The Best Exfoliators For Dry, Sensitive Skin

If you’re dealing with stubborn dry patches, it can be tempting to reach for gritty exfoliators and try to buff your problems away. But hold up before you reach for that apricot scrub!

The roughness associated with dry, sensitive skin is a result of excess scale; meaning skin cells are not turning over as quickly as they should, causing flaking and dullness. Exfoliation can help to speed up this process, but too much abrasion can also damage the skin’s protective barrier, which, in turn, can cause dry skin, redness, irritation, and even breakouts.

Striking the right balance is the key to breaking this cycle. Exfoliate enough, but not too much – we suggest starting with 1-2 times per week. Give harsh physical scrubs a swerve and try these gentle, but effective, exfoliators for dry, sensitive skin.

The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution

Glycolic acid is one of the best exfoliating ingredients for dry skin types, thanks to its water-attracting properties.

Gentle enough for daily use, and with added aloe vera to soothe sensitive types, this exfoliating toner has a gentle chemical exfoliating action that sloughs away dead skin to boost natural cell turnover.

With regular use, it refines the skin’s texture for a smoother, brighter appearance and super soft-feel.

Alpha-H Gentle Daily Exfoliant

This genius powder transforms into a creamy paste with micro-exfoliating powers. Totally abrasion-free, it’s suitable for even the most sensitive skin types.

Water-activated fruit enzymes from pineapple and papaya nibble away at the ‘glue’ that binds dead skin cells together, to keep the surface of the skin smooth and congestion-free.

Saturday Skin Rub-A-Dub Refining Peel Gel

A bit like nose strips, sometimes we want proof that our skincare is *really* doing something…and that means visible (and maybe slightly gross) results. Case in point: this grit-free, super smart formula from Saturday Skin.

Made with aloe vera and papaya, the fruity gel starts to peel off in tiny balls as your massage it into your skin – taking impurities and dead skin cells with it.

Mario Badescu Rolling Cream Peel with AHA

Formulated with AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids) including peach extract and Lactic Acid, this exfoliator dries down like a mask. Gently rub to remove the product along with signs of flakiness, dullness, and uneven texture.

Added shea butter and vitamin E comfort and nourish dry skin, for a super smooth and silky soft finish.

Revolution Skincare Quinoa Night Peel Serum

Superfood-boosted and fragrance-free, this serum is ideal for dry, sensitive complexions.

Quinoa husk extract works while you sleep with a gentle peeling action that transforms lacklustre skin by lifting away dead skin and kicking natural cell turnover up a gear.

Use twice a week after moisturising for a brighter, softer, and fresher looking complexion when you wake.  

Up Circle Coffee Face Scrub Citrus Blend

If you only get that ‘just exfoliated’ satisfaction from mechanical scrubs, opt for softer exfoliating ingredients like coffee granules over apricot kernels and walnut shells – which have uneven surfaces that can cause micro-tears in the skin.

Soft enough to protect skin from even the over zealous scrubber, Up Circle scrubs blend a café waste product with shea butter to gently exfoliate and nourish dry skin. A win for the environment and your skin.

Want to build a complete skincare routine for dry skin? Find out how here.