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Derm’s Exfoliation Guide for Specific Skin Types: How you exfoliate makes all the difference

March 22, 2024
In this episode of SkinTok, you get my exfoliation guide for specific skin types: how you exfoliate truly makes all the difference.
Exfoliation is essential for all skin types—but how you exfoliate makes all the difference. For sensitive skin types, skin flaking is unappealing, but attempting to rub or scrub will make sensitive, irritated and inflamed skin worse. Follow me on TikTok, YouTube where I share my latest skincare tutorials

The science of exfoliation: radiant skin 

Skin cell renewal is a natural process that helps get rid of dead corneocytes, I.e. dead skin cells to reveal healthy radiant skin. The time it takes depends on the length of the cell cycle, which increases with age. This is why aging can cause dull skin and exfoliation is key to enhancing skin radiance.

Benefits of exfoliation: increase transdermal absorption 

Exfoliation can enhance absorption of cosmeceutical actives such as vitamin C, hyaluronic acid and phytochemicals in green tea extract, centella, resveratrol etc. 

Which exfoliation method is best for my skin type?


Exfoliation methods:

  • Chemical exfoliation

Glycolic, Salicylic, Lactic acids

  • Enzyme peels i.e. papain, bromelain

  • Microdermabrasion 

Home-based microcrystalline devices work well for sensitive skin in place of in-clinic salt based systems

  • Hydrodermabrasion 

2-in-1 devices are available that incorporate both microdermabrasion and hydrodermabrasion handpieces

  • Sonic cleansing 

Sonic cleansing can be an effective exfoliation method for dislodging airborne pollutants and debris

How often? Exfoliation frequencies

How often you exfoliate depends on your skin type, age and concerns. Here are some quick tips on how to tailor an exfoliation protocol for your skin type: 


  • Oily

Chemical exfoliation: once-thrice-weekly with superficial acids < 10%

Enzyme peels i.e. papain, bromelain daily 

Microdermabrasion: weekly 

Hydrodermabrasion: daily 

Sonic cleansing: daily

  • Combination-Normal

Chemical exfoliation: once weekly with superficial acids < 10%

Enzyme peels i.e. papain, bromelain every other day 

Microdermabrasion: weekly 

Hydrodermabrasion: daily 

Sonic cleansing: daily

  • Dry-Sensitive skin 

Chemical exfoliation: omit

Enzyme peels i.e. papain, bromelain weekly 

Microdermabrasion: with gel protection fortnightly or omit  

Hydrodermabrasion: weekly over affected areas 

Sonic cleansing: weekly


Microdermabrasion notes

  • skin resurfacing procedure

  • outpatient healthcare setting I.e. dermatologist practice

  • treat photoaging

    • uneven skin tone

    • dullness 

    • acne scars 

    • wrinkles

  • one of the most common cosmetic procedures 

  • Introduced in 1985 by dermatologists 

  • less aggressive skin resurfacing 

  • popular cosmetic treatment 

    • ease of use

    • minimal downtime 

    • good results


  • release of crystals through a handpiece 

  • combined with a vacuum-assisted process 

  • applies gentle suction to remove the topmost layer of your skin (stratum corneum)

Pharmacy Picks


  • SilkPeel Home Facial Peel System: Chemical Peel Equivalent

Microdermabrasion with similar effects to microscopic skin exfoliation

  • Moisturising NanoPeel

Pregnancy & Breast-feeding Safe Chemical Peel. Moisturise and exfoliate your skin with zero irritation with blend of papain enzyme concentrate and minimum 18 botanical antioxidants for a calming home peel, building your skin barrier

Functional dermatology encompasses the use of holistic botanical actives to build skin resilience 

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