exfoliator texture close up

How to exfoliate sensitive skin

What if we told you that adding a single skincare step once or twice a week would make all your other products more effective? No, there’s no magic wand involved - but a little face exfoliation can benefit even the most sensitive skin, so long as it’s done right.

Scrubbing your skin is off the menu - sensitive or otherwise. However, exfoliating your face regularly is your ticket to glowing, polished skin. From how often to do it to the many benefits of giving your complexion a gentle buff, here’s your complete guide to making exfoliation your skin’s best friend…

black woman touching cleansed face

Benefits of exfoliating your face

Regular exfoliation can work wonders for your complexion - and the good news is you’ll see instant results as well as improvements over time. Still dubious? Here are all the many benefits of exfoliating:

  • It makes your skincare more effective: Exfoliation supports cell turnover, lifting away dead skin cells - which means your favourite serums and creams can sink into your skin rather than simply sitting on the surface.
  • It improves your skin’s texture: Buffing away dead skin and impurities leaves skin softer and smoother.
  • It gives dull skin its glow back: Exfoliating will instantly brighten your skin, giving it a thorough polish to reveal fresh, healthy-looking skin.
  • It helps to clear congested skin: Sloughing away the excess oil, dead skin cells and buildup on the surface helps to unclog pores and keep blemishes at bay.
  • It creates a smoother makeup base: By smoothing the skin’s texture and removing dry patches, exfoliating primes the skin for better makeup application.

How often should I exfoliate?

Think of exfoliation as your skin’s deep clean; a daily sweep with your cleanser is essential maintenance, but every so often a thorough polish will give your complexion extra sparkle (no rubber gloves required).

With sensitive skin, you don’t want to overdo it. Exfoliate once a week to see results if you have sensitive skin or mild rosacea; reduce it to once every seven to ten days for hypersensitive skin.

You’ll soon know if you’ve over-exfoliated; your skin may feel tight or more sensitive. It’s all about keeping your skin barrier healthy. That said, if your skin is feeling more resilient, increase to twice a week for even brighter results.

woman using cloth to remove exfoliator close up of exfoliator texture

How to apply exfoliator to sensitive skin

Exfoliating can be achieved either manually or chemically; you can use a muslin cloth or carefully formulated exfoliator to physically buff the surface of the skin, or chemical exfoliation using alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs). Whichever exfoliation method you’re using, it’s best to do it as part of your evening skincare routine.

Start by cleansing - or double cleansing, for extra skin brownie points. You can even use a muslin cloth to remove your cleanser to get your skin-smoothing step started. Next, move onto your exfoliator of choice. Use gentle, circular movements to carefully polish sensitive skin, avoiding the eye area and honing in on dry or oily patches. Take your time - a little TLC goes a long way.

Once you’ve rinsed it away, you can move onto the next step of your routine, applying your leave-on products such as a toner or serum. The best bit? They’ll now be able to sink straight into your skin, meaning more bang for your buck and better results - it’s win-win.

Pai Virtuous Circle exfoliator tube

What exfoliator is best for sensitive skin?

Using a harsh exfoliator is a hard no for sensitive skin (or any skin for that matter - healthy skin deserves better). That means no microbeads or anything that can scratch the skin's delicate surface. We successfully lobbied to ban microbeads - tiny microplastics that not only tear the skin but also pollute our oceans - in the skincare industry back in 2016. Instead, you need an exfoliator that's kind to skin and the planet, such as a natural exfoliator that's specially designed for sensitive skin.

Our Virtuous Circle exfoliator uses perfectly spherical and natural Jojoba Beads, which roll across the skin to polish away dead skin cells and impurities without harming the healthy skin beneath. It's also rich in Kukui Oil, helping to condition the skin and protect the moisture barrier for even softer, smoother results. Packed with Omegas 3 and 6, raw, red skin is not an option - this gentle giant is as nourishing as it is brightening.

The best part is in the application. Once you've cleansed, Virtuous Circle can be massaged into dry skin with dry hands. Moistening your fingertips with warm water will turn the gel into a silky milk - simply rinse and pat dry to reveal a brighter, perkier complexion.

Prefer to use AHAs? Chemical exfoliants do all the hard work for you. But while most are formulated with high levels of drying alcohols, our natural AHA mask uses naturally-derived AHAs from Pomelo fruit and gentle kaolin clay to draw out impurities and leave skin visibly smoother.

We know sensitive skin can be a lot to handle - but as counterintuitive as it may seem, regularly exfoliating your face could help you hit those skin goals sooner. A weekly extension to your cleansing routine, an exfoliator can give your complexion a new lease of life by getting rid of the old skin cells and welcoming in the new.

Ready to roll? Shop our exfoliator now for an all-natural, microbead-free formula that won’t scratch your sensitive skin - our customers love it and we think you will too. 

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