How often should I exfoliate my body?

It's good to exfoliate your whole body, not just the face.
It's good to exfoliate your whole body, not just the face.
© Bolotnikov

Beautiful skin takes work. When you look in the mirror and see breakouts spotting your nose and cheeks, it's probably easy to remember the importance of exfoliating your face, but what about the rest of your body? You're covered from head to toe in skin, and that skin is constantly shedding dead skin cells -- at a rate of up to 50,000 per minute [source: Markey]. The problem is that sometimes those dead skin cells don't fall off -- they just build up and clog pores or make skin feel rough. That's why it's important to exfoliate your entire body instead of just your face.

Exfoliating your entire body can help prevent body acne in many places below your neck, such as the chest, back and arms. It also might help you avoid ingrown hairs by preventing dead skin cells from plugging up follicles where you've shaved or waxed. And it can help even out skin tone and keep your skin hydrated and soft.


As far as how often you should do it, most health experts agree that two or three times a week is plenty [source: Meppem and Noonan]. If your skin is very sensitive, you might prefer to do it less. Keep in mind that the purpose of exfoliating is to remove skin cells that are dead. You shouldn't have to scrub too hard or too often to make that happen. If you do, you're likely to take off healthy cells, too, which might leave your skin looking red and feeling sore. Rubbing the particles firmly but gently on your skin in circular motions should be enough to get the job done.

You can use an exfoliating scrub or just combine a regular body wash with a loofah or a washcloth. For an extra burst of energy, try using a salt scrub, which could help with blood flow to your skin and make you look and feel better [source: O'Neill]. Regardless of what you use to exfoliate, your skin might be better off for doing it. Just don't overdo it. A couple of times a week is plenty -- anything more might irritate your skin.

For even more information and helpful articles on how to exfoliate your body, read on to the next page.

Related HowStuffWorks Articles


  • Markey, Sean. "20 Things You Didn't Know About … Skin." Discover Magazine. Feb. 6, 2007. (Accessed Sept. 28, 2009)
  • Meppem, Victoria and Alex Noonan. "Buff Your Body." Marie Claire. Nov. 15, 2007. (Accessed Sept. 15, 2009)
  • O'Neill, Megan. "Radiate Energy." SELF. January 2009. (Accessed Sept. 15, 2009)