9 Top Exfoliators For Dry Skin In 2024

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If you’re on the hunt for the top exfoliator for dry skin, you may find yourself presented with plenty of options, most of which may not be best for your skin. 

A young woman with a coffee scrub on half of her face.

Skin type is always the top consideration when choosing a skincare product to use — that includes exfoliators. Given this, people with dry and sensitive skin need products tailor-fit to their skin issues. 

So what are the top facial exfoliators you can choose from if you have dry skin?

Check out our list of the top ones in the market today!

The Inkey List PHA Gentle Exfoliating Toner
Editor's Choice
  • Dissolves surface impurities from the skin
  • Helps even out skin tone
  • Minimizes dark spots
Skinfood Black Sugar Mask Wash Off Pack
Budget Pick
  • Provides physical exfoliation to get rid of surface impurities
  • Hydrates, nourishes, and brightens skin
  • Helps rejuvenate skin
Tatcha The Rice Polish Classic Daily Non-Abrasive Exfoliator
Premium Pick
  • Exfoliates skin effectively
  • Hydrates dry skin
  • Promotes natural skin cell turnover

What to Look For in an Exfoliator?

When it comes to choosing the top exfoliators for faces with dry skin, you need to consider several things.

These include the type of exfoliator you want to use, the added ingredients in the skincare product, and some personal preferences. 

Exfoliator Types

Two types of exfoliators are available for everyone: physical and chemical.

Physical exfoliators use tools or small particles to physically scrub away the dry skin and impurities on the topmost layer of the skin.

Some physical exfoliators come in the form of scrubs that use granules and beads to buff away the top layer of the skin. 

On the other hand, chemical exfoliators use substances that dissolve and cause the topmost layer to peel away, removing dirt and nasty impurities with them.

These usually come in the form of alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), beta hydroxy acids (BHAs), and poly hydroxy acids (PHAs). 

Hybrid products, or exfoliators that use physical and chemical aspects, are also available. They may come in the form of scrubs too.

However, some use cotton gauze pads soaked in chemical exfoliants to provide benefits from both types of exfoliation. 


If you have dry skin, you need to look for exfoliators that won’t draw away even more moisture from your skin. 

For chemical exfoliants, go for AHAs and PHAs. These don’t penetrate deeply into the skin to draw out hydration and further destroy your moisture barrier.

Additionally, if you have dry skin, you should also look for added skincare ingredients that reintroduce or provide moisture for your skin.

These may include nature-derived moisturizers, hyaluronic acid, glycerine, and ceramides, among others. 

If you have sensitive skin, you should watch out for ingredients that can easily irritate your skin. Chemical exfoliants with high acid concentrations can irritate the skin, so it’s best to make sure you choose mild formulas.

No matter what skin type you have, if you’re planning to use physical exfoliators, make sure they are gentle enough and non-abrasive. Such products will prevent abrasion or micro-tears from plaguing your skin.

Benefits of Exfoliation

Exfoliation is an integral part of skin care as it’s the step where dead skin cells are removed. 

Apart from getting rid of impurities left over from cleansing, this also promotes healthy skin cell regeneration, effectively reinforces your skin’s healing and protective barrier, and helps your skin resist or block damage from the environment. 

a woman wearing dark colored shirt is exfoliating her face using a gel based exfoliator for dry skin at the bathroom

9 Top Exfoliators for Dry Skin

The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution

K-beauty enthusiasts swear by this product for its effective exfoliation that doesn’t dry out the skin. 

Key Benefits: Exfoliates the uppermost layer of the skin, promotes healthy skin turnover, hydrates skin, evens out skin texture


  • Formulated with 30% AHA and 2% BHA
  • Also contains a Tasmanian pepper berry derivative 
  • Has added hyaluronic acid for extra hydration

Looking for a potent chemical exfoliator? Try out The Ordinary’s Peeling Solution!

While it’s not formulated for beginners, The Ordinary might just have the top facial exfoliator for dry skin. It even went viral for how effective it is. 

This brand’s peeling solution is formulated with 30% AHA and 2% BHA. It also contains a pepper berry derivative that helps soothe irritated skin and hyaluronic acid and pro-vitamin B5 to keep your skin hydrated. 

When used on the skin, this exfoliant peels away the topmost layer of dead skin cells, getting rid of any dirt and impurities stuck in your pores and improving skin texture and pigmentation in the process.

If you’re familiar with chemical peels but want to try out something different, check out The Ordinary’s famous peeling solution!

Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial

Many recommend this exfoliant for its potency and effectiveness in promoting healthy skin turnover.

Key Benefits: Clears away dead skin cell layer, promotes healthy skin cell turnover, unclogs pores, replenishes skin moisture


  • Has 25% AHA and 2% BHA
  • Formulated with niacinamide
  • Also contains marula oil 

Achieve a healthy glow with this effective exfoliant from Drunk Elephant!

Those with dry skin may be intimidated by chemical exfoliants, but there’s nothing to fret about. Many brands, including Drunk Elephant, have come out with potent products that don’t dry out your skin.

One of the top exfoliators for dry skin is Drunk Elephants’ T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial. It contains a blend of AHAs at 25% concentration, which helps the skin achieve healthy cell turnover.

It also has 2% BHA for getting rid of anything that clogs your pores, including annoying whiteheads.

Apart from AHAs and BHAs, this product also contains marula oil and niacinamide to replenish your skin’s moisture. This makes it a perfect fit for those with dry skin.

Aveeno Positively Radiant Daily Scrub

This popular daily scrub is loved by many, thanks to its effectiveness and price. 

Key Benefits: Brightens and evens out the complexion, evens out skin texture, nourishes and hydrates skin; effective in getting rid of surface impurities


  • Contains soy extract, which is rich in antioxidants
  • Also has glycerin and jojoba oil for nourishing and soothing kin
  • Non-comedogenic and perfect for everyday use

Improve your complexion without breaking the bank by checking out this Aveeno scrub!

Aveeno has been producing many effective, skin-friendly products for many years, and this one is no different.

If you’re looking for good exfoliators for dry skin, try out Aveeno’s Positively Radiant Skin and Brightening & Exfoliating Daily Face Scrub.

A woman holding a tube of aveeno positively radiant brightening scrub on a beige background

This physical exfoliator mainly contains soy extract, which introduces antioxidants to the skin. This helps the skin become brighter and more radiant. It also contains glycerin and jojoba oil, both providing nourishment to the skin. 

Aveeno’s facial scrub works well to exfoliate the skin, promoting healthy skin turnover while cleansing your skin and pores.

It’s a fantastic product, especially since it won’t break the bank.

Skinfood Black Sugar Mask Wash Off

This physical exfoliator has gained popularity thanks to its effectiveness and natural ingredients.

Key Benefits: Provides physical exfoliation to get rid of surface impurities; hydrates, nourishes, and brightens skin; helps rejuvenate skin


  • Uses tiny, gentle sugar granules as physical exfoliants
  • Has a wide array of vitamins and minerals
  • Uses natural ingredients

Experience the hype and achieve healthy skin by trying Skinfood Black Sugar Mask!

Another one touted as the top exfoliant for dry skin is a physical one offered by Skinfood.

The brand offers a wide array of scrubs, but the Black Sugar Mask is among the most popular.

This sugar face scrub is formulated with vitamins, including niacin, pantothenic, and niacin. It also contains several minerals, including iron, calcium, and potassium. 

A small bottle of exfoliator under the brand of skinfood black sugar mask

The scrub’s small sugar granules act as gentle physical exfoliators that help get rid of the dead, flaky top layer of the skin. On top of that, it helps unclog pores and clear impurities. 

Skinfood’s exfoliator is made with natural ingredients, and it’s a must-try if you’re a fan of physical exfoliators. 

Top Exfoliators for Dry Sensitive Skin

Tatcha The Rice Polish Classic Daily Non-Abrasive Exfoliator

People rave about this product because of its gentle-yet-effective exfoliation. 

Key Benefits: Exfoliates skin effectively, hydrates dry skin, promotes natural skin cell turnover, helps minimize signs of aging and blemishes 


  • Contains Japanese rice bran and lactic acid (AHA) as gentle physical and chemical exfoliators, respectively
  • Also formulated with fine papaya enzymes for treating dry skin and promoting healthy skin turnover
  • Amino acid-based and pH-neutral formula

Give your skin the care and pampering it needs with Tatcha’s The Rice Polish exfoliator!

Finding the top exfoliator for dry and sensitive skin can be daunting. If you have sensitive skin, your skin might react negatively to irritants you didn’t even know were in the product.

Luckily, many brands have made items free from such compounds. 

Tatcha’s The Rice Polish is a hypoallergenic exfoliator that provides decent exfoliation. This product has both a physical (rice bran) and a chemical (lactic acid) exfoliant.

Luckily, both ingredients are gentle and won’t cause abrasions on your skin. 

It also contains papaya enzymes that ensure healthy cell turnover and help out dry skin. 

Apart from gentle exfoliation, this hybrid exfoliator rejuvenates skin while reducing signs of skin aging and blemishes. 

While it’s more expensive, every penny you pay for this is worth it. It’s one of the top exfoliants for dry skin out on the market right now. 

Paula's Choice SKIN PERFECTING 8% AHA Gel Exfoliant

Many recommend this exfoliant for providing gentle yet effective chemical exfoliation.

Key Benefits: Helps your skin become radiant, maintains skin hydration, firms skin, and reduces discoloration


  • Formulated with glycolic acid, green tea extract, and chamomile
  • Contains an 8% concentration of AHA 
  • Gentle enough for sensitive skin

Get that radiant glow with the help of Paula’s Choice AHA gel exfoliant!

Paula’s Choice’s exfoliant gently removes dull skin, revealing the radiance hidden beneath.

It also revitalizes the skin’s surface and aids in the maintenance of skin hydration by sloughing off dead cells and preparing the skin’s surface to receive moisture.

It contains glycolic acid, chamomile, and green tea extract, which can help minimize the appearance of discolorations and age spots while increasing skin firmness with regular use.

Apart from effectively getting rid of surface impurities, this gel exfoliant is gentle enough to be used by those with sensitive skin.

Best of all, it doesn’t contain any parabens or fragrances. 

The Inkey List PHA Gentle Exfoliating Toner

We love this inexpensive exfoliator because it uses PHAs to dissolve and remove impurities from the skin. 

Key Benefits: Dissolves surface impurities from the skin, helps even out skin tone, and minimizes dark spots. 


  • Uses PHA to exfoliate the skin
  • Contains niacinamide and aloe vera
  • Great for people with easily irritated skin

Take care of your skin and achieve a bright and healthy glow with The Inkey List’s PHA Gentle Exfoliating Toner!

Finding the top exfoliator for sensitive skin doesn’t have to break the bank. One of the gentlest you can find is this product from The Inkey List. 

What makes this exfoliating product unique is the fact that it uses PHAs instead of AHAs or BHAs. That means this exfoliant doesn’t sink into the skin as deep as the others, making it an excellent option for those with easily irritated skin.

Apart from PHAs, it also has niacinamide and aloe vera, which can help soothe and nourish your skin. 

If you want to try out PHAs, this is the top facial exfoliant for dry skin.

Elemis Papaya Enzyme Peel

This chemical exfoliator offers effective skin cleansing without irritation. 

Key Benefits: Provides gentle exfoliation, moisturizes and protects your skin, repairs skin’s protective barrier, smoothens and brightens skin


  • Contains fruit enzymes (mainly papaya but also has pineapple) as the exfoliant
  • Contains vitamin E, marine algae, vitamin B3, and milk proteins
  • Has a smooth, nonabrasive texture

Harness the power of nature-derived exfoliants with Elemis’ Papaya Enzyme Peel!

Another unique yet potent exfoliator you can try out if you have dry skin is Elemis’ Papaya Enzyme Peel. This is the one to try if you want to see how natural chemical exfoliators work well in your skincare routine. 

This product uses fruit enzymes, namely papaya, and pineapple, to rid the surface of your skin of the dead skin layer and impurities.

Aside from that, this enzyme peel contains vitamins B3 and E, marine algae, and milk proteins for added nutrients.

La Roche-Posay Ultra-Fine Scrub for Sensitive Skin

Many people rave about this scrub because it takes care of your skin through gentle exfoliation. 

Key Benefits: Provides gentle physical exfoliation and evens out skin texture


  • Uses ultra-fine physical exfoliating particles
  • Perfect for sensitive skin
  • Contains glycerin and the brand’s thermal spring water, which is rich in antioxidants

Provide gentle care and pampering with your skin using La Roche-Posay's Ultra Fine Scrub!

La Roche-Posay has risen to the top of the ranks when it comes to skin care. Among the top skincare products they offer is an amazing exfoliant for dry skin. 

La Roche-Posay’s Ultra Fine Scrub contains ultra-fine perlite as a physical exfoliator. Since these particles are superfine, they are less abrasive and are gentler than most scrubs available on the market. 

Apart from this, it also contains glycerin and the antioxidant-rich La Roche-Posay thermal spring water to hydrate skin. 

A woman with a towel on her face is applying a facial mask.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Often Should I Exfoliate Dry Skin?

If you have dry skin, exfoliating once or twice a week at most is enough. If you have sensitive skin, you can apply the same frequency.

Nonetheless, it is best to try it once a week first to test out the effect of the product on your skin.

Should I Exfoliate on Dry or Wet Skin?

This will ultimately depend on the product you’re using. If your exfoliator is more gel-like or foam-like, it is best to apply it on wet skin.

On the other hand, if the product is more oil-based, it will work best on dry skin.

Should I Exfoliate or Moisturize First?

You should definitely exfoliate first and apply moisturizer afterward.

The healthy ingredients of your moisturizer can help your skin recover from your exfoliation session and keep it plump and hydrated all day and night!

Exfoliate to Promote Healthy Skin Turnover

Exfoliation is a crucial part of any skincare routine. Understandably, if you have dry and sensitive skin, you may be confused as to which products you can use. 

Today, many brands have made exfoliants that are tailor-fit for dry and sensitive skin types. With the many products to choose from today, there’s bound to be one that will perfectly address your concerns. 

Hopefully, our list has helped you choose which products to try out. Incorporate one of the top exfoliators for dry skin available, and amp up your skincare routine today!

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  • Ashley Pena

    Ashley Pena brings over 13 years of seasoned writing and editing expertise, fortified by her Bachelor of Science in Management. Esteemed in the beauty domain, her content captivates readers with its depth and authenticity. While she navigates a broad spectrum of beauty trends, Ashley shines particularly as our resident K-beauty guru. Her articles are a harmonious blend of passion and profound knowledge, inspiring readers on their unique beauty journeys.

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