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How Often Should You Exfoliate Your Body In The Shower: Men’s Guide

It’s one of those questions with no clear cut answer – how often should you exfoliate your body in the shower? Your skin type plays a large role in how often you need to use a body scrub, so everyone has different exfoliation needs.

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Is It Necessary To Exfoliate Your Body?

The #1 reason guys exfoliate is to get rid of dead skin and dirt buildup. The grime that sits on top of your skin often smells bad, feels gross, and can cause irritation. 

But exfoliation is also a great way to soften your skin, fight acne, even your complexion, and more. It all has to do with the benefits of using a body scrub. Scrubs are packed with ingredients that go above and beyond for your skin, especially when you buy something all-natural.

You also should be exfoliating before you shave; it evens your skin, which prevents the blade from catching and cutting.

Exfoliation will be a godsend in your hygiene and skincare routine.

How Often Should You Exfoliate Your Body In The Shower?

Most guys do really well when they use a scrub to exfoliate about 2 times per week. You don’t want to use it everyday. That’ll start to leave your skin feeling chapped and flaky. But using it too infrequently will let dead skin and stubborn dirt give you skincare issues.

Once you’ve used an exfoliant enough to know what it does for your skin, you’ll inevitably develop a natural sense for when you need to use a scrub. I don’t keep track of the days I use my exfoliant because I can usually tell by the way my skin feels if I need to exfoliate. Too oily, too chalky, or too grimy means it’s time to scrub.

Just be sure you don’t exfoliate if you have a sunburn or damaged skin. Exfoliating shouldn’t irritate normal skin, but it will definitely irritate damaged skin. The same rule applies to most skincare products.

How Often Should You Exfoliate If You Have Dry Skin?

Most guys with dry, flaky skin can get away with exfoliating 1-3 times a week. Scrubs will do a fantastic job of rubbing away those dead skin cells, giving you softer, clearer skin.

If your dryness comes from a skin condition like eczema or psoriasis, be careful. You probably need to follow sensitive skin rules for exfoliating (which we go over below) rather than dry skin rules for exfoliating.

Guys with sensitive, dry skin draw the short straw when it comes to exfoliating. You’ll want to do it to get rid of the flakiness, but you won’t want to do it because it’s often irritating.

How Often Should You Exfoliate Oily Skin?

Guys with oily skin can exfoliate more often than any other skin type. Two or three times per week is usually the sweet spot, but some can even get away with 4, depending on how severe your oils are.

Natural oils do a wonderful job of protecting your skin from bacteria and dirt. But since they trap those particles, you don’t want to leave your natural oils sitting on your face for too long. Exfoliating clears away the oil and any of the grime it was carrying.

In turn, exfoliating oily skin more often also prevents pimples, zits and blackheads, which are often caused by natural oils clogging your pores.

One mistake that lots of oily-skinned guys make is leaning on a cleanser instead of an exfoliator. Cleansers and scrubs have very different benefits for your skin, and guys with oily skin in particular have a lot to gain from both.

How Often Should You Exfoliate Sensitive Skin?

Guys with sensitive skin should exfoliate once a week at most, but the goal is as infrequently as possible. Sensitive skin still needs some exfoliation to clear dead skin, but it can be really hard to find a scrub that won’t cause a breakout.

For guys with sensitive skin, I highly recommend an all-natural sugar scrub. The sugar actually dissolves dead skin, rather than manually exfoliating it, so you’re less likely to suffer from any irritation.

You can also try out some of the best organic scrubs that use gentle ingredients to exfoliate, if you’re prone to rashes or allergic breakouts. Natural exfoliants tend to be more transparent with their ingredient lists, so you can read ahead to spot those ingredients that cause irritation.

How Often Should You Exfoliate Combination Skin?

Combination skin is the trickiest to exfoliate, but most guys have a combination skin type. Ultimately, you’re going to have to experiment to find out what works for you, but some general rules you can follow:

Dry And Oily

This is the easiest combination skin to care for. Guys with dry and oily skin can strike an exfoliating balance in the 2-3 times per week range.

Sensitive And Dry

Follow sensitive skin rules; exfoliate as infrequently as possible if you have sensitive and dry skin. You’ll still want to use an exfoliant occasionally to help with flakiness, but you also need to limit your exposure to anything that might cause irritation that leads to more flakiness. 

Try a sugar scrub. It dissolved dead skin, rather than using friction to rub it away, so it’s gentle but fights flakiness.

Oily And Sensitive

Oily and sensitive skin is the wildcard combination skin; you might be able to get away with 2 times per week, since the oils themselves can cause irritation if you don’t exfoliate, or you might need to follow sensitive skin rules and limit exfoliation to rarely. 

Consider a himalayan salt scrub, unless your skin is extremely sensitive. Himalayan salt has skin-repairing properties, so even if the larger grains feel uncomfortable, they repair damage as they work.

Dry, Oily, And Sensitive

I’m so sorry for you. :( Guys with dry, oily, and sensitive skin have the hardest time finding a good body and face scrub to exfoliate with. Think about what matters most to you when you’re choosing a scrub and figuring out how often to use it. 

I regret telling guys not to use a scrub, because it’s rare that guys don’t benefit from a scrub…but if you’re suffering from an extreme skin condition, sometimes even a cleanser and nothing else can be overwhelming. Skip the scrub if you think it will do more damage than good.

What Happens If You Exfoliate Everyday? 

Exfoliating everyday will start to make your skin feel tight and dried out. Remember, exfoliants and scrubs strip away your natural oils and grime – while those skin ingredients do cause acne, they also keep you moisturized and protect your skin.

That’s why exfoliating just a few times a week strikes a good balance. You let your natural oils do their job without letting them take over your skin.

Do You Exfoliate Before Or After Washing Your Body?

Most skincare experts recommend washing your body before you exfoliate; the soap strips away as much dirt as it can, and the exfoliant steps in to remove any final stubborn dead skin.

So, the ideal shower order, as dermatologists will tell you, is to wash, exfoliate, then moisturize. If you’re going through a facial routine, wash, exfoliate, shave, use your toners/acne products, then moisturize.

Washing before you exfoliate isn’t one of those vital steps that will ruin your skincare routine if you do it wrong. Just be careful not to swap any of the other steps. You need to use your exfoliant before you shave because the exfoliant will irritate freshly-shaved skin, or the razor will have a higher chance of nicking you. You need to moisturize after you exfoliate to restore a skin barrier that mimics the protection of your natural oils.

Do You Tone After Exfoliating?

Toners, acne creams, oils, and any other skincare products you’re using work best when you use them after you exfoliate.

Think about it this way: if you use a toner before you exfoliate, the exfoliation will literally rub away the toner, or any other creme/oil/solution that you used. 

Plus, exfoliating before you use your toner helps increase its efficacy. Exfoliating gets rid of the dead skin that would otherwise block your toner.

Do I Moisturize After Exfoliating?

You should always moisturize after you exfoliate. If you can’t remember to slather on a lotion after you’ve scrubbed your skin, then don’t exfoliate. You’ll do more damage than good if you don’t use a moisturizer.

Exfoliating rubs away those acne-causing natural oils and dead skin. Moisturizers restore a healthy barrier between your skin and the rest of the world, mimicking your natural oils without clogging your pores. You need that barrier to protect your skin.

Does Exfoliating Damage Your Skin?

Exfoliating too frequently or exfoliation without applying a moisturizer afterwards will inevitably damage your skin. But if you use an exfoliant correctly, it will work wonders.

Exfoliation is known for brightening and clearing your complexion. It battles blemishes, attacks acne, and fights flakiness. Lots of guys who work long days also enjoy the relaxing sensation of a body scrub – many double as muscle soaks.

Finding the right exfoliator for your skin type can be a challenge. You might break out initially, but stick with it. The results are worth the effort.

Frank Edwards is a men's grooming & style expert who is "internet famous" for being able to simplify complicated grooming routines into easy, yet effective rituals any man can do. As a professional analyst, he has spent years researching the biggest brands, products, experts, best practices, and breaking news in the space. He takes this analysis, tests it out on himself, and then documents everything in his writing. As a result, his experience-based articles are considered by some to be the gold standard in men's grooming and men's style.