5 Things You Should Know about Exfoliation

You may think that after perusing the ViaBuff blog, you know everything there is to know about exfoliation. However, there are still many misconceptions that even the most knowledgeable exfoliation aficionado may harbor. Below we have compiled five of the most common things you should know about exfoliation (but probably don’t).

Your exfoliating buffs weren’t meant to last forever.


We designed our ViaBuff buffs so they would last a minimum of 90 days, which is three times longer than most other loofahs and puffs. However, nothing was meant to last forever, including our buffs. If you use your exfoliating tool for much longer than the prescribed time (i.e. years), then you will likely experience a progressively less effective exfoliative experience.

An exfoliating serum alone won’t fully exfoliate your skin.

If you are someone who likes straightforward, no-frills skin care, then it may seem to make sense to exclusively use an exfoliating serum and forego an exfoliating buff, or vice versa. However, while exfoliating serums and keratolytic agents are able to break apart hardened skin cells from healthy ones, they are seldom able full extricate these from your skin. Similarly, exfoliating buffs are great for removing already loosened dead skin cells, but generally cannot loosen cells that lay deeper within the skin. That’s why it’s critical that you use an exfoliating serum and exfoliating buff in combination with one another (preferably one of the ViaBuff buffs!)

keratolytic agents



Most DIY scrubs won’t exfoliate your skin.

We at ViaBuff are huge fans of designing and testing out different DIY beauty products. While there are many DIY masks that can hydrate your skin or treat scarring, few, if any, DIY products will actually exfoliate your skin. Most of the ingredients that can actually exfoliate, like salicylic acid or urea, are either too expensive for most people to purchase or can only be bought by large, licensed corporations. Ingredients like granulated sugar or nutshells may provide a satisfying amount of friction on your skin, but these items are too large to actually slough away dead or hardened skin cells.



If you see good results, then it is likely due to moisturizing ingredients softening your skin, rather than dead skin cells actually being removed. When it comes to great exfoliating ingredients, it is hard to beat salicylic acid, glycolic acid, and urea.

There is such a thing as over-exfoliating.


Once we find something that we really enjoy, it’s human nature to do that thing to excess. However, over-exfoliation can actually irritate your skin and may deprive it of much needed moisture, especially if you pair it with abrasive scrubs and soaps. If you have normal skin, then you may want to exfoliate only once a twice a week, whereas those with dry or sensitive skin may want to exfoliate less frequently, and those oily skin may wish to exfoliate several times a week (American Academy of Dermatology). Before altering your exfoliative routine, it is best to consult with your dermatologist about how frequently you should exfoliate and what serums you should use. Of course, we also suggest using the ViaBuff buff that most matches your skin’s needs – very dry, dry, normal, oily, just-waxed, acne-prone, or skin riddled with keratosis pilaris, psoriasis, eczema, or ingrown hairs.

Cleansing and exfoliating are two totally different things.

With some clever marketing, some skincare products can trick you into thinking that their ability to “cleanse” equates to exfoliation. However, these are two totally different processes, and even products which offer deep cleansing will not exfoliate your skin (at least to a significant degree). When you are looking for an exfoliating product, make sure to look for ingredients like salicylic acid, lactic acid, glycolic acid and urea, which have demonstrated their exfoliative abilities several times over.

glycolic acid 2

If your exfoliating serum also contains cleansing or anti-bacterial ingredients, then even better; however, these ingredients will not exfoliate your skin on their own.

Bottom Line

Regretfully, even the best of us sometimes fall prey to erroneous information about skin care and exfoliation.  When selecting an exfoliating serum or designing your exfoliative routine, there are several things to keep in mind. For example, a serum that contains cleansing ingredients but no exfoliating ingredients will not offer you a satisfying level of exfoliation, nor will using an exfoliating serum in isolation. Most DIY exfoliating masks don’t actually exfoliate your skin, and the good results that you see are likely from moisturizing ingredients softening your skin, not so much dead skin cells being sloughed away. You should exfoliate no more than twice a week if you have normal skin, and if you want to have a robust and efficient exfoliative experience, then you should make sure to dispose of your buffs regularly.

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