Our skin has a natural skin cycle - that is shedding away of dead skin cells to reveal new skin. As we age and get exposed to different environmental conditions like sun exposure, this process slows down. At times, dead skin cells don’t fully shed off.
For those with oily skin, this is even more difficult because excess oil and sebum traps dead skin cells. This leaves behind dull skin with clogged, large pores and uneven skin tone.
The good news is we can exfoliate our skin to get rid of these dull, dead skin cells and reveal beautiful, soft, hydrated skin.
Top 15 Exfoliators for Oily Skin Reviewed
Kate Somerville ExfoliKate Intensive Exfoliating Treatment
This is a crossover product formulated by Hollywood Esthetician Kate Somerville who celebrities turn to in achieving “skin perfection.” It’s both a physical and chemical exfoliator.
This product is made of natural silica particles which act as scrubs and contains exfoliating chemicals such as salicylic acid, lactic acid and papaya, pineapple, pumpkins enzymes targeted to improve your skin’s appearance. This makes skin smooth, healthy-looking and glowing. It is also enriched with antioxidants such as Vitamins A, C & E and soothing/conditioning ingredients such as Aloe Vera and Honey.
Users have been getting cleaner and brighter skin plus it’s very effective in diminishing blackheads.
Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant
This non-abrasive exfoliant, made of salicylic acid and calming green tea extract, is effective in minimizing pores and reducing blackheads / whiteheads. Use regularly after cleansing and toning, then moisturize after exfoliating for best results.
Patience is the key since you have to give this product time to work with your skin. But when the waiting is over - get ready to have radiant and beautiful skin.
Humane Clarifying Toner BHA Exfoliant Salicylic Acid 2%
This daily leave-on exfoliant prevents breakouts, unclogs pores and improves skin tone and texture. Plus, it has soothing and antioxidant properties due to its green tea content.
Users have noticed a reduction in the size of their pores and pimples have cleared out after use. Also, it doesn’t give a burning sensation to the skin nor cause any irritation. So those with oily/ acne-prone skin or acne-sufferers, this is highly recommended for you.
Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum
This gel-like night serum is formulated with 12%AHA + 1%BHA specifically Glycolic, Tartaric, Lactic, Citric, Salicylic acids to effectively resurface the skin. It’s also blended with Horse Chestnut, Bearberry and White Tea to calm and soothe your skin and improve the appearance of broken capillaries. Plus, It has a pH of 3.8 so it won’t irritate your skin.
This quality product will help you in reducing fine lines, wrinkles and improve your skin tone. Plus, it combats excess oil, improve pore appearance and prevent breakouts. Customers have seen dramatic changes in their skin’s texture and appearance. As auser attests, “This is one of those rare products worth the price.”
Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant
This unique exfoliant, formulated with Papain, Salicylic Acid and Rice Enzymes, comes in powder form and is only activated upon contact with water forming a paste to remove dead skin cells. This gives optimized results and efficiency as you activate the enzymes only when you are about to use it.
If you have oily and sensitive skin, try this one and experience brighter, radiant, more luminous skin.
Herbivore Blue Tansy AHA + BHA Resurfacing Clarity Mask
If you are looking for a natural product, this cooling mask is meant for you. It is made of plant-derived ingredients such as white willow bark which is a natural BHA and is rich in salicylic acid. Fruit enzymes (papaya and pineapple) which are natural AHA’s. Blue Tanzy oil which is enriched with Azulene - giving anti-inflammatory properties. And Aloe Leaf, which has natural salicylic acid contents and also has soothing properties.
The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution
This 10-minute exfoliating facial which contains combined AHA and BHA for deeper exfoliation combats blemishes and improves skin radiance. Please keep in mind, however, that this strong exfoliant is meant for experienced users of acid exfoliation due to the high concentration of acids. It also should not be used with sensitive skin.
This product is also formulated with a Tasmanian Pepperberry derivative to reduce irritation with acid use, hyaluronic acid to soothe/ comfort, Vitamin B5 to include healing properties and Black carrot to add antioxidant properties.
Users have been amazed by very visible improvements in their skin. So, if you’ve got oily skin, you’ve been struggling with acne or you’ve got acne scars, this might be the game-changer that you’re looking for.
Skin Medica Exfoliating Cleanser
Recommended by dermatologists and estheticians to improve skin texture, tone and smoothness. This exfoliating cleanser scrubs away dead skin cells via ultra-fine jojoba beads combined with AHA and BHA.
It makes a noticeable difference in skin appearance, diminishing clogged and enlarged pores. The scrub is so light and gentle that you could barely feel it in your fingers yet it is effective in cleansing/exfoliating leaving you feeling clean and fresh with long-lasting smoothness.
NeedCrystals Microdermabrasion Crystals
If you want a spa quality skin care product, you have to check this one out. The microdermabrasion crystals are made of 120-grit aluminum oxide particles that clean deeply and sweep away dead skin cells and are added with salicylic acid for anti-bacterial properties.
This renews the skin, revealing it’s natural glow, leaves it smoother and helps to diminish the appearance of wrinkles, fine line and acne scars.
It’s an amazing product that has lots of great feedback from its users. The crystals are so fine - they seem like powder but you’ll be amazed at how effective it is.
What’s even greater is that you can use it to scrub your body too.
Lancer The Method Polish Exfoliator
If you think physical scrubs aren’t for you - think again and give this scrub a chance.
It is made of Quartz and Sodium Bicarbonate crystals which creates an even and gentle exfoliation. It also contains Pumpkin and Pomegranate Extracts - powerful plant enzymes that get rid of dull skin on the surface. It also contains Brown Sea Algae, a source of Alginic Acid to help retain the ample amount of moisture on the skin.
So try Dr. Lancer’s product line - as users say: “worth every penny.”
M3 Naturals Charcoal Scrub
If you want a scrub for your face as well as your body, then M3 Naturals Charcoal Scrub may be the best fit for you. This scrub is made with activated charcoal, known for its adsorbent properties to trap oil, dirt, impurities and along with dead sea salt in detoxifying and rejuvenating your skin. It also delivers anti-aging benefits because it is infused with stem cells (fruit cell culture extract) and collagen.
It’s a good product in keeping breakouts at bay - especially for oily and acne-prone skin.
Touch Microdermabrasion Facial Scrub
Though you’re on the oily side, sometimes exfoliation makes your skin dry. So if you’re searching for a gentle scrub that still keeps your skin hydrated - this one’s for you.
Consisting of finely grounded aluminum oxide crystal with just the right size/right grit - it exfoliates effectively without the irritation. Along with this, it comes with anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and moisturizing properties since it also contains Chamomile, Green Tea and Aloe Vera Extracts. Plus, it contains Allantoin which protects and heals the skin and encourages the growth of healthy tissue.
With these dermatologist-quality crystals, you get to have a smooth, bright and radiant complexion.
Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Extra Strength Daily Peel
This two-step exfoliant combines the benefits of AHA and BHA for your skin. The first step gives your skin the exfoliation it needs using several powerful yet gentle hydroxy acids such as Glycolic Acid, Salicylic Acid, Lactic Acid, Mandelic Acid, Malic Acid and Citric Acid. The next step controls the AHA activity and nourishes skin with anti-aging ingredients such as Resveratrol and Retinol and Ubiquinone (otherwise known as Coenzyme Q10).
The end-results: smoother skin, even skin tone and texture, smaller-looking pores and fewer fine lines. The verdict of the users: beautiful results - younger and smoother skin. It’s like getting a professional peel done, without the pain and high price.
Beauty by Earth Konjac Sponge
This natural, vegan and biodegradable sponge is gentle enough that it can even be used for the delicate area under your eye. The package comes with two sponges and the black sponge is designed for use on oily skin since it contains activated charcoal to remove the excess oil, dirt and impurities from your skin. (You can use the extra sponge for your body too!)
This sponge is of great quality - very sturdy and long lasting. When you open it, it may
seem stiff and hard at first. But once you’ve soaked it, it will become softer. The good thing about it is that it doesn’t leave your skin feeling irritated or over-exfoliated.
Era Organics Revive+ Microdermabrasion Manuka Honey Walnut Scrub & Mask
If you want to go all natural, Era Organics offers this dual-purpose product that works wonders for your skin. It serves as both an exfoliating scrub and an anti-aging mask. It makes use of crushed walnut shells for its scrubs and it is made of powerful ingredients such as Aloe Vera, Manuka Honey, Rapeseed Oil, Cehami and Orange peel oil for deeper skin nourishment.
Users have seen dramatic changes with their oily skin - cleared out breakouts, smaller pores, softer and supple skin. So try this organic scrub and be amazed at what natural ingredients can do for your skin.
Is Exfoliating Good for Oily Skin?
Oily skin is caused by excessive oil and sebum production. These natural oils are released through your pores. Too much oil can expand the size of your pores (making them look larger). Oil build-up combined with dead skin cells, dirt and impurities end up as clogged pores, blackheads or acne.
Gentle exfoliation is an important part of skin care for people with oily skin. Exfoliating removes dead skin cells from the outer surface of your skin. After removing dead skin cells, your skin is more ready to absorb skin care products. And, your skin will look brighter and more radiant.
How to choose an exfoliator for me?
There are two methods of exfoliation: physical and chemical. Compared to physical exfoliators, chemical ones provide a gentler exfoliation as you’re not physically scrubbing the skin. These chemical exfoliators also provide a deeper means of exfoliation since these can penetrate deeper into the skin.
Uses tools like facial cleansing brushes, exfoliating sponges or scrubs to remove dead skin cells. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, if you have oily, thicker skin, you may be able to use physical exfoliants.
Uses treatments containing Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA) or Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHA). These chemicals break the bonds that hold dead skin cells onto the skin’s surface and cause dead skin to naturally shed away.
Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA)
These are water soluble and work on the surface. These address surface-level concerns such as red marks post-acne, dark spots, sun damage, fine lines and wrinkles. These are safe for all skin types but are generally recommended for those with dry skin (including sun-damaged skin) due to hydrating properties. Typical examples are glycolic, lactic, tartaric, citric acid, malic, mandelic acid.
Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHA’s)
These are oil soluble and work not only on the surface but also deep down inside the pores. These can penetrate clogged pores and dissolve the mixture of oil and dead skin. These are also good for removing blackheads / whiteheads and also have anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Because of these factors, BHA’s are recommended for oily skin (with clogged pores, blemishes, enlarged pores) or acne-prone skin. Typical examples include beta hydroxyl, salicylic acid and some formulations of citric acid.
There are also chemical exfoliators called enzymatic peels containing pineapple enzymes that help digest dead skin cells. Enzymatic peels are suited for sensitive skin since these are not as strong compared to the hydroxy acids.
How to use exfoliators
- Avoid over-exfoliating, since this may make your skin dry. If your skin becomes dry, it will produce more oil to balance itself
- Check the other products you’re using in your routine. Prescription retinoid creams or those containing retinol or benzoyl peroxide may make your skin more sensitive. Exfoliation along with these products may be too harsh for your skin and cause breakouts.
- Use a moisturizer after exfoliating to keep hydration levels high
- Wear sunscreen to protect against sun damage. AHA’s may make your skin sensitive to the sun so make sure to put on SPF.