There’s a good chance you’ve seen commercials on television for exfoliating scrubs. Usually they feature women in spas, their faces covered in some goop. But guess what, guys? Exfoliation’s not just for women.
Read on to find out how men can exfoliate, too, and why it’s so important for the health of your skin.
WHAT IS EXFOLIATION?
First up, what is exfoliation? Well, to put it very simply, it’s the removal of the dead skin cells on the surface of your skin. Every day, we men lose 30,000 to 40,000 dead skin cells. They just die, and they flake off our skin to land, well, wherever.
Other times, they stick to our skin. That can cause your pores to become blocked. It can also make your skin look generally dull and, as a result, you look older and even unhealthy.
So what can you do about it? You can exfoliate, of course! Exfoliation will make your skin look better and you’ll also cleanse your pores. Cleansing pores isn’t just for women, either. Clean, fresh pores means you’ll be less likely to break out in acne or blackheads. Everyone wants clear skin, not just women, right?
Deciding to exfoliate your skin doesn’t mean you have to spend your Saturdays at the salon. You can still shoot hoops with the other guys, and they won’t even have to know you’ve done it. There are products you can use in the privacy of your own home, and we’ve put together a list of the best of them.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD MEN EXFOLIATE?
So how often should men exfoliate? Is this something that needs to be done daily, or what?
Nope, not at all! In all reality, you only need to exfoliate two or three times each week. The products we’ve listed below can be used very simply. In most cases, you’ll just shower, wash your face and apply your men’s exfoliator.
There are a ton of products to choose from, too. You can choose from, men’s exfoliating body wash or men’s exfoliating face scrub. Then there are the physical exfoliates (sometimes called exfoliants) and the chemical exfoliates.
Even if you’re new to this whole exfoliation thing, we feel pretty sure you can tell the difference between a men’s face exfoliator and a full body exfoliate. But you might be a little confused about the difference between chemical and physical scrubs. So let’s take a quick look at that before we launch into the best exfoliator for men.
PHYSICAL EXFOLIATION VS CHEMICAL EXFOLIATION
Alright. So there are two types of exfoliates, and both have their pros and cons. Let’s take them one at a time.
PHYSICAL EXFOLIATION FOR MEN
First, there’s physical exfoliation. You’ll know these products when you see them in stores because they advertise ingredients like peach pits, nut shells or other hard substances. Some even contain diamonds, one of the hardest substances on earth. Ouch. Those products claim to scrub away impurities in the skin, clearing pores and “sloughing away dead skin.”
Here’s the thing, though. Men are tough, but their skin is just human skin. Those harsh physical abrasives are like sandpaper to your skin. They can cause tiny tears in your skin, and those micro-tears can even become infected.
There’s an exception to this, though, and that’s dry brushing. Dry brushing isn’t necessarily as effective as other exfoliation. But it does help to remove some of your dead skin. Dry brushing is just what it sounds like. With dry skin, you’ll stand in the shower and lightly brush your skin from your feet up.
Who has time for that?
If you absolutely must scrub your face with something, choose something gentle. There are scrubs which contain ingredients like oats or small grains like rice bran. These are “softer” than, say, peach pits or diamonds. Much softer. Your face will thank you.
CHEMICAL EXFOLIATION FOR MEN
So let’s look at chemical exfoliation. Chemical exfoliation is gentler on your skin, as there are no hard substances to cause tears and infection. Chemicals tend to reach deeper into your pores, and therefore cleanse better.
Don’t worry about how it sounds. The “chemical” part of chemical exfoliation is usually alpha- or beta- hydroxy acid. These acids are organic, and are naturally found in fruits and other organisms. Alternatively, your chemical exfoliate might contain fruit enzymes.
Alpha-hydroxy acids are water soluble, and therefore aren’t as good for oily skin. Sister acid beta-hydroxy is oil soluble, which means it’s more likely to cleanse deep into your pores.
Fruit enzymes are awesome exfoliates for people with sensitive skin. The most common fruit enzyme is bromelain, which is found in pineapple.
How do they work? Well, they each work in slightly different ways. But, as they’re chemical exfoliates, they break down the “bonds” between your dead skin cells and your healthy skin, causing the dead skin to fall away. Chemical exfoliation is, generally speaking, more effective (and safer) than physical exfoliation.
THE BEST EXFOLIATING SCRUBS (AND TREATMENTS) FOR MEN
Okay, are you ready to get started? Here are the five best exfoliating scrubs and treatments for men. Of course, you should always read the labels before you try any new product. And always test the product on a small area of skin before a complete application.
Simple Kind to Skin Facial Scrub $4.98
This is one of the first types of exfoliating scrubs, a physical exfoliator. But it doesn’t contain diamonds, dynamite or any of the other weird things people put in exfoliating scrubs for men.
Instead, it contains rice powder. I mean, come on guys – babies eat that stuff. You can’t get much gentler than that. The rice flower is just grainy enough to effectively remove the dead skin cells from your face.
It also contains what’s called Anthemis Nobilis flower oil, which is just a fancy way of saying chamomile. Chamomile has antibacterial properties and is very soothing to the skin.
Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting BHA Exfoliant $29
Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting Exfoliant is a chemical exfoliation product for men. And there are actually two important things you’ll need to know about this scrub.
First, it contains BHA. As you remember, BHA is one of the most deep-cleaning chemical exfoliates available. It’s oil soluble and is great for acne-prone skin.
Secondly, this is a leave-on product. Get that? No work required. You just apply it in the morning, then go to work! As you go about your day, the product will work to remove dead skin cells.
LUE by Jean Seo Erase Exfoliating and Brightening Powder $14
This is an interesting little product, and very a very effective one. What’s so interesting about it, you ask? Well, it’s a powder that you add to your normal face wash.
This is another example of a physical exfoliate. But the “physical” components are very gentle: oat flour and milk powder. (You’re going to begin to think we just want you to use baby food to exfoliate.)
Alpha Skin Care Intensive Renewal Serum $17.54
Here’s another chemical exfoliation scrub for men. As you might guess by the name, Alpha Skin Care contains alpha-hydroxy acids. Alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) work on the skin’s surface and don’t penetrate as deeply as beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs).
That said, Alpha Skin Care is great for use on sensitive skin. It, like Paula’s Choice, is a leave-on product. It’s paraben free and there’s no fragrance to cause your skin to react.
For best results, use Alpha Skin Care Intensive Renewal Serum with sunscreen during the day.
DERMA E Overnight Peel with Alpha Hydroxy Acids $10.58
Last but not least is the DERMA E Overnight Peel with Alpha Hydroxy Acids. As you can tell, it contains AHAs but what’s unique about DERMA E is that it also contains fruit acids and plant extracts.
You’ll find green tea extract in this exfoliating scrub, which is an anti-inflammatory. You’ll also find jojoba seed oil, an excellent moisturizer. Passion fruit extract helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. The list goes on, but to make a long story short, DERMA E actually nourishes your skin while you sleep.
Exfoliation isn’t just for the woman in your life. It’s not hard to do. And your friends won’t laugh at you – because they won’t even know you’re doing it.
You’ve got a lot of choices for men’s exfoliation scrubs, but these five are the best we’ve found. Choose whether you want a physical or a chemical exfoliate, then pick your favorite! Hasta la vista, dead skin!