The Best Anti-Aging Exfoliants

Think of them as street sweepers for all the rubbish on your skin.
BY Sarah Lim
| Last updated May, 2023
best anti aging exfoliants

It seems like cleansers get all the credit for clean, fresh skin—but exfoliators are the heroic sidekicks that boost the process times infinitely. And in that case, YOU need to find the best anti-aging exfoliants. Did you know that exfoliation can help reduce the appearance of skin aging?
That’s right—by removing dead skin cells and stimulating cellular turnover, the natural process by which your body generates healthy new skin cells, you can have smoother, more polished skin.

There are different types of exfoliants, from physical scrubs (think sugar or coffee grounds) to chemical peels (including our friends AHA and BHA, as well as fruit enzymes). But what are the best anti-aging exfoliants to use? We’ve got your guide here!

How Do Exfoliants Support Anti-Aging?

How Do Exfoliants Support Anti-Aging

There are a few ways exfoliants support anti-aging. For example, chemical exfoliants such as hydroxy acids—which include AHA, BHA, and PHA—can help prevent dry skin, wrinkles, and hyperpigmentation. All of which can contribute to a more aged appearance

People know Polyhydroxy acid (PHA) for its gentler nature on the skin. It can even help strengthen the skin barrier. It can even help prevent premature skin damage and protect skin from sun damage, dryness, and sensitivity. 

Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) include lactic acid and glycolic acid. There’s a rumor that states people have been using AHAs since ancient times for skin aging. And they’ve been shown to improve skin roughness and texture for a smoother, younger-looking appearance. 

Fruit enzymes, such as papain from papaya, may even help reduce and treat scars for smoother skin. All of these exfoliants have the potential to support your anti-aging skincare routine!

Best Anti-Aging Exfoliants Based On Your Skin Type

It’s essential to select an exfoliant based on your skin type. Otherwise, skin can be unnecessarily damaged by stripping your skin’s protective barrier. And potentially can even lead to an increased appearance of aging. So let’s look at the best anti-aging exfoliants based on your skin type!

For Normal Skin: Kate Somerville ExfoliKate® Intensive Exfoliating Treatment

If YOU have normal skin, Kate Somerville’s ExfoliKate® is effective enough to exfoliate your skin without causing irritation. With AHA in the form of lactic acid and BHA, as well as enzymes from papaya, pineapple, and pumpkin, this chemical exfoliator also contains aloe and honey for a nourishing yet effective anti-aging exfoliant.

Simply massage into the skin for 30 seconds and leave on up to two minutes (less than one minute for normal types who are more prone to sensitivity) and enjoy your fresh face! Recommended use is two times a week for best results. 

For Oily Skin: Herbivore Botanicals Blue Tansy Invisible Pores Resurfacing Clarity Mask 

Beta hydroxy acid (BHA) is an excellent ingredient for those who have acne-prone skin, which commonly includes oily skin types. With BHA, papaya, pineapple enzymes, and blue tansy oil to soothe irritated skin.

The Blue Tansy Invisible Pores Resurfacing Clarity Mask is for both oily and combination skin types that tend to be more oily. It also contains soothing and hydrating aloe. This is a mask you can leave on for about 15 minutes. As oily skin types are more prone to sensitivity, you can leave it on for five minutes. Use two or three times per week for best results.

For Combination Skin: Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial™

Drunk Elephant’s T.L.C Sukari Babyfacial™ contains both AHA and BHA to minimize pores and wrinkles. AHA and BHA make this exfoliant ideal for combination skin types with dull skin or those who have large pores. With pumpkin ferment, matcha tea, and milk thistle, this exfoliant brightens skin and removes dead skin cells to reveal a smoother texture.

Leave the exfoliant on your skin for 20 minutes and rinse with warm water. Use weekly for best results, and give your skin time to adjust to the product by holding off on other treatments until Babyfacial has time to work its magic.

For Dry Skin: Josh Rosebrook Active Enzyme Exfoliator

For those with frustratingly dry skin, Josh Rosebrook’s Active Enzyme Exfoliator contains a physical exfoliant (walnut shells) as well as a chemical exfoliant (papaya enzymes) to exfoliate the skin. Formulated with honey, jojoba, and evening primrose oils to soothe skin, this exfoliant is designed to be effective without being too harsh.

Featuring exclusively natural ingredients, the honey, oils, and exfoliants in this scrub are designed to rehydrate and nourish dry skin. It can also be a good pick for combination skin types that have drier areas. Gently massage into skin and let it sit for 10 minutes or up to an hour before rinsing and drying.

For Sensitive Skin: Tata Harper Superkind Radiance Mask

If you have sensitive skin, it can take a lot of trial and error to find products that don’t bother your skin. That’s why Tata Harper creamy, gel-like mask that’s infused with a delicate blend of Self-Neutralizing AHA’s that replenish moisture and gently exfoliate is best for reactive, stressed, sensitive skin.

This formula is hypoallergenic, derm tested, and vegan. Free from: gluten, wheat, soy, and nut derivatives, fragrances, essential oils, and 85+ common allergens and irritants.

For Mature Skin: Earth Harbor Glow Juice Refining Enzyme Mask

If you have mature skin, which isn’t technically a skin type but can be defined by dry, dull skin with noticeable wrinkles, you need to be careful about which skincare products you use. Mature skin can also be thinner, meaning it could react more to different skincare ingredients.

Fortunately, Earth Harbor’s Glow Juice Refining Enzyme mask uses AHA and BHA with aloe, pineapple, and pomegranate to remove dead skin cells, brighten skin and help unclog pores, sans irritating ingredients. You can use Glow Juice as a mask, left on for about three minutes, up to three times a week, or as a spot treatment.

Grab The FREE Checklist To Learn Which Skincare Ingredients You Should Avoid

Do YOU have a stable of the best anti-aging exfoliants that you swear by? Or are exfoliants new in your skincare lineup? Let us know what your favorite exfoliants are for your skin type. And in the meantime, grab your free checklist on the skincare ingredients to avoid for all skin types!

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