People with combination skin can sometimes feel like they're fighting a losing battle with their faces. Their foreheads, noses, and chins tend to be incredibly oily. But their cheeks? Drier than the Sahara Desert. So that can make shopping for products difficult, especially when we're talking about exfoliators. You need something that's non-drying, but heavy-duty enough to fix the flaky patches on your cheeks. Luckily, choosing the best exfoliator for combination skin isn't all that difficult — if you know what you're looking for.
There are two types of exfoliators: physical and chemical. A physical exfoliator is when a formula uses things like oatmeal, sugar, or seeds to slough off your dead skin. Chemical exfoliants use acids to dissolve dead skin and unclog pores. Alpha hydroxy acid and beta hydroxy acid are the two most well-known types of chemical exfoliants. It's a matter of preference which you reach for. But if your combination skin is also dealing with acne, a chemical exfoliant is probably a better bet, since physical exfoliators can exacerbate inflammation.
If you're still unsure of where to start, don't worry — you'll find four of the best exfoliators for combination skin, below. Just remember to always exfoliate safely. Start by doing it once or twice a week, and eventually work your way up to every other day if need be. Daily exfoliation isn't necessary for most complexions and can even wind up further irritating your skin.
1If Your T-Zone If Extra Oily
One of the toughest parts about having combination skin is that your T-zone tends to be very oily, while your cheeks are dry and in need of exfoliation. The remedy? Bioré Baking Soda Pore Cleanser. The star ingredient of this bottle is, of course, the baking soda. It's a powerful cleanser, so it chisels out all the gunk from your pores. But it also has gentle exfoliating power, so it's able to slough off the flaky, dry skin around your cheeks. It provides both parts of your face with the cleansing power it needs without being overly drying or making you greasier.
2If You've Got Acne
If you're also dealing with acne, then you want to use a chemical exfoliator — like the one found in Touch Glycolic Face Wash. It uses glycolic acid to exfoliate your skin, which won't cause redness like a physical exfoliator would. The formula also contains green tea, aloe vera, and chamomile to soothe angry skin and/or inflammation. And since it's formulated with a low pH, it'll maintain your skin's delicate balance.
3If You Prefer A Physical Exfoliator
Some folks just really love the feeling of a physical exfoliator on their skin. If that's you, then Clarins Gentle Foaming Cleanser is the exfoliator for you. It uses teeny tiny micro pearls to slough-off dead skin physically. But that doesn't mean this stuff is rough on your skin — quite the opposite, in fact. It foams up into a creamy lather and delivers a healthy dose of tamarind to refine the oily parts of your skin. The formula also contains micro-bio-ecolia, which helps to maintain your natural moisture barrier. It's a solid pick for combination skin that'll leave it feeling silky and soft.
4If You Want Brighter Skin
Friendly reminder: In beauty, the term brighter has nothing to do with skin tone. Instead, it's another way of saying clear, healthy, and vibrant. Dull-looking skin is the scourge of many a person, which is why we love Ursa Major Fantastic Face Wash. It uses a mix of alpha hydroxy and beta hydroxy acids, which combine to give you both a topical and deep-layer exfoliation. The result is a much brighter complexion, instantly. But that's not all — this face was is paraben-free, fragrance-free, cruelty-free, and vegan. That means it's great for folks with sensitive skin, too.
Bustle may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was created independently from Bustle's editorial and sales departments.