Types of Exfoliating Tools
There are two main types of exfoliating tools: chemical and mechanical. For a chemical treatment -- also called a chemical peel -- a solution is applied to the skin that peels off the top layer of skin. Chemical exfoliants contain alpha hydroxy acids, beta hydroxy acids and enzymes that help loosen skin cells so they're easier to remove [source: Rubin]. Weak solutions that contain chemical exfoliating properties are available over the counter, but you'll need to see a dermatologist for a stronger one.
Mechanical exfoliating tools, on the other hand, require a little manual labor. These tools are abrasives -- such as body scrubs and loofahs -- that remove unwanted skin. However, although they're abrasive, mechanical exfoliating tools should be gentle enough not to irritate your skin. If a tool leaves your skin feeling raw, it may be too harsh.
Regardless of whether you use an exfoliating scrub or just a facial cleanser, you'll need something to help loosen that dead skin. One option is a tightly woven nylon mesh, which will remove more dead skin from your face than a sponge. A loofah is another great exfoliating tool, and while it's too harsh for your face, it can be used to scrub the skin of your torso and back. Exfoliating gloves are another option with abrasive qualities, or you could try exfoliating pouches, porous cloths that contain facial cleanser. For a gentle exfoliating experience, there are micro-exfoliating cloths, which are made from fibers 100 times thinner than a human hair [source: Elle]. And if you're a power tool lover, there's also the electric face brush, a tool that's similar to an electric toothbrush [source: Pack]. But you don't have to buy a special tool just to exfoliate -- even common household items like a towel or washcloth can help loosen dead skin [source: Parker]
Now that you're familiar with different exfoliating tools, check out the following page for tips on choosing the best ones for your skin.