If you’re looking for high-quality exfoliators made for sensitive skin, you’re in the right place. Exfoliating is a crucial step in the skincare process, and it makes a huge difference when you take the time to include it in your routine.
Exfoliating removes dead skin cells to make your skin soft and smooth and prevent breakouts and blackheads. Finding the right exfoliator is important though because many exfoliators can be harsh and potentially irritate sensitive skin.
Many people have sensitive skin. If you notice that your skin gets red easily or reacts strongly to certain chemicals in ingredients, you may have sensitive skin.
If you have this skin type, it’s important to find gentle products that soothe your skin as they are applied. There are many great products out there, and if you’re looking for a gentle exfoliator, we have a large selection for you. These are our top recommendations, so read on to find the one that fits you best!
We’ve broken down the exfoliating products into each step of the skincare routine:
- Exfoliating cleansers
- Exfoliating lotions/toners
- Exfoliating serums
- Exfoliating moisturizers
- Exfoliating masks
Exfoliating Cleansers for Sensitive Skin
Finding an effective exfoliating cleanser is a good way to combine two steps of your skincare routine into one. An exfoliating cleanser for sensitive skin allows you to clean your skin and remove unwanted residue and debris, while also gently removing dead skin cells to make your skin smooth.
WHITE ICHIGO Organic Tech-Cleansing
WHITE ICHIGO is a skincare brand that offers a quality double cleanser that also acts as an exfoliator. This cleanser changes from creamy to oil texture when in contact with your skin and perfectly dissolves away makeup, SPF, and dirt from your pores.
The Organic Tech-Cleansing removes impurities and stimulates blood circulation in the epidermis without irritating your skin, making it a great candidate if you have sensitive skin. The exfoliator includes white strawberries, which are rich in polyphenols and vitamin C, which have antioxidant properties to protect your skin from the aging process and help exfoliate dead skin cell buildup without irritating your skin.
Clay Face Wash Foam Meeth Lifty Wash
The Clay Face Wash Foam Meeth Lifty Wash contains a unique and beneficial ingredient – Kisameet Glacial Clay collected from the glacial deposit on the British Columbia coast. Kisameet clay is mineral rich and it has great therapeutic and antibacterial properties, along with being an effective exfoliating agent that’s sure to make your skin soft and smooth.
This facial wash meets exfoliator contains the ingredient glycerin as the main component, which provides exfoliation by removing dead skin cells and even lightening discoloration that acne, scars, or age sports cause. This ingredient is gentle with the skin though, making it great for those with sensitive skin.
WHITE ICHIGO Organic Powder Tech-Wash
The White Ichigo Organic Powder Tech-Wash is an enzyme powder face wash made with Japanese technology, providing a gentle yet deep cleansing experience. Double enzyme formulation naturally breaks down excess oil and dead skin cells, reducing blackheads, and minimizing the appearance of pores, leaving your skin perfectly clean and smooth.
Fermented rose, honey, papaya, and white strawberry extracts are encapsulated into tiny red capsules that melt on your skin delivering long-lasting hydration and nourishing it with vitamins and minerals. The AHA (alpha-hydroxy-acid) fruit extracts within this wash are excellent exfoliants for sensitive skin, as well as the glycerin ingredient mixed into the formula.
These exfoliants effectively remove dead skin cells and clean your skin, which results in a smooth, soft, and supple complexion. According to a 2011 study, “chemical exfoliation may involve the use of products that contain alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) or enzymes that act to loosen the glue-like substance that holds the cells together allowing them to slough off.”
HOMEO BEAU Mild Washing Foam
The HOMEO BEAU Mild Washing Foam is a foam cleanser that also acts as an exfoliator. Its mild formula makes it suitable for any skin type and sensitive skin. This foam integrates into its formula an innovative moisturizing Lipidure, ionized hyaluronic acid, raspberry, and St. John's wort extract. Lipidure formula has excellent moisture absorption/retention ability, it also protects your skin’s barrier from irritant substances.
Water-soluble ionized hyaluronic acid remains in skin cells even after washing your skin with water and provides long-term hydration that is 17 times higher than ordinary hyaluronic acid. The raspberry extract within this formula contains vitamin C, organic acids, flavonoids, and pectin. The fruit enzymes and extracts are what give the foam its exfoliating benefits. If you’re looking for a gentle exfoliator that will keep your skin clean, try out this product.
Exfoliating Serums for Sensitive Skin
Serums are great skincare products that serve the purpose of brightening your skin, boosting hydration, combating signs of aging, and more. Serums are absorbed quickly into your skin and are often found in liquid form. For serums, a little bit goes a long way. Serums with exfoliating ingredients provide the benefits of serums, with the added dead skin cell removal of exfoliant acids.
Komenuka Bijin Eye Moist Gel Serum with Rice Bran
Use this gentle gel to moisturize your skin and diminish the appearance of fine lines in the areas around your eyes or mouth. It’s made with a traditional Japanese beauty ingredient - rice bran, which contains a highly dense, natural form of vitamin B to soften and promote the regeneration of your skin. High concentrations of rice bran extract and sake yeast stimulate collagen production, which deteriorates as you age.
Glycerin is one of the main ingredients that make up the Komenuka Bijin Gel Serum, and it’s known for its exfoliating effects. It also contains malic acid, which is a gentle AHA that’s ideal for sensitive skin to exfoliate and balance pH levels. Dermatologist Julie Russak, M.D., says that malic acid is a gentler AHA because the molecule size is larger than most, making it a treatment that’s ideal for sensitive skin. If this is you, then we recommend trying out this serum.
AXXZIA VITAL RICH ESSENCE With Retinol and α-Arbutin
While retinoids aren’t exactly exfoliants, they act in a similar way by stimulating your skin’s natural shedding of skin cells.
Often associated with anti-aging, retinol acts as an excellent substitute OR additional boost to the exfoliating part of your skincare routine. Just make sure you use it at separate times from your other exfoliating products (alternative days/morning vs nighttime routine).
The AXXIA Vital Rich Essence contains the safest form of retinol known as retinyl palmitate which is gentle enough for sensitive skin.
The formula also contains α-Arbutin, a natural plant-based ingredient that fades scars and hyperpigmentation.
Finally, the key ingredient that makes this serum the perfect exfoliating product for sensitive skin is Squalane. This anti-inflammatory, non-comedogenic emollient hydrates and smooths your skin while helping to treat even the most sensitive skin conditions like eczema, rosacea and psoriasis.
Homeo Beau One Rich Gel
This amazing all-in-one gel serum includes three different types of collagen to deliver powerful anti-aging, exfoliating and moisturizing benefits to sensitive skin.
Ionto NS is the same technology used in esthetic salons to achieve high-penetration of active ingredients deep into the layers of your skin using static electricity!
The gentle exfoliating ingredient in this serum is Allantoin which is a keratolytic agent meaning it softens and separates tough layers of skin.
The Homeo Beau One Rich Gel is the perfect serum if you’re busy but want to protect your skin from premature aging, exfoliate and moisturize in one go!
Cica Method Booster Serum
Cica Method is an innovative Japanese skincare line using cica or Centella Asiatica extract - an ingredient that gained a lot of popularity in recent years in East Asian countries due to its incredible skin healing properties. This serum is gentle and acts as a natural exfoliant to encourage your skin to stay smooth and clean.
This serum is especially beneficial for those with acne-prone and sensitive skin. The medicated booster serum reduces the appearance of blemishes, combats acne and inflammations, and smoothes your skin texture. It contains coix lacryma-Jobi seed extract which reduces pigmentation and helps remove dead skin cells and impurities., and the concentrated glycerin within this serum has a similar effect. Luigi Rigano says that skin cells swell quickly when using hydrotropes like glycerin, which makes dead cell elimination easier.
NOA NOA LUXE VC7 EVO Serum
This serum contains one of the most stable forms of vitamin C (ascorbyl sodium phosphate) that is suitable for all skin types, especially sensitive skin. The EVO Serum has an anti-inflammatory effect and fights bacteria that cause acne, stimulates collagen synthesis, neutralizes skin-damaging free radicals, and protects against damage caused by excessive UV-Rays.
Due to its special VC7 EVO formula (vitamin C, artichoke extract, rosemary extract, licorice root extract, and horse chestnut extract with a high content of vitamin C), the serum balances the production of skin sebum and combats hyperpigmentation & dark spots without causing irritation. The extracts and glycerin are the main components of this serum that help with exfoliating your skin and keeping it smooth.
RUHAKU Shekwasha Anti-Pigmentation Brightening Essence
Our Anti-Pigmentation Brightening Essence is a high-quality serum made for you. It contains vitamin C and flavonoid nobiletin, which are known for their high antioxidant properties and the ability to stimulate cell metabolism, preserve collagen, and reduce puffiness on your face. It also contains noni extract and lemon extract, which have extremely high concentrations of vitamin C for potent effects.
For your skin to maintain a smooth texture, this serum contains natural fruit AHA acids and Salix Nigra (Willow) Bark Extract. Brenda Edison says that Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) are known for enhancing skin cell turnover rate. Willow Bark Extract is the natural form of Salicylic Acid (SA) which is safer than synthetic SA and dissolves the oil and gunk within your pores to remove blackheads and treat acne. It’s an essence worth getting due to the wonderful benefits it can provide you.
Best Exfoliating Lotions/Toners for Sensitive Skin
Lotions are similar to toners but have one key difference. Toners typically contain astringents that can be harsh on sensitive skin types. Lotions are full of moisturizing and gentle pH-adjusting ingredients so are more suited for sensitive skin. Lotions and toners both prepare your skin for the rest of your routine by balancing pH and removing any leftover impurities from cleansing.
WHITE ICHIGO Organic Tech-Essence Lotion
The White Ichigo Tech Essence lotion is a Japanese lotion that tones your skin, removes dead cells, and restores the natural cycle of epidermal cell renewal. The three types of hyaluronic acid and squalene within the formula protect your skin from unpleasant dryness and restores your skin's natural PH balance.
This lotion has a base of fruit juice, which is a moisturizing ingredient, but the fruit enzymes also naturally remove the dead skin cells off the surface of your skin. It also includes European raspberry seed oil, which also contains fruit enzymes so it has a similar effect to the fruit juice. This lotion offers a powerful combination of ingredients that work to moisturize and exfoliate your sensitive skin.
Best Exfoliating Creams/Moisturizers for Sensitive Skin
Cream is used to treat and prevent dry, cracked skin. The barrier it provides allows for ultra-hydration, so it’s great for dry or sensitive skin. Creams with exfoliant components further brighten and smooth out your skin. You may want to use the following creams on problem areas (large pores, blackheads, hyperpigmentation, and pimples) and use a moisturizing cream on the rest of your face.
RUHAKU Shekwasha Brightening Milk Cream
RUHAKU’s Shekwasha Brightening Milk is a moisturizing cream that helps protect against UV damage while balancing your skin’s moisture. Okinawan Shekwasha essence has a natural brightening effect that evens your complexion, and a blend of five oils smooths and nurtures problem areas throughout the day. It’s made for those with sensitive skin due to its healing properties and natural ingredients.
This cream includes a willow bark extract, which contains natural salicylic acid. Salicylic acid exfoliates your skin by loosening “the glue” that holds skin cells together. It’s a natural process, but it’s gentle on your skin, making it great for those with sensitive skin. It allows for the natural shedding of dead cells, which helps remove dull or rough skin. This milk cream provides visible effects in giving your skin a fresh and healthy complexion and texture. Note: salicylic acid products may not be suitable for dry sensitive skin, instead, recommend opting for natural fruit enzymes (AHAs).
Best Exfoliating Masks for Sensitive Skin
Masks are concentrated skincare products that deliver hydration and moisture quickly to your skin. They’re unlike oil-based moisturizers which take time to be absorbed into the skin. Masks with exfoliating properties have the added benefits of removing dead skin cells and creating a smooth, soft finish.
Dr. SELECT Carboxy Therapy Course CO2 Gel Pack
CO2 Gel Pack by Dr. Select is a beauty salon-grade face mask that you can do in the comfort of your home. It’s a quick solution for skin problems such as dryness, loss of elasticity, pigmentation, acne, and dull complexion. Its formula improves skin metabolism, stimulates blood circulation, and supplies blood with oxygen. This breakthrough therapy generates CO2 bubbles that contain a formula to stimulate the skin to restore beauty, energy, and health. Recent studies also prove that CO2 has been shown to improve the skin’s appearance. It also acts as an exfoliant.
The placenta extract is a rich source of vitamins (A, D, E, C, B1, B2, B3, B6, B12, PP, and H), amino acids, and peptides. It promotes the regenerative processes of epidermal cells and has a lifting effect. Vitamin A oil also has an exfoliating effect, making this product effective in exfoliating your skin. With the combination of vitamin A oil, CO2, and glycerin, this product makes for a powerful exfoliant that works well for sensitive skin.
DR. SELECT Placenta Cleansing Gel For Sensitive Skin
This cleansing gel is made especially for sensitive skin, so if this is you, we highly recommend trying it. Gel easily removes makeup and cleanses impurities on your skin while taking care of the moisture level of the epidermis. This gel contains high-quality pure placenta extract, hyaluronic acid, and collagen. The ingredients have been curated to provide the best effects possible, helping you feel confident in how your skin looks and feels.
The placenta promotes the renewal of skin cells, supplies skin with amino acids and peptides, and brightens its complexion. Trans-resveratrol obtained from grape extract protects your skin from UV damage and stimulates collagen synthesis and microcirculation in your skin. Grape extracts, which are a type of fruit extract and contain fruit enzymes, contain malic acid. Malic acid is proven to exfoliate the outer skin layers, resulting in improved skin texture and tone.
This face mask pack is for those of you who are looking for relaxation combined with results. The tiny molecules of CO2 saturate the deep layers of your skin with oxygen and increase blood and lymph flow. The jojoba oil and fermented pear extract give you the benefits of a healthy balance of the skin.
These masks are also highly effective in exfoliating sensitive skin. The lactic acid acts as an exfoliant by gently removing dead skin cells. The CO2 has a similar effect, providing double action in getting your skin smooth and clean. Try these masks and take a moment to soak in the benefits and relaxation.
Final Words on the Best Exfoliators for Sensitive Skin
We’ve gone over some of our top recommendations for exfoliators made for sensitive skin, so if you have sensitive skin, we suggest you try one or a few.
Each product is thoroughly researched by skincare scientists and designed to provide the best results possible. You’re bound to find at least one that fits your skin and turns your sensitive, dull skin into bright, hydrated, and healthy skin.
Please contact us with any questions you may have about these products. We’d be happy to give advice on choosing a product or developing the right skincare routine. Hopefully, you’ve discovered a new exfoliating product to try through this article. Take care of your skin and enjoy glowing results!