The type of exfoliation you choose depends on your skin type. Physical exfoliation involves using a tool, like a dry brush, body scrub, washcloth, or loofah to remove dead skin. Physical exfoliants sometimes get a bad rep, but they’re only harmful when used too much or on sensitive skin. With chemical exfoliation, you’re using a product with AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) or BHA (beta hydroxy acid) that dissolves dead skin cells.
If you have sensitive skin, the American Academy of Dermatology recommends chemical exfoliation. Products with a BHA, like salicylic acid, tend to be a bit gentler on the skin compared to AHAs, such as glycolic acid. Physical exfoliation is more abrasive and can be too irritating on sensitive skin, which is why it’s better suited for oily and thicker skin. As you establish an exfoliating routine, you can see which exfoliation method works best for you.