Chemical exfoliants are excellent for maintaining a smooth and even complexion. If you’re looking to add an exfoliant to your skincare routine, here are the best exfoliants for combination skin.
1. Good Genes All-In-One AHA Lactic Acid Treatment
Sunday Riley Exfoliant for Exfoliating, Hyperpigmentation, and Anti-Aging
Sunday Riley Good Genes All-In-One AHA Lactic Acid Treatment
Sunday Riley’s lactic acid exfoliant tackles fine lines, wrinkles, uneven tone, large pores, and texture for a brighter, smoother, and more youthful complexion.
2. Overnight Peel
Derma E Exfoliant for Anti-aging and brightening
Derma E Overnight Peel
This anti-aging peel contains a potent blend of alpha hydroxy acids and nutrient-rich natural ingredients, which work to retexturize the skin and improve uneven skin tone for a smoother and more youthful appearance.
3. Lactic Acid Serum
The Inkey List Exfoliant for
The Inkey List Lactic Acid Serum
This super affordable exfoliant from The Inkey List lightly hydrates and gently exfoliates the skin to improve skin tone, smooth texture, and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
4. Intensive Renewal Serum
Alpha Skin Care Exfoliant for Exfoliating, Hyperpigmentation, and Anti-Aging
Alpha Skin Care Intensive Renewal Serum
This affordable exfoliant from Alpha Skin Care has a potent concentration of glycolic acid, which works to smooth texture, improve tone, and fight signs of aging.
5. Mandelic Acid 5% Skin Prep Water
By Wishtrend Exfoliant for Gentle Exfoliation
By Wishtrend Mandelic Acid 5% Skin Prep Water
The gentle exfoliant uses the power of mandelic acid (a less irritating AHA) and other ingredients to smooth skin texture, improve uneven skin tone, soothe, and moisturize.
6. Advanced Pore-Refining Treatment 4% BHA
Paula's Choice Exfoliant for Exfoliation, Large Pores, and Acne
Paula’s Choice Advanced Pore-Refining Treatment 4% BHA
This exfoliant contains a powerful concentration of salicylic acid, which works to unclog pores to minimize their appearance while also fighting breakouts.
7. Skin Perfecting 8% AHA Lotion Exfoliant
Paula's Choice Exfoliant for Exfoliating, Lightly Hydrating, and Reducing the Signs of Aging
Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 8% AHA Lotion Exfoliant
This 8% AHA product exfoliates the skin while also lightly hydrating to keep the skin smooth, calm, and moisturized.
8. Blackhead Power Liquid
COSRX Exfoliant for Acne and Blackheads
COSRX Blackhead Power Liquid
This beta-hydroxy acid (BHA) exfoliator is one of the best COSRX products for those prone to acne and blackheads. It penetrates deep into the skin to unclog pores, which helps maintain clear, smooth skin.
9. Acne Medication Pads
Stridex Exfoliant for Acne and Blackheads
Stridex Daily Care Acne Medication Pads Maximum Strength
These cleansing pads use the power of salicylic acid to help treat and prevent breakouts.
10. Mandelic Acid 10% + HA
The Ordinary Exfoliant for Exfoliating and Smoothing Tone and Texture
The Ordinary Mandelic Acid 10% + HA
This product offers gentle exfoliation to smooth skin tone and texture, and includes hydrating and soothing ingredients to fight irritation.
11. Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution
The Ordinary Exfoliant for Exfoliating
The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution
This chemical exfoliator is one of the most-loved The Ordinary products, with an effective 7% concentration of glycolic acid (an alpha-hydroxy acid, or AHA).
12. Lactic Acid 5% + HA
The Ordinary Exfoliant for Gentle Exfoliation
The Ordinary Lactic Acid 5% + HA
This chemical exfoliator gently exfoliates while soothing and hydrating the skin to reduce irritation.
13. B5 10% Pure Glycolic Acid Serum
La Roche-Posay Exfoliant for Hyperpigmentation and Wrinkles
La Roche-Posay Glycolic B5 10% Pure Glycolic Acid Serum
This serum combines glycolic acid with other exfoliating and soothing ingredients that minimize fine lines and wrinkles, brighten hyperpigmentation, and improve overall skin tone and texture.
14. 8% AHA Gel Exfoliant
Paula's Choice Exfoliant for Exfoliating and Reducing the Signs of Aging
Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 8% AHA Gel Exfoliant
This gel exfoliant contains glycolic acid (an alpha-hydroxy acid, or AHA), a chemical exfoliator that sheds dead skin cells to reveal smooth, younger looking skin.
15. 25% AHA + 2% BHA Exfoliant Peel
Paula's Choice Exfoliant for Evening Tone and Texture
Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 25% AHA + 2% BHA Exfoliant Peel
This peel contains a high concentration of chemical exfoliators, which work to resurface the skin and unclog pores to smooth fine lines and wrinkles and achieve a more even complexion.
16. Anti-Redness Exfoliating Solution
Paula's Choice Exfoliant for Acne, Blackheads, Hyperpigmentation and Redness
Paula's Choice Clear Regular Strength Anti-Redness Exfoliating Solution With 2% Salicylic Acid
This gentle exfoliating product is ideal for skin prone to breakouts, as it unclogs pores to minimize blemishes while soothing the skin to decrease redness.
17. 2% BHA Exfoliant
Paula's Choice Exfoliant for Gently Exfoliating and Preventing Breakouts
Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant
This cult-favorite product contains salicylic acid, a chemical exfoliator that gently exfoliates dead skin cells and unclogs pores for a clear complexion.
What is the best exfoliant for sensitive combination skin?
If your combination skin is more on the sensitive side, a great exfoliant to try is The Ordinary Mandelic Acid 10% + HA. This exfoliant contains mandelic acid, an alpha hydroxy acid that has a larger molecular size when compared to other AHAs. The larger size means that it is gentler on the skin, and therefore more suitable for sensitive skin. This serum also contains additional hydrating and soothing ingredients. If mandelic acid is still too gentle for you, you can also try The Ordinary Lactic Acid 5% + HA. Lactic acid has a smaller molecular size than lactic acid, but it is still larger than glycolic acid.
Is exfoliating good for combination skin?
Yes, all skin types can benefit from exfoliating, including combination skin. In general, exfoliants will help promote a complexion that looks and feels smoother and more even. Depending on the product you use, an exfoliant can also help minimize fine lines and wrinkles, unclog pores and fight breakouts, and fade the appearance of acne scars.
How often should you exfoliate combination skin?
If you have combination skin, you can exfoliate one to three times per week. Keep in mind that this will depend on the product you’re using (and how strong it is), as well as how your skin reacts to exfoliation. Over-exfoliation will irritate the skin and damage the skin barrier, so if you’re new to using a chemical exfoliant, start slowly with once a week application, and build from there if necessary. You should also refer to the instructions label of the product you’re using for the most accurate usage information. There are some products that are super strong and should not be used more than one time per week (if even that), while there are others with super low concentrations of chemical exfoliants that can be used daily or every other day.
The Bottom Line
Chemical exfoliants address a wide variety of skin concerns, and are a great addition to any skincare routine. If you have combination skin, consider using one of these exfoliants to achieve a smooth and even complexion.