of your skin. These are impurities and compounds your cleanser alone cannot remove (unless it has an exfoliating ingredient). 

There are three different kinds of exfoliation:

Physical Exfoliation

Physical exfoliation is the most common form of exfoliation and can be done in the privacy of your own home. You can physically exfoliate your skin with an exfoliating scrub product or with the use of an exfoliating cloth or brush. 

When exfoliating your face, it is best to avoid clothes and abrasive brushes because, more often than not, you’ll end up exfoliating too hard and causing irritation. It’s best to use a scrub with small exfoliating granules to help gently lift away dead skin cells and dirt. 

Other physically exfoliating skin care products include exfoliating mitts, body brushes or dry brushes, and beads. You can also use a rough washcloth, loofah, or pad, and some people even use tree bark. Move the exfoliant in a circular motion to effectively remove the dead cells.

Be wary of scrubs that contain granules much too large to use on your skin. These large granules can create microtears that irritate your skin, leaving it red and raw. 

Chemical Exfoliation

Chemical exfoliation involves the use of chemicals to exfoliate your skin. Most commonly, you’ll hear chemical exfoliation referred to as a chemical peel or simply a peel. 

Don’t assume a chemical exfoliant isn’t natural; many naturally occurring acids are added to exfoliating products to help break the protein bonds that hold dead skin cells together, making it easy for them to be sloughed off your skin. 

Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) like glycolic acid or lactic acid are excellent examples of natural exfoliating compounds. Beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) like salicylic acid are popular as well, especially for acne-prone skin. Other common exfoliants include retinol and retinoids. Certain enzymes can also help exfoliate your skin and are a good alternative for people who cannot use acids. 

Chemical peels can sometimes take a few days to work. Once the chemical is applied, it may take a few days for the top layer of skin to peel away, something to consider when planning for this treatment. 

Chemical peels shouldn't be done on a daily basis, but something more gentle like salicylic acid can be used as part of your everyday regimen to help reduce breakouts. Of course, people with sensitive skin may want to use exfoliants more sparingly than those with normal skin, combination skin, or an oily skin type. 

Mechanical Exfoliation 

Mechanical exfoliation involves the use of an instrument to exfoliate the skin. This is the most invasive form of exfoliation and is typically done by a skincare professional at an in-office treatment. 

Microdermabrasion treatments and some laser skin treatments are forms of mechanical exfoliation. This type of exfoliation usually leaves your skin red and a bit raw for a few days, so you’ll need to consider that when planning for these procedures. 

What Form of Exfoliation Is Best?

There’s no form of exfoliation that is better than the other, but your personal exfoliation goals will help you determine which method is best for you. 

For instance, if your goal is to enhance your overall complexion, work on fading dark spots of hyperpigmentation, and increase overall skin health, physical exfoliation is a great way to get the job done. 

If you are not opposed to a more invasive method of treatment and have the recovery time available, a chemical or mechanical exfoliation will be beneficial. 

Why Should You Exfoliate

Besides the fact that exfoliating gets rid of dead particles hanging out on your skin, the benefits of exfoliating are worth the time it takes to do it (which is hardly any time at all). 

Here’s what you can expect from exfoliating:

Improved Complexion

You’ve got healthy, radiant, glowing skin; it’s just covered in a layer of gunk. Exfoliating helps reveal newer, more youthful skin and helps improve your overall complexion. 

Exfoliating can also help even out skin tone, making rough patches smoother and helping reduce oily patches. When you exfoliate regularly, skin tone and complexion can improve drastically. 

Exfoliating Helps Other Products Work Better 

You may think you love your favorite serum, but if you aren’t exfoliating regularly, your serum isn’t making it into your pores to work as well as it’s designed to. 

Exfoliating your skin can remove all the impurities blocking your other products from working as effectively. Exfoliating can open up your pores and creates a clear, unobstructed path for your serums and moisturizers to dive deep and deliver ingredients to the innermost layer of your skin cells. 


Exfoliating delivers on the anti-aging promise. On top of making your skin look healthy and removing impurities that could settle in fine lines and wrinkles, exfoliating kick-starts your skin’s cell turnover. 

Your skin is constantly making new skin, but our cellular turnover begins to decline as we age. Exfoliating sends the message to your skin cells that new skin needs to be made. New skin means fewer fine lines, wrinkles, and dark spots. 

Great For Your Entire Body

Your face isn't the only area of skin that can benefit from exfoliation. You can exfoliate the skin all over your body with a process called dry brushing

Dry brushing is a great way to stimulate lymph flow, help detoxify your body, and even make cellulite less noticeable. Dry brushing is a really easy and quick practice, and a great brush makes all the difference.

Search for a brush made with natural bristles that can easily glide over your skin and help stimulate circulation. 

How To Exfoliate The Right Way 

You can exfoliate at home without the use of harsh chemicals, expensive tools, or spending a lot of extra time. The right scrub can help you get glowing, healthy skin instantly. 

We recommend our Blue Algae Exfoliating  + Detox Mask. This exfoliating scrub does double duty by gently and effectively exfoliating your skin while simultaneously pulling out impurities trapped deep inside your pores. 

Our exfoliating mask is made from clean, clinically tested marine ingredients that have been sustainably and responsibly sourced. 

Here’s what’s inside:

  • Coconut shells. A would-be wasted byproduct of the food industry serves as the perfect exfoliating ingredient in our exfoliating and detoxifying mask. We grind these shells into a fine powder that is safe and effective at lifting dull surface skin cells to reveal healthier skin and a glowing complexion. 

  • Blue Spirulina Algae. Rich in proteins and vitamins, this extract helps replenish skin, hydrating it and helping it feel nourished. Algae is also rich in antioxidants, helping protect your skin from free radical damage from external stressors. 

  • Marine silt. You’ve probably tried a charcoal mask to help deeply cleanse your skin, but we find marine silt sourced from the coast of France digs deeper and helps draw out impurities and deep cleanse your pores more effectively.

    Marine salt also helps control oily skin, working synergistically with your skin’s sebaceous glands to help restore balance. 

Our exfoliating detoxifying mask is powerful but gentle enough to be used up to twice a week to keep your skin clean, healthy, and radiant. 

One Ocean, One World

One Ocean Beauty believes products should be naturally derived yet clinically proven to work. We find the ocean to be an abundant source of effective, nourishing, natural ingredients with plentiful skin benefits that can help anyone get better, healthier skin. 

Because oceans are at the heart of all we do, we also believe in protecting them, restoring them, and making sure they’ll be there for future generations. It’s why all our ingredients are sourced using Blue Biotechnology, which is safe for the ocean and marine life and keeps our ingredients consistent and pure. 

It’s also why we partner with Oceana to help fund ocean restoration and preservation. Exfoliating your skin may not be at the top of major world issues, but when you exfoliate with One Ocean Beauty products, you can have peace of mind knowing you’re contributing to issues much bigger than any of us. 

Together, we can effectuate change, one exfoliation at a time!



How to Safely Exfoliate At Home | AAD

Alpha Hydroxy Acid | Dermnetnz 

Exfoliating at Home | AAD