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10 Organic Exfoliators That Are Gentle Enough for Sensitive Skin

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The pursuit of forever-smooth, radiant skin can be an adventure, especially for sensitive skin type folks. And now, when the winter or the problematic skin season (how I like to call it) is around the corner, exfoliating can be tough. Either you’ve got sensitive skin temporarily, you’ve hurt your skin barrier, or you’ve been born with easily reactive skin, one thing I know: you need a natural exfoliator. Exfoliation is a vital step, something that a skincare devotee like you can’t ever skip. So, if your skin is bothered, feels perpetually itchy, irritated, flaky, or dry, these best organic exfoliators for sensitive skin will definitely come in handy!

How to exfoliate sensitive skin?

Sensitive skin type should err on the side of caution and don’t ever fall into the extreme and over-exfoliate. Using an exfoliator once weekly and gradually work up to at most twice a week is a smart thing to do. As a matter of fact, under-exfoliating is better than doing it too much when your skin is prone to irritations and dryness. Always look for mild chemical exfoliators, and if the formula is organic, even better. Of utmost importance is making sure your skin also gets hydrating ingredients, such as hyaluronic acid, botanical oils, or peptides. For the best, always use your exfoliator at night and apply a hydrating moisturizer after. 

If you’re not the kind of once-weekly exfoliating person or live in a highly polluted area and want to shed away dust at the end of the day, you could use an exfoliating cleanser or toner. They tend to be gentler on the skin and have less active exfoliating power. 

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Always start using your exfoliating product once weekly and gradually go up to at most two uses a week. In this way, you support your skin to build tolerance, diminishing the risk of irritations.

What to look for in an exfoliator for sensitive skin? 

Exfoliation can be chemical (acids), enzymatic (fruits enzymes), or physical (scrubs). Enzymatic exfoliators are the most delicate, so they do best for sensitive skin. However, if you’re into chemical exfoliators, focus on the gentlest AHAs/BHAs, like lactic, mandelic, and malic acids. And if you’re a glycolic or salicylic acid fan, you must use it in lower concentrations. Now, please leave the physical exfoliators for the body. 

Last but not least, the best organic exfoliators for sensitive skin also use soothing ingredients to minimize the chances of irritations. Fragrance-free is preferred and stay away from sulfates and denatured alcohol (alcohol denat). Their harsh nature can strip away your skin of moisture, dry it out, and make it even more sensitive.

The best organic exfoliators for sensitive skin of 2021

No matter which camp you fall in — seasonal or year-round sufferer — if your skin is consistently feeling rough, tight, flaky, dry, or ruddy, it’s time to consider one of these best organic exfoliators for sensitive skin. 

Juice Beauty Best Organic Exfoliator for Sensitive Skin

Juice Beauty Green Apple Exfoliating Mask

Juice Beauty Exfoliating Mask was made for sensitive skin. It packs gentle malic acid, glycolic acid, and lactic acid that work to improve skin texture, while grapeseed, vitamins C and E, have antioxidant activity to scavenge free radicals. The glycerin and aloe vera juice are the perfect addition to the formula since they soothe and calm the skin, keeping irritations away. Leave it on your complexion for 10 minutes once or twice a week to keep at bay dark spots, discoloration, and uneven skin tone and texture.


Origins Modern Friction Gentle Exfoliator

Origins Modern Friction Nature’s Gentle Dermabrasion

This is one of the best organic exfoliators that actually works for sensitive skin. Infused with rice starch and botanical oils like lemon peel and cucumber, it exfoliates the skin while it leaves it soft, smooth, and luminous. Everything is cushioned in a delicate cream that eliminates all dead cells when massaged over damp skin, revealing glowy and healthy skin. OK, the scent of bergamot and peppermint will make you look forward to exfoliating your skin — don’t use it more than twice weekly, though.


First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads

First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads

These pads are soaked in a blend of lactic and glycolic acids, hydrating aloe juice, glycerin, and hyaluronic acid. It’s perfect for sensitive skin because the gentle formula is made only with clean ingredients, lacks fragrances and alcohol. Plus, these exfoliating pads are boosted with antioxidant-rich ingredients and contain lemon peel to brighten dark spots. P.S: You could cut the pads in half since there’s enough liquid in one pad for two uses, so you get more of the deal.


L'Occitane Exfoliator

L’Occitane Reine Blanche Illuminating Scrub

I know I’ve said to leave scrubs for the body, but this one is an exception from the rule. It has a creamy texture that exfoliates gently, is non-abrasive, and is so delicate, touted as the best natural scrub for sensitive skin. It features salicylic acid among the last ingredients, so it’s not a powerful exfoliator yet does a fantastic job at unclogging pores and revive the skin. The brightening properties come from the Queen of the Meadows, a flower with white petals that illuminates the skin. Bonus: the formula packs sunflower seed oil, a great source of vitamin E, rich in antioxidants and nutrients great at counteracting skin irritations and sensitivities.


Biossance Squalane + Glycolic Renewal Mask

Biossance Squalane + Glycolic Renewal Mask

One of the easiest ways to exfoliate is using a mask — and this one happens to be gentle enough for sensitive skin. It’s made with glycolic, lactic, malic, and tartaric acids to refresh and brighten, plus fine mineral spheres that gently polish to smooth and soften the skin. This organic exfoliator works just perfect for sensitive skin as it’s enhanced with squalane and hyaluronic acid that plump and hydrate the skin, diminishing the risk of irritations. But use at most twice weekly.


Caudalie Organic Gentle Exfoliator

Caudalie Vinoclean Gentle Buffing Cream

Caudalie created one of the best natural exfoliators for sensitive skin with loving and gentle ingredients. First, it’s in the form of a lightweight cream that purifies thanks to the jojoba microbeads, leaving the skin deeply cleansed and soft. Then, Caudalie Buffing Cream packs a blend of grapeseed oil, honey, and sunflower seed oil for antioxidant and emollient effects. Twice-a-week use minimizes flare-ups to maintain a remarkably clear glow and creates the perfect canvas for makeup. Vraiment super!


Kate Somerville ExfoliKate Cleanser

Kate Somerville ExfoliKate Cleanser

Usually, cleansers act more delicately than peelings. So adding a cleanser boosted with AHAs and fruit enzymes to your routine, it’s ideal for refining skin. This foaming cleanser washes away makeup and impurities with a splash of water while encouraging skin exfoliation with glycolic and lactic acids, plus papaya, pineapple, and pumpkin enzymes. Even if the brand doesn’t claim the product to be organic, the cleanser’s got a clean formulation, packing lots of natural ingredients, including aloe juice, bergamot, and orange oils, while lacks any potential irritating elements. You’re good to go.


Tata Harper Superkind Radiance Mask

Tata Harper Superkind Radiance Mask

This exfoliating mask gently sweeps away impurities and dead skin cells. It’s infused with mild AHAs, lactic and phytic acids that revive dull skin while encouraging cell turnover. The sugar carbs complex aims to boost ceramides and proteins to strengthen the skin barrier while hydrates in-depth. It’s by far one of the best organic exfoliators for sensitive skin in a gel-like mask formula, hypoallergenic, vegan, and fragrance-free.


Pai Virtuous Circle Exfoliator

Pai Virtuous Circle Gentle Exfoliator for Sensitive Skin

This gentle organic exfoliator was created for sensitive skin and helps with three things: brightens, smoothes, and softens. You get delicate exfoliation without risking to irritate since it’s made with soft wax from the jojoba plant formed into tiny spherical beads. Everything is in a gel-like formula that turns into a silky milk when mixed with water. The addition of botanical oils, vitamin E, and squalane makes this product one of the best organic exfoliators for sensitive skin that’ll never be harsh.


the gentlest organic exfoliators for sensitive skin

Burt’s Bees Renewal Refining Cleanser

Burt’s Bees Refining Cleanser comes as one of the gentlest organic exfoliators for sensitive skin. Since it contains lactic acid, it works like a charm at shedding dead skin cells without causing dryness or irritations. On top of that, it’s infused with bakuchiol, a natural alternative to retinol that aids in increasing cell turnover and minimizing wrinkles look, backed by vitamin E and glycerin. Not to say it’s non-comedogenic and alcohol-free, but some reviewers warn that it doesn’t have a pleasant scent.

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