How Do I Choose the Best Exfoliating Gel?

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  • Written By: Rhonda Rivera
  • Edited By: John Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 08 September 2019
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To choose the best exfoliating skin gel, decide between an all-natural gel, acne gel, and gels meant for specific parts of the body. All-natural products can be expensive, but they are available for people hesitant to use synthetic chemicals on their bodies. Over-the-counter acne gels aim to treat and prevent acne, usually on the face and neck, but they can be drying and are not effective for everyone. In addition, there are facial gels and face-and-body gels, the latter of which is sometimes not sensitive enough for the face. Texture also matters when it comes to exfoliating gels, because it is best to avoid gels that are overly abrasive.

If you prefer to use natural beauty products, look for an all-natural exfoliating gel cleanser. Aloe vera leaf gel, flower extracts, and natural acids are common ingredients in all-natural exfoliators. They may be more expensive than the typical gel exfoliator, but the ingredients are less likely to be dangerous when inhaled or used long-term. Still, do not assume natural ingredients will not irritate sensitive skin; use with caution the first time. In addition, use sunscreen if going outdoors after exfoliating because some natural acids make skin more sensitive to sunlight.


Sometimes an exfoliating gel is also designed to rid skin of acne. The gel usually contains salicylic acid, hydrogen peroxide or benzoyl peroxide. Salicylic acid is known to dry out skin, so use an unscented, dye-less facial lotion on the skin after treatment. If your acne is especially bad, however, talk with a dermatologist before beginning a new treatment. He or she might be able to recommend or prescribe a better acne gel based on the type of acne you have.

If you are looking for the best exfoliating gel specifically for your face, rule out gels meant for the entire body. They can be harsher than necessary, leaving your skin feeling dry and tight. Look for products that say “facial cleanser,” “exfoliating gel for the face,” or something similar. Do not buy products with salicylic acid or other acne treatment chemicals if you do not have acne. Follow the facial treatment with a moisturizer, even if the exfoliating gel says it moisturizes in addition to exfoliating.

Once you have chosen the type of exfoliating gel needed, pay attention to the texture. An exfoliating gel should be relatively smooth with no sharp particles. Rub a tiny amount of the gel between your fingers. If it feels rough and unpleasant, it will feel the same way on your face and legs. The best exfoliating gel is not abrasive and can be used without scratching the skin.


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