How To: Choose the Right Scrub for Your Skin

At first glance, exfoliation is a fairly simple process: It removes dead cells from the surface of your skin, revealing fresh cells and and thus brightening your complexion. But there are unique rules for each type of skin, as well as general do's and don'ts that must be followed. Since choosing the wrong product can lead to redness, irritation, or even full-blown breakouts, use this definitive guide to find the perfect scrub for your skin.

If You Have: Normal Skin

If your skin isn’t subject to complications, then kudos—you’re spoiled for choice on this one. Since you don’t have to satisfy a specific skin type, you can focus on pure efficiency. We recommend a scrub with multiple buffing agents, and a formula that can be used on a daily basis for maximum results. Rehab London Daily Detox is a potent-yet-gentle example: It uses a blend of volcanic sand and pumpkin enzymes to slough away dead skin, plus healing ingredients like plankton extract to cut down on irritation. Start by exfoliating every other day, then ramp up to daily use.

If You Have: Dry Skin

Dry skin is a perfect contender for exfoliation, since a scrub will buff away dead cells, and keep flaking to a minimum. But too strong of a cleanser will strip skin of all its moisture, and dry it out even further. A chemical exfoliator like H.I.M-istry Black Tea Glycolic Cleanser won’t strip away natural oils, but our pick would be a moisturizing scrub like this one from Lucky Tiger, which uses a blend of hibiscus and honey to soothe and hydrate skin. Use it once or twice weekly to start, and always follow up with a heavyweight moisturizer.

If You Have: Oily Skin

This is where things get complicated, so listen up. There are two things to consider when cleansing oily skin: You want to scrub deep and purify pores to prevent clogging and breakouts, but you also want to balance skin to cut down on oil production. Try a multitasking scrub with salicylic acid, a deep-cleaning agent that cleans out clogged pores. MenScience's Microfine Face Scrub pairs the ingredient with glycolic acid, a chemical exfoliator, and microfine beads to deal with grime and surface oil. Use it two to three times per week, and follow it with a natural face oil, which offers a lightweight, non-greasy substitute for your skin’s natural sebum.

If You Have: Sensitive Skin

Many guys with sensitive skin choose not to exfoliate at all, and frankly, we can’t blame them. But some scrubs are gentle enough for even the softest skin types. Our favorites are those that exfoliate with enzymes, which gently break down the bonds that hold dead cells together. Vasanti’s BrightenUp! Cleanser adds a dose of microderm crystals, which aid in cell removal without harming the skin beneath. Use it once weekly to start, and try testing the process on a small patch of skin to see how your body reacts.

If You Have: No Idea

Not every guy has a firm grasp on his skin type, and that’s okay. If you don’t have the time or the energy to analyze your skin, we recommend a scrub that’s made for versatility—specifically, one with a fine scrubbing agent like walnut powder, and a blend of hydrating and healing elements to combat any redness. Baxter of California's facial scrub fits this description perfectly—start slow with a weekly application, then increase the frequency if desired.

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