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 skin type, as well as general do's and don'ts that must be followed. Use this guide to find the formula that best suits your needs.

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, so we recommend a scrub that pairs multiple buffing agent with ingredients that keep skin healthy. Billy Jealousy Sucker Punch Facial Scrub is a potent-yet-gentle example: it uses volcanic Tahitian sand (tell us that's not impressive) and crushed walnut shell to slough away dead skin, while botanical oils hydrate, menthol refreshes, and green and white tea extracts protect against environmental damage.

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 a formula will strip skin of all its moisture, and dry it out even further. Look for one with hydrating ingredients, like Montez Renault's Jojoba Smoothing Scrub: It combines aloe and green tea extract with rich argan and jojoba oils to both soothe and moisturize just-washed 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 formula with salicylic acid, a deep-cleaning agent that cleans out clogged pores. Clinique for Men's Face Scrub pairs the ingredient with 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 it 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 and a blend of healing ingredients to combat any redness. Anthony Facial Scrub fits this description perfectly—it uses ultrafine Bora Bora white sand to mitigate irritation, and a blend of aloe, chamomile, and algae extract to soothe and repair skin.

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