You're a well-informed, stylish guy who takes care of himself, right? You eat well, exercise and maintain a solid daily grooming routine. But if you're not exfoliating, you're never going to look your best. Why? Because whatever skincare product you apply on a rough or flakey face will never absorb the way it's intended, making it less effective. That's one reason why you want to regularly slough off dead skin cells and other surface debris. Another reason is to keep pimples away. You see, dead skin cells don't just go away. They clog up your pores, causing zits to form underneath.
Think of it like mopping your floor. You're removing all the grit and grime and leaving a clean surface. Your skin will be smoother, brighter and you'll be less likely to itch or break out. Two notes of caution: Don't do this everyday (twice a week should be fine) and don't scrub too hard—let the product do the work. What's more, there are a slew of options when it comes to exfoliants to keep your skin smooth and soft. From gritty scrubs to gentler options that help dissolve dead skin with natural acids or enzymes. Here are some of our favorites.
For Acne-Prone Skin
This powder is made with ground tea tree leaves (a proven acne fighter) and aloe (which helps speed up the healing of blemishes) along with crushed nut shells and purified clay that buffs skin. To activate it, you mix with a little water or cleaner and massage into skin.
Tea Tree Leaf Facial Exfoliant,
$40 by Aēsop
Beyond Your Face
Because dry, dull skin isn't only a facial concern, this gentle but effective scrub is formulated for your whole body. And the natural bourbon cedar scent smells particularly good after a shower.
Exfoliating All-in-One Scrub,
$5 by Olivina Men
For a Gentler
Not all exfoliators are gritty scrubs. This completely granule-free exfoliant was developed to gently dissolve dead skin cells with natural fruit extracts and enzymes, promoting healthy cell renewal and skin hydration. The result is a more even complexion and a visible reduction in fine lines.
$69 by Grown Alchemist
For Dry Skin
or Lazy Groomers
Sure, you could cleanse and scrub your skin and then apply a hydrating mask. But this clever Aussie-based hybrid does all three in one shot. Tiny, biodegradable eco beads target clogged pores, gently removing dead skin and other pore-clogging impurities. Leave it on your face for ten minutes and rinse off.
2-in-1 Mask + Scrub,
$30 by Dr Roebuck's
For a Simpler Way
If you don't want to mess with the time and effort of a traditional scrub, try these easy pads. Infused with highly effective glycolic acid, they improve the appearance of pores, clarity and texture, without the typical irritation of an aggressive chemical peel at the dermatologist's office.
Resurfacing Glycolic Acid Pads,
$52 by Malin + Goetz
How to Scrub
The best time to use a scrub is in the shower.
The steam will help open up your pores (and it makes clean up a whole lot easier). It's also the perfect pre-shave treatment, lifting whiskers away from the skin and preventing irritation. You want to massage the product into the skin with small circles, like you're waxing a car.