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Medically Reviewed by Dr. Eva Simmons-O’Brien

Dr. Eva Simmons O’Brien received her MD from Yale University and is a board-certified dermatologist. With over 30 years of experience, she has worked for hospitals, established her own private practice, and consulted for organizations such as the FDA. Today, Dr. Eva runs her own practice in addition to serving as our Chief Science Officer.

man exfoliating face

What Does It Mean To Exfoliate? Why You Should and How to Start

What Does It Mean To Exfoliate? Why You Should and How to Start



Dude, your skin is dull, seriously. Pollution, lack of sleep, not enough water, and other environmental stressors can all take their toll on your skin and leave you looking a little grey, but the most corpse-complexion inducing cause is usually a buildup of dead skin cells.

Yep. That’s right. You’ve got dead skin stuck to your face, and until now, you probably haven’t been doing anything about it. Dead skin requires removal, and the skin gurus at Disco know how to do it right. 

We’ll tell you everything you need to know about exfoliation, why you should be doing it (like yesterday) and how to get started.  

What is Exfoliation?

Exfoliation is the process of removing the outermost layer of dead skin cells on your skin’s surface. Your skin naturally sheds and recycles every 30 days or so, but as you get older, the process slows. 

If your skin doesn’t shed your skin properly, the dead cells can get stuck to the uppermost layer of your skin, causing clogged pores and a dull complexion. Exfoliation helps rid your skin of this layer, and also boosts your skin’s cellular turnover, so you start making new skin, faster. 

There are three different types of exfoliation. 

Mechanical Exfoliation

Mechanical exfoliation involves the use of a machine or device to remove the upper layers of skin. Depending on what type of mechanical exfoliation you get, the entire procedure can be slightly invasive.

The standard dermatologist service is microdermabrasion. It’s essentially like sandpapering your skin. The dermatologist will use a tool in the office to slough off the uppermost layers. Your skin will be red and slightly raw for a day or two after this procedure. 

You can also use a handheld exfoliating device at home. These devices are usually vibrating brushes you use on your skin. Be careful,  because you could find that you are sensitive to the bristles and it’s too much for your skin. 

Chemical Exfoliation

The use of chemicals to exfoliate is available in your dermatologist’s office and at home. 

Chemicals dissolve protein bonds between living and dead skin cells which allows the dead skin cells to be sloughed away. 

One popular chemical that is used to exfoliate the skin is alpha hydroxy acid, or AHA. There are different types of AHA’s, like glycolic and lactic acid. It’s important to be careful not to overuse products that contain these acids, because they can make your skin overly sensitive to the sun, dry, and even cause your skin to peel if you use these ingredients too frequently. 

There are more natural options that are effective at exfoliating and won’t burn your skin. Papaya is an example. It contains papain, which is an enzyme that exfoliates efficiently and also works as an antioxidant to fight against external stressors and free radicals. 

Physical Exfoliation

The easiest way to get a great exfoliation at home is by using an exfoliating scrub on your skin. These scrubs contain microgranules that gently lift away dead skin cells to reveal the healthy new skin underneath. 

Word to the wise: pay attention to ingredients because they really matter. Many exfoliating face scrubs contain microbeads which aren’t safe for the environment. They can also contain exfoliating granules that are much too large for your skin and can irritate it. 

A great scrub will be gentle enough to use two to three times per week to keep skin looking fresh and new. 

Why Do I Need To Exfoliate?

You’ve got skepticism, we’ve got information. 

Exfoliating is important to rid yourself of that dull complexion, but also to set the stage for the remainder of your skincare products (like moisturizer) and to keep your skin looking youthful. 

Throwing in a few exfoliating sessions takes about one extra minute per week, but the benefits are numerous. 

Exfoliating Helps Clear Your Complexion

Blemishes are a thing of the past when you exfoliate. The exfoliant removes the top layer of dirt and dead skin cells so they don’t have a chance to clog your pores and create bumps. 

Pro tip: Make sure your scrub is gentle so it doesn’t irritate your skin. Scrubs can contain harsh chemicals or granules that are too large and create microtears in your skin and allow for the entrance of bacteria which can cause skin irritation.

Exfoliating is Anti-Aging

Anti-aging skincare is important even when you’re in your twenties. 

As you age, your cells’ natural cycle takes longer to turn over. This sluggish cell turnover results in less collagen production, and collagen is the compound in your skin that keeps you looking young. 

Exfoliating kick-starts cell regeneration, which supports your skin cells’ turnover. Faster turnover means newer, healthier, more youthful looking skin. 

Exfoliating Helps Even Out Skin Tone

If you’ve done some living, you’ve got some scars. Whether they’re acne scars, sunspots, or just an overall uneven skin tone, exfoliating can help. 

Exfoliating will remove layers of damaged skin revealing healthier skin underneath. Over time your skin tone will look more even. 

Exfoliating Helps You Shave Better

Razor burn, irritation, and ingrown hairs plague lots of guys, but you can get a better shave simply by exfoliating. Exfoliating can remove dead skin to help you get a closer, smoother shave than you’ve ever experienced. 

Exfoliating before you shave also removes dead skin cells which can get trapped in your skin’s pores around the hair follicle, creating ingrown hairs when you shave. These aren’t just unsightly, they’re painful and usually hang around for at least three to four days. 

How To Start Exfoliating Now

Woah there, partner. Before you head to the big box store for a tube of apricot scrub, consider this: the exfoliant in most of those scrubs is actually crushed walnut shell, which is way too harsh for your skin. 

You need to exfoliate the right way, and that begins with using the right product. Disco’s Invigorating Face Scrub is the right tool for the job. It’s gentle enough for weekly use, yet powerful enough to blast through dead skin and built up oil and give you a deep exfoliation without irritation. 

Here’s how you can become an exfoliation expert. 

  1. Wash your face. Start by cleansing. Exfoliating and cleansing are two different things and you need both. Cleanse your skin to remove surface dirt, oil, and sweat. If you aren’t already, you should use a cleanser twice a day; morning and evening. 

    Disco’s Charcoal Face Cleanser Stick cleanses your face from dirt and oil and starts the exfoliation process by delivering a powerful dose of phytic acid, a naturally occuring AHA derived from almonds.  This AHA is gentle enough for everyday use, yet powerful enough to deliver results. 

  2. Exfoliate. Using the Exfoliating Face Scrub, gently exfoliate your skin by applying a small amount of product to your fingers and rubbing onto your face in a circular motion. Do this for 30 seconds. 

    You can use the scrub 2-3 times a week because the granules in our scrub are gentle and won’t tear or irritate your skin. 

  3. Shave. Always shave after you’ve washed and exfoliated your face. That way you’ll prevent razor burn, irritation, and ingrown hairs. 

  4. Moisturize. Yes, you need to. Every face deserves hydration and no matter how much water you drink, your skin is better hydrated when you use a moisturizer. 

    Bonus: Disco’s Hydrating Face Moisturizer contains an ample dose of vitamin C that works to even skin tone and brighten your complexion. 

  5. Take care of your body, too. If you’re prone to bacne (blemishes, rash and/or irritation on your back and chest, you can benefit from using an exfoliating body wash. 

    Disco’s Invigorating Body Wash contains the same papaya extract as our face scrub, so you can take care of exfoliating your back and chest, too.

Just Scrub It

Exfoliating works to help you get a clearer, smoother, and healthier looking complexion by removing the dead skin cells from the top most layer of your skin. It helps you avoid razor rash and ingrown hairs by prepping your skin for shaving, and also helps you look younger by supercharging your skin’s cell regeneration. 

You can exfoliate easily and safely at home with Disco’s line of natural men’s skincare products. Our products are specifically formulated to work with the pH balance of a man’s skin. We never use harsh chemicals or toxic ingredients in our skincare, so you can be sure what you use won’t wreck your skin or your body. 

Don’t be dull, man. Scrub away dead skin and oil and enjoy cleaner, healthier, definitely sexier skin. 




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