When Do Men Need To Exfoliate?

It’s a common misconception among many men that using a cleanser is enough to keep their skin strong and smooth. And, while cleansing is an integral part of any skincare routine, regardless of gender, men in particular need to add an exfoliator into their regular rotation if they want their skin to look and feel its best.

A facial exfoliator for men can address a host of issues that cleansers and moisturizers on their own can’t. Everything from large pores to pimples can be helped by using an exfoliator.

But, what exactly are they and how specifically can they help? An exfoliator is a product that works to clear away a build-up of dead skin and debris. While your skin naturally sheds these skin cells eventually, sometimes they get stuck on the skin and can cause your complexion to look dull and pores to get clogged. While this is a problem that also affects women, it can be more prevalent in men due to their tougher skin, excess oil production, and large pores . As mentioned above, exfoliators help dislodge those dead skin cells, allowing the fresher skin beneath to be uncovered. There are two main types of exfoliators: physical and chemical (more on those later).

Exfoliators come in many different formulas and textures, each addressing a specific issue that men’s skin are susceptible to. Keep reading to learn how an exfoliator can help your complexion.

Large Pores

As mentioned before, men’s pores tend to appear larger than women’s and are easily clogged — meaning blackheads and whiteheads are more prolific.

That’s where exfoliating scrubs come in — this type of exfoliation physically removes the debris and dead skin using mild abrasion that dislodges them as you massage it in.

The Kiehl’s Men’s Oil Eliminator Deep Cleansing Exfoliating Wash has Apricot Kernels (made from crushed Apricot Seeds) and helps both clear existing build-up in the pores as well as the dirt and excess oil on the surface of the skin.


Chemical exfoliation is your best bet for pimples, as using a physical exfoliant to scrub irritated, sensitive blemishes can be damaging and cause bleeding or lead to post-acne hyperpigmentation. Chemical exfoliation usually involves acids, which dissolve away the bonds that hold those potential pore-cloggers on the skin.

Salicylic Acid is the gold standard here for pimples. It’s an oil-soluble acid that can penetrate below the surface of the skin, helping to clear excess oil, dead skin, and bacteria that can build up and lead to the appearance of larger pores, blackheads, and blemishes. Find it in our Kiehl’s Breakout Control Acne Treatment Lotion , a leave-on exfoliating lotion that is clinically demonstrated to diminish acne breakouts and reduce rough texture.

Dull Skin

When those dead skin cells don’t dislodge from the face, it makes skin look dull and tired. Exfoliating scrubs are a great option here because they will remove that dead skin from the surface and let the fresh ones beneath shine through.

The Kiehl’s Facial Fuel Energizing Scrub was formulated to energize men’s skin with scrub particles derived from Apricot Kernels, plus dullness-reducing caffeine and energizing Menthol. It gives skin a more refreshed appearance by sloughing away dead surface skin cells. It’s a skin buffer that also helps minimize ingrown hairs and gives you a closer shave with less irritations. No wonder it’s one of our bestsellers.

Rough Texture

When skin isn’t exfoliated, it feels rough and bumpy to the touch. That’s because dead skin builds up on the surface of the skin to create dry patches and builds up in pores and causes blackheads. In this case, you’ll want to turn to a hybrid chemical and physical exfoliator — it will deeply cleanse and help clear the skin’s surface.

Kiehl’s Age Defender Dual-Action Exfoliating Cleanser was made with that in mind. It’s a 2-in-1 treatment that uses Phytic Acid (derived from Rice Bran) and Moroccan Lava Clay to help clear surface dirt and break down the toughest layers of dead skin to reveal smooth skin with less visible wrinkles and fine lines.

No matter which you choose, scrub or acid, adding an exfoliating product to your daily skin regimen is an easy, low-maintenance way to keep your skin looking and feeling fresh, smooth, and clear.

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