• The skin undergoes a cell turnover cycle every month, in which our skin sheds dead skin cells and forms new ones. Exfoliants are substances that help to slough off dead skin cells from the surface of the skin.
  • There are two main types of exfoliants: physical exfoliants and chemical exfoliants.
  • Physical exfoliants are granular substances which act like micro scrubs to physically buff the skin's surface to remove dead skin cell build-up.
  • Chemical exfoliants use enzymes or acid-based solutions that dissolve the protein bonds between dead skin cells enabling easy removal of dead skin cells.
  • Dead skin cells can prevent skincare products from being absorbed by the skin, hence, regular exfoliation is required to help maximize the absorption of all the beneficial ingredients needed for the skin.
  • Exfoliants have been used for centuries to promote healthy skin with a youthful glow.




Exfoliants have played a prominent role in the cosmetic industry. Historically, exfoliants have been a large part of skincare practices around the world and in multiple cultures. It's many uses and practical applications for removal of dead skin and dirt implies that exfoliants are a highly desirable product. Modern day cosmetic manufacturers continue to use the same traditional ingredients such as Pumice and Luffa. Ancient Egyptian royalty used wine as an exfoliating agent, and it was still being used as an exfoliant during the Middle Ages. The tartaric acid found in old wine acted as a natural chemical exfoliator. The Egyptians and Greeks incorporated natural ingredients like milk and honey into their beauty routines to regularly moisturize and exfoliate their skin. Ancient Greek women would gather once a week to exfoliate and relax their bodies using a wide range of skincare treatments. In ancient times, the Pumice stone was used to remove excess hair, while more recently, it has become a popular physical exfoliant.

In the 1800s, German Dermatologist Paul Gerson Umar began scientifically formulating the earliest versions of chemical peels. Before him, the Ancient Chinese people made face masks out of oils and minerals that were known to have exfoliating properties. Chemical exfoliants have been in use long before science further explored exactly which substances impart skincare benefits. Historians claim that even Cleopatra took regular latic acid (part of the group of acids that act as chemical exfoliants) baths in hopes of rejuvenating and chemically exfoliating her skin.




Exfoliation is the process of removing dead skin cells from the outermost layer of our skin, and exfoliants aid in removing these stubborn dead cells. There are two main types of exfoliants: physical and chemical. Physical exfoliants are also referred to as mechanical exfoliants and are some of the most common exfoliants sold in many different forms. These physical exfoliants are found in the form of brushes, sponges, gloves, scrubs and more. Chemical Exfoliants include Alpha-Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) and Beta-Hydroxy Acids (BHAs). Alpha-Hydroxy Acid consists of glycolic, latic, tartaric, and citric acids that naturally help slough off dead skin cells. Beta-Hydroxy Acids consist of Beta-Hydroxyl and salicylic acids, which are known to benefit acne-prone skin.

Before exfoliating, identify what exfoliation process works well for your skin type. Individuals with sensitive skin types are encouraged to use chemical exfoliants since these types of exfoliants can be formulated to be much gentler on the skin than physical exfoliants. Using chemical exfoliants can help prevent skin irritation which causes redness. Individuals with oily skin types benefit from physical or mechanical exfoliants since their skin has an extra layer of buildup on the surface of their skin. This type of exfoliant can be a little rough on the skin than chemical exfoliants but would work well for oily skin types that require this type of treatment. Individuals with normal skin types can benefit from mechanical and chemical exfoliation methods and combination skin type users can use a mix of physical and chemical exfoliants but should refrain from using both on the same day. Using both types of exfoliants will become too harsh for the skin. It is also very important to provide ample time for the skin to heal and for it to have more dead skin cells on the surface of skin that needs to be removed. While exfoliation is good for removing dead and damaged skin cells from the surface of the skin, exfoliating over cuts, open wounds, and sunburns may be more harmful for the skin. After exfoliating, it is important to apply moisturizer as it will lock in moisture to keep the skin hydrated and strengthen and rejuvenate the skin.

Other benefits of exfoliants include:

Acne Prevention: Exfoliants unclog pores and help reduce acne breakouts because the skin is cleared of dead skin and other dirt and impurities through the process of exfoliation.

Enhance Absorption: Exfoliants improve the effectiveness of skincare products by eliminating the extra layer of dirt and dead skin cells, and as a result, enhance the products' ability to penetrate the skin and deliver the intended beneficial effects.

Balance Skin Tone: Exfoliants remove dead and dry skin cells, which aid in smoothing rough patches and treatment of acne scars and dark spots.

Promotes Collagen: Exfoliants improve the skin's elasticity, making the skin plumper and tighter. Exfoliants also offer additional anti-aging benefits to the skin by reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Reducing Ingrown Hair: Exfoliants assist in removing dead skin that blocks ingrown hairs from reaching beyond the skin's outer layer and also prevents new ingrown hairs from forming.




Exfoliants can be found in various applications ranging from soaps and scrubs to body polishes. The most popular uses of exfoliants are in the form of scrubs.

To create a gentle Loofah body scrub that protects against dullness and peeling, combine, ½ cups of Liquid Glycerin Soap, ¼ cup of Green Clay, ¼ cup Ground Loofah Exfoliant, ¼ cup Ground Oatmeal, ¼ cup Rose Water, and ¼ cup Sea Salt. To use this body scrub, gently apply an ample amount of the scrub all over the body and feet, and massage in a circular motion. Rinse thoroughly with lukewarm water after application.

To create a rejuvenating body scrub that reveals a luminous complexion, begin by combining ½ cup Apricot Shells Exfoliant, ½ cup Olive Oil, and 10 drops of Lavender Essential Oil. Gently apply the scrub on your body and feet, and thoroughly rinse afterwards.




New Direction Aromatics offers the following Exfoliants:


Apricot Shell Exfoliant

Prunus armeniaca


  • Deeply cleanse the skin
  • Remove dead skin cells and renews the skin
  • Smooth and refresh dry calloused skin

Soaps, face scrubs, body scrubs, and foot scrubs

Jojoba Beads (Glacier) Exfoliant

Simmondsia chinensis


  • Remove dead skin cells
  • Clear and minimize the appearance of pores

Gels, scrubs, and polishes

Loofah – Grounded Natural Exfoliant

Luffa cylindrica


  • Exfoliate the skin
  • Remove dirt to gently cleanse the skin
  • Protect against dullness and peeling
  • Soften and smooth the skin

Foot scrubs and body scrubs

Pumice Stone (Ground Granules Fine) Exfoliant

Chemical Family: Silica


  • Soothe rough and dry skin
  • Remove dirt from the surface of the skin

Creams, lotions, and cosmetic applications




As with all other New Directions Aromatics products, exfoliants are for external use only. It is imperative to consult a medical practitioner before using these products for therapeutic purposes. Pregnant and nursing women are especially advised not to use exfoliants without the medical advice of a physician. These products should always be stored in an area that is inaccessible to children, especially those under the age of 7.

Those with the following health conditions are recommended to be advised by a physician: cancer, skin disorders, bleeding disorders, hormone-related ailments, and conditions of the heart, liver, or kidney. Individuals that are taking prescription drugs, undergoing major surgery, or who are at a greater risk of experiencing strokes, heart attacks, or atherosclerosis are also advised to seek medical consultation before use.

In the event of an allergic reaction, discontinue the use of the product and see a doctor, pharmacist, or allergist immediately for a health assessment and appropriate remedial action. It is highly recommended that the use of exfoliants be avoided on areas of skin with reduced sensation.

IMPORTANT: All New Directions Aromatics (NDA) products are for external use only unless otherwise indicated. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease, and it should not be used by anyone who is pregnant or under the care of a medical practitioner. Please refer to our policies for further details, and our disclaimer below.

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