Glam Survey: What's Your Go-To Exfoliation Method?

As one of the lucky ones, you feel a refreshing boost each time you wash your face. It's no wonder that once you were introduced to exfoliating, you knew there was no rewinding your skincare routine; you were sold for life. Removing the top layer of skin cells has an almost magical way of seeping into pores that cleanser seems only to tap-dance upon, unlocking smooth, glowing skin that you always knew lingered below the surface. And, what do you know, cleaner, healthier pores are much less likely to balloon into unsightly blemishes, too.

Of course, exfoliating can incur some damage to the skin if you're not careful, so it may seem like you could use a little magic on your side when you're selecting among exfoliation methods. You have a choice of two basic types: physical and chemical. The former draws physical tools into duty — some with intriguing names like loofahs, pumice stones, and exfoliating mitts. Some tools come with ordinary-sounding names like cleansing scrubs (including kitchen-made concoctions) and dry brushes.

Chemical exfoliation dissolves skin cells with the help of alpha hydroxy acids, beta hydroxy acids, or retinoids. These chemicals are safe, but it's smart to match your skin type to the product and proceed slowly and carefully, per the American Academy of Dermatology. You may also wish to experiment with a new exfoliation method, based on recommendations from your fellow Glam readers.

Clear favorite may be an obvious choice

You can't beat body scrubs for convenience, and Glam readers obviously know this to be true. In our exclusive survey, 37.48% of readers, or 220 total, said this straightforward exfoliating method is their go-to choice. Many scrubs work in the same, delightfully simple way: you wet your face, rub a small amount of scrub all over your face, and then rinse it with water when you're done. If you have oily skin, you might use an exfoliating scrub every day; people with other skin types might reach for the scrub several times per week. 

Washcloths were the favored tool of nearly 20% of Glam readers — 19.93%, or 117, to be exact. Washcloths were followed by a textured sponge, also known as a loofah. This dried-out tool got the nod from 18.23%, or 107 readers, who may know that it comes from the Luffa plant — a distant relative of the cucumber family, per the National History Museum. To keep it free of bacteria, it's important to replace a loofah every few weeks. 

Check out the bottom three

The bottom half of the Glam reader survey revealed a few surprises. Specifically, 12.95% of readers, or 76, chose a bar of soap as their favorite exfoliating method. We're going to assume that readers know that the pH level of many bar soaps can be too high for the skin and potentially irritate it. This is why we're hoping that all readers follow the wise advice of the French Soap Store and use an exfoliating soap that contains an ingredient like charcoal, coffee grounds, oatmeal, or sea salt. 

If exfoliating is about nothing else, it's about options. And about 8% — or exactly 8.35% percent, or 49 readers — prefer a dry brush to exfoliate. Chemical exfoliation didn't enter the realm of possibilities until the very end of the survey. And then, only 3% of readers, or 18 total, singled it out as their favorite. The sound of using "chemicals" may intimidate them — and you. If so, remember that acids and retinoids are indeed powerhouses that get down to the business of cleaning the skin. To reap the benefits, simply start by using the lowest concentration possible and conduct a patch test first. In other words, easy does it in every way so that you can continue to count yourself as one of the lucky ones.