Dermatologists recommend chemical exfoliators over physical exfoliants for sensitive skin. There are three main types of chemical exfoliants: alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) and polyhydroxy acids (PHAs). AHAs are best for treating hyperpigmentation and signs of aging, while BHAs are excellent for treating acne-prone skin. PHAs are gentler exfoliants that also provide antioxidant and hydrating benefits.
Dr. Murphy-Rose, MD, Rachel Reyes-Bergano, DO, Erika Luren, NP, and Dr. Joshua Zeichner, MD are experts in the field and recommend the best exfoliators for sensitive skin. SkinMedica AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser is recommended for sensitive skin because it contains two types of exfoliating acids and helps prevent fine lines and breakouts. Neostrata PHA Facial Cleanser is suitable for sensitive and reactive skin and contains gentle PHA acids. Glow Recipe Strawberry Smooth BHA + AHA Salicylic Acid Serum is best for oily skin, while Medik8 Press & Glow Daily Exfoliating PHA Tonic is the best exfoliating toner for sensitive skin. Byroe Celery AHA + LHA Resurfacing Serum is recommended for sensitive acne-prone skin because it is good for most skin types, including oily and acne-prone. Juara Invigorating Coffee Scrub is best for a spa-like treatment for sensitive skin, and Yonka Guarana Scrub is the best physical exfoliator for sensitive skin.
Overall, chemical exfoliants and specifically AHAs, BHAs, and PHAs are the best choices for sensitive skin, as they provide gentle exfoliation and have additional benefits like antioxidant and hydrating properties. It is essential to choose a skincare product that is suitable for one’s skin type and concerns, and to consider the recommendations of dermatologists. These 15 best exfoliators for sensitive skin are highly recommended by dermatologists and are well-suited for various skin types and concerns.