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6 Different Ways to Exfoliate Your Sensitive Redhead Skin

Discover the pros and cons of each method

Exfoliating is an important part of keeping your redhead skin happy, healthy, and glowing. Exfoliating helps to remove dead and dry skin, as well as remove build-up from makeup and skincare products. For many redheads, the wrong kind of facial exfoliating can be harsh on the skin causing redness, breakout, and inflammation. Here are six different ways you can exfoliate your sensitive skin to get gorgeous and glowing:

1. Scrub Exfoliant

The form of exfoliating you’re probably most familiar with is scrub exfoliating. Facial scrubs that have tiny microbeads or some other form of “grit” in them, can be rubbed on the skin to help loosen and remove dry and dead skin. While this is an effective form of exfoliation, it’s sometimes too harsh for redhead skin. Let’s break down the pros + cons: 


1. Exfoliation: Scrub exfoliants can help remove dead skin cells, promoting a brighter complexion and smoother skin texture.

2. Stimulates Circulation: Gentle scrubbing can improve blood circulation, which may contribute to healthier-looking skin.


1. Risk of Irritation: Scrubbing can be too harsh for sensitive skin, leading to redness, inflammation, or even micro-tears in the skin’s surface.

2. Increased Sensitivity: Redheads often have more sensitive skin, making them more prone to irritation from abrasive scrubs.

3. Potential for Allergic Reactions: Some exfoliating ingredients or fragrances in scrubs can cause allergic reactions or exacerbate sensitivity.

4. Not Suitable for Certain Skin Conditions: Individuals with conditions like rosacea or eczema may find that scrub exfoliants worsen their symptoms.

5. Over-Exfoliation Risk: Using scrubs too frequently or with too much pressure can strip the skin of its natural oils and disrupt its barrier function.

2. Chemical Exfoliant

A form of exfoliation that sounds harsh, but is actually gentler. It’s called chemical exfoliation and is applied directly to the skin. This type of exfoliant helps to get rid of dry/dead skin without the damage that can be caused by scrubbing. Chemical exfoliants come in different forms and different strengths, so sensitive-skinned redheads should start slow until they find the perfect amount. Here are more pros + cons: 


1. Gentle Exfoliation: Chemical exfoliants often provide gentler exfoliation compared to physical scrubs, making them suitable for sensitive skin.

2. Targeted Treatment: Chemical exfoliants can penetrate the skin more deeply, targeting specific concerns like acne, hyperpigmentation, or uneven texture.

3. Less Abrasive: Chemical exfoliants don’t involve physical scrubbing, reducing the risk of irritation, redness, or micro-tears on the skin’s surface.


1. Potential for Sensitivity: While generally gentler than physical scrubs, some chemical exfoliants can still cause irritation, especially for those with extremely sensitive skin.

2. Sun Sensitivity: Can increase the skin’s sensitivity to the sun, potentially leading to sunburn or other sun damage if adequate sun protection is not used.

3. Risk of Over-Exfoliation: Using chemical exfoliants too frequently or in high concentrations can disrupt the skin barrier and cause dryness, redness, or peeling.

3. Face Masks

Exfoliating face masks come in a variety of forms, some are chemical exfoliants, while some are more manual (scrub) or peel off exfoliants. Different masks will give you different results, and you can also make your own exfoliating facial masks at home. 


1. Convenient Application: Face masks offer a convenient way to exfoliate and treat the skin without the need for multiple products or steps.

2. Deep Cleansing: Exfoliating face masks can help remove impurities, excess oil, and dead skin cells from the skin’s surface, leaving it feeling clean and refreshed.

3. Relaxation: Applying a face mask can be a relaxing self-care ritual, providing a moment of pampering and stress relief.


1. Risk of Irritation: Some exfoliating masks contain abrasive ingredients or strong chemical exfoliants that may be too harsh for sensitive skin, leading to redness, irritation, or inflammation.

2. Over-Exfoliation: Using exfoliating masks too frequently or leaving them on for too long can strip the skin’s natural oils and disrupt its barrier function, causing dryness, sensitivity, or even breakouts.

3. Allergic Reactions: Certain ingredients in exfoliating masks, such as fragrances or botanical extracts, can cause allergic reactions or exacerbate sensitivity in individuals with sensitive skin.

4. Dermaplaning

If one of your goals with skin exfoliating is to leave it looking softer, brighter and smoother, dermaplaning might be the right choice. Dermaplaning is not only a facial exfoliant, but a hair removal technique. It is the act of taking a very small, sharp facial razor and removing the peach-fuzz like hair all over the face. Dermaplaining can be done at home or by a professional. Dermaplaning leaves the skin soft, hair free and helps makeup and skincare adhere better


1. Exfoliation: Dermaplaning removes dead skin cells and vellus hair (peach fuzz) from the skin’s surface, resulting in smoother, brighter skin.

2. Improves Product Absorption: By removing the top layer of dead skin cells, dermaplaning allows skincare products to penetrate more deeply, enhancing their effectiveness.

3. Instant Results: Dermaplaning provides immediate gratification with noticeable improvements in skin texture and radiance after the treatment.


1. Potential for Irritation: While dermaplaning is generally safe for sensitive skin, there is still a risk of irritation, redness, or inflammation, particularly if the procedure is not performed correctly or if the skin is overly sensitive.

2. Temporary Results: The effects of dermaplaning are temporary, lasting only a few weeks before dead skin cells and vellus hair begin to regrow.

5. Facial Brushing

Similarly to using a scrub exfoliator, facial brushing is form of manual exfoliation. You can use different types of facial brushes, electric, manual, silicone, etc. to help exfoliate the face. The difference between using a brush and using a scrub with grit is that you have more control with the brush. You can use products that work well with your sensitive skin and also control the pressure. 


1. Gentle Exfoliation: Facial brushes provide a gentle exfoliation method that can help remove dead skin cells, dirt, and oil from the skin’s surface without harsh abrasion.

2. Deep Cleansing: Facial brushing can help unclog pores and remove impurities more effectively than manual cleansing alone, leading to clearer skin.

3. Customizable Intensity: Many facial brushes come with adjustable settings, allowing users to control the intensity of exfoliation based on their skin’s sensitivity level.


1. Risk of Over-Exfoliation: Even though facial brushes provide gentle exfoliation, using them too frequently or with too much pressure can still lead to over-exfoliation, causing irritation, redness, or sensitivity, especially for those with sensitive skin.

2. Potential for Spread of Bacteria: If not cleaned properly and regularly, facial brushes can harbor bacteria and other microbes, increasing the risk of breakouts or skin infections.

3. Not Suitable for Active Acne: Facial brushing may exacerbate active acne or inflamed skin conditions like rosacea, making it unsuitable for individuals with these concerns.

6. Double Cleansing

Double cleansing isn’t your typical form of exfoliation and some don’t consider it a form of exfoliation, but for sensitive-skinned redheads, it can be a good option. Double cleansing is the act of using two different cleansers, first an oil-based one and then water based one to clean the face. This helps to remove excess oils from the face, clean the pores and also remove sebaceous filaments. Double cleansing will leave your face brighter, softer, and smoother much like exfoliating. Here are pros and cons: 


1. Thorough Cleansing: Double cleansing involves using an oil-based cleanser followed by a water-based cleanser, effectively removing makeup, sunscreen, excess oil, and impurities from the skin’s surface.

2. Gentle Exfoliation:*Oil-based cleansers in the double cleansing routine can help loosen dead skin cells and unclog pores without abrasive scrubbing, making it suitable for sensitive skin.

3. Customizable Routine: Double cleansing allows for flexibility in choosing products tailored to individual skin concerns, making it suitable for various skin types, including sensitive skin.


1. Time-Consuming: Double cleansing involves two separate cleansing steps, which can be time-consuming, especially for those with busy schedules or limited time for skincare routines.

2. Potential for Over-Cleansing: While double cleansing can effectively remove impurities, excessive cleansing can strip the skin of its natural oils, leading to dryness.

Do you exfoliate? Share your experience. Rock it like a Redhead! 


READ: 5 Facial Exfoliators That Won’t Irritate Your Redhead Skin

READ: Why Redheads Should Be Exfoliating & How To Do It Safely