How To Remove Dead Skin From Your Face

Dead, flaky skin is not a pleasant experience for any of us. Why does this happen? How to get rid of dead skin? Find out by reading the article below.

What is Exfoliation?

Every 30 or so days, the upper layer (epidermis) of your skin sheds off naturally. This process uncovers new, healthy and rejuvenated skin beneath. However, sometimes, dead skin cells don’t fully shed, leading to flaky skin, dry patches, and clogged pores. Exfoliation can help remove these dead skin cells.

Exfoliation is the process of removing dead skin cells with a substance or tool known as an exfoliator. Exfoliators come in many forms, from chemical treatments to brushes

Know Your Skin Type First

Before you choose an exfoliator, it is important to determine your skin type. You don’t want to rip off your skin’s natural oils or eradicate your skin’s barrier.

Dry Skin

This skin type tends to appear dull and flaky. Dry skin is nothing but dehydrated skin. It may have a lot of dry patches and can feel itchy.

Oily Skin

This skin type is characterized by a greasy, shiny appearance. Our skin is full of tiny pores under which lie the sebaceous glands. The sebum (oil) produced by these glands plays a vital role in keeping your skin healthy.

However, too much sebum production can clog your pores, resulting in greasiness and development of acne.

Normal Skin

Normal skin is neither too oily nor too dry. The pH levels of this skin type is well-balanced.

Sensitive Skin

This type of skin is easily irritated by fragrances, chemicals, and other synthetic materials. You can have sensitive skin that’s also dry, oily, or combination.

Types of Exfoliation

Chemical Exfoliation

Chemical exfoliation involves using a mild acid to dissolve dead skin cells.

Most products marketed for use on the face contain low levels of chemical exfoliants, so they are safe for use by the majority of people.

Chemical exfoliants may not be suitable for those with sensitive or dry skin, as they can cause dryness or irritation.

For any chemical exfoliation, building up use gradually can help prevent skin irritation.

People should not use chemical exfoliants more than once per week initially. A dermatologist can advise on use and choosing the right product.

The most common types of chemical exfoliants are:

  • alpha hydroxy acid (AHA)
  • beta hydroxy acid (BHA)
  • retinol

It is advisable not to use AHAs, BHAs, and retinol together as they will be too harsh on the skin


Enzymes are usually used on sensitive skin types. Derived from fruits, they remove dead skin cells from your face and are extremely beneficial in improving surface properties (6). However, they do not expose a new layer of skin or affect the cell turnover. This makes them a safe option for sensitive skin.

Mechanical exfoliation

Mechanical exfoliation works by physically removing dead skin rather than dissolving it. It’s less gentle than chemical exfoliation and works best for normal to oily skin. Avoid using mechanical exfoliation on sensitive or dry skin.


Exfoliating powders, like this one, use fine particles to both absorb oil and remove dead skin. To use it, mix the powder with some water until it forms a paste that you can spread on your face. For stronger results, use less water to create a thicker paste.

Dry brushing

Dry brushing involves using soft bristles to brush dead skin cells away. Use a small brush with natural bristles, like this one, and gently brush damp skin in small circles for up to 30 seconds. You should only use this method on skin that’s free of any small cuts or irritation.


If you’re one of the lucky few with normal skin, you may be able to exfoliate just by drying your face with a washcloth. After washing your face, gently move a soft washcloth in small circles to remove dead skin cells and dry your face.

Exfoliants That Are Too Harsh For Your Skin

Regardless of your skin type, you have to be cautious of using exfoliators that can damage your skin. Harsh exfoliators with big particles can rip your skin off its essential oils and damage your barrier.

Do Not Use Exfoliators That Contain:


Baking Soda

Coarse salt



Using any of these can damage your skin, making it prone to inflammation and infection.

Precautions To Take Before Exfoliating Your Skin

It is always recommended to consult a dermatologist before using a substance or tool to exfoliate your skin. Your skin type also determines the efficacy of the tool you’re using.

If you choose to go for a scrub or acidic substance, conduct a patch test first. If your skin doesn’t adversely react to it, you can start exfoliating two or three times a week.

Go slow. Your skin is delicate and scrubbing it harshly or too fast can cause micro-tears and damage it.

If you choose to go for chemical exfoliators, make sure you’re using them in concentrations recommended by your doctor.

Finally, at The Dorchester Clinic, we offer a number of advanced treatments that help not only to remove dead, flaky skin but also rejuvenate and hydrate your skin at once. 

If you’re suffering from any skin issues, such as dryness, dull skin, dark patches, clogged pores, blackheads, pigmentation – we can definitely help you!

Why not book a FREE, no-obligation Virtual Skin Consultation with one of our Expert Practitioner and find out if any of our Advanced Skin Treatments is the best option for you? Head here to Book A Consultation.

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