How To Exfoliate In 4 Steps

How do exfoliating scrubs work? Make exfoliating skin a regular part of your skincare routine. Find out the finishing touches on getting the skin you want with our exfoliation guide.

Why exfoliating skin is important

Our skin cells renew themselves regularly: our skin is good as new every 28 days! Which is why it's important to know how to exfoliate. An exfoliating scrub not only removes dead skin cells – but also stimulates circulation to the skin at the same time. It will leave your skin ready to absorb care products and looking radiant.

How to exfoliate with exfoliating scrubs

Exfoliating scrubs are especially great in spring. This is when we want to give our skin a fresh start and remove the grey fog of those cold winter days. Before going on holiday, a gentle scrub can help ensure an even tan, because our thighs, knees and elbows need an extra boost. 

Use NIVEA's Daily Essentials Gentle Exfoliating Scrub take the 'how to exfoliate' process in steps:

  1. Focus on the areas of skin you want to exfoliate - drier flakier areas may need more attention than others.
  2. Apply the exfoliating scrub in gentle, circular motions for up to a minute. Don't be too hard on your skin, especially sensitive skin. 
  3. Rinse away with warm water
  4. Apply moisturiser every time you're done exfoliating your skin as exfoliating can dry out your skin more than just normal facial cleansing..

Important: Don’t overdo it! Every time you exfoliate, a regeneration process is set in motion, and this can cause stress for the skin. Be gentle and learn what your skin needs and wants.

Facial scrub: skin care in three steps

Use a facial toner to tone your skin after you exfoliate and then use a day cream or night cream.

finding the right scrub for your skin

Not every exfoliating scrub is meant to exfoliate your skin type. But which is the right one for you? You can make a rough distinction between natural and synthetic exfoliating scrubs. The best one for you depends on your own individual skin type.

Natural scrubs with fruit pips or sea sand

Now you know how to exfoliate you'll need to know about products to actually exfoliate your skin. Mechanical peeling uses abrasive materials such as sand or ground apricots microbeads to gently remove the top callused layer of skin. That grey layer will disappear and the skin will once again look healthy and radiant. If you have sensitive skin, use extra gentle scrubs with very fine and rounded abrasives. For oily skin that is more prone to blemishes, a product with an antibacterial effect is more suitable.

How to apply facial scrub

  • Use your fingers to apply the facial scrub to your forehead, nose and chin. 
  • Work your way from the centre of your forehead to your temples.
  • Rub gently from the bridge of your nose towards the tip.
  • Make more intensive circular movements in the area around the edges of your nose and very gentle movements on your cheeks.
  • Work along your jawbone to your chin. 
  • Finally, move down your neck from your chin. 
  • Always make sure to avoid the eye and mouth areas.

The best time of day to exfoliate

TIP: Another tip when it comes learning how to exfoliate skin - always exfoliate in the evening! This gives the skin enough time to recover, and you’ll start the next day with a radiant complexion. 

Fruit acid peels – aid for blemished skin

Fruit acid peels or chemical peels work without any abrasives. They contain fruit acids as their active ingredients, such as alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs), lactic acids or glycolic acids. These natural organic acids come from fruit and other plants and exfoliate your skin due to the reaction between the acid and the skin’s pH level. Fruit acid peels are especially suitable for acne, blemished and large-pored skin or pigment or age spots. Even small wrinkles or acne scars can be removed when applied regularly. 
Attention! Never perform a fruit acid peel yourself. It’s better to have a treatment in a beauty salon. And make sure you only ever have a fruit acid peel during the winter months, as it makes your skin much more sensitive to sunlight.

Gentle exfoliation with enzymes

An “enzyme peel” may sound somewhat synthetic, but the exfoliating effect is actually created through purely biological processes. Enzyme peels use the cleansing power of fruits: the fruit enzymes split protein elements and separate dead skin cells from the intact skin. As they only soften the top layer of skin, but don’t peel it off, enzyme peels are ideal for sensitive skin. 

Applying an enzyme peel is somewhat more complex: to ensure the enzymes can work properly, repeatedly lay a warm compress over the peel. Don’t use enzyme peels any more than once a month, as your skin needs enough time to regenerate after a treatment like this.

Never go out in the sun immediately after you exfoliate. After fruit acid and enzyme peels, you should actually avoid sunbathing for up to four weeks. Find out more about sun protection for your face here.

2 Minutes to Build Your Custom Skincare Routine

Whether you have any perfect imperfections or skin concerns that really bother you, try our routine builder for a genuinely bespoke, helpful skincare routine. All you need to do is answer a few simple questions about your skin concerns and lifestyle. Our tool then analyses your unique skin features and constructs a personalised routine adapted to your needs.

What you’ll get from NIVEA Routine Builder:

  1. Bespoke skincare routine for your skin type
  2. Tailored product suggestions
  3. Problem area analysis
  4. Lifestyle suggestions

face t-zone

Exfoliating the body

Skin and body exfoliating scrubs are available for the face, body, hands and feet. They all remove the horny skin cells (skin cell that sit on the outermost layer of the epidermis), allowing the new, younger skin underneath to emerge.

Please note:

Attention! Never apply an exfoliating scrub for body to your face, as the rougher grains could severely irritate the thinner facial skin.

Show off your skin!

The grains of sea salt or nutshells in exfoliating body scrubs turn dry, raw areas of skin into beautifully soft zones. Moisturising oils provide your skin with hydration at the same time. Here’s how to exfoliate your body: massage the scrub into damp skin in circular movements. For this, use a rougher exfoliant than one used on your face. Your knees and elbows need a particularly thorough treatment. You can also use a special exfoliating glove or brush for a body scrub.
Be careful of your neck and upper chest area! The skin here is particularly sensitive and, like your face, needs extra gentle and fine-grained exfoliation. It’s best to simply include your neck and upper chest area in your facial exfoliation.

Exfoliating ritual for your feet

As soon as the temperatures start to rise again, women will want to put their feet on show again. But before we can do that, our feet need extra treatment: special exfoliating scrubs grind away the callused skin and smooth it with salt or sugar crystals. Here’s how to do it: take a 10-minute foot bath, massage the exfoliating scrub in thoroughly, then rub in plenty of cream after rinsing. Incidentally, walking around barefoot a lot is good for your feet. Find out more about treating dry skin on feet here.

How to Make your own exfoliating scrubs easily

The next step after learning how to exfoliate is making your own exfoliating scrubs

Suitable for every skin type

Even a home-made scrub should always be tailored to your own specific skin type. For example, sea salt and sugar are better for large-pored facial skin, whilst poppy seeds are better for sensitive skin. You can find out more home-made cosmetics here.

Effective exfoliation recipes from the kitchen

  • Yoghurt, honey and sugar scrub for blemished skin: the honey has an antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effect. 
  • Coffee scrub for all skin types: the caffeine is stimulating and promotes circulation to the skin. 
  • Oil and sugar scrub for dry and normal skin: olive oil and grape seed oil provide the skin with oil and moisture, particularly in winter. 
  • Yoghurt scrub for all skin types: the cool yoghurt has a particularly refreshing effect. Depending on your skin type, mix it with sugar, sea salt or poppy seeds.