Unsure if you should exfoliate in the morning or night? You're not alone. A lot of people don't know the difference between these two skincare terms.

Exfoliating your skin is an essential part of any skincare routine. It removes dead cells and reveals the brighter, healthier skin hiding underneath.

Read more to find out when you should exfoliate and what kind of results you can expect.

Should You Exfoliate in the Morning or Night

The debate between morning and night exfoliation has been a hot topic for years now. But is there a definitive answer to this age-old question? Like with most things in life, it all comes down to personal preference.

Before we move forward, we know that you need the best exfoliator for your skin regardless of the time. So, we did some research and found this exfoliator that you can use both in the morning and at night.

Paulas Choice Facial Exfoliant

Paula's Choice Facial Exfoliant with 2% BHA is an incredible product designed to visibly improve the appearance of skin. It works by unclogging and diminishing enlarged pores, exfoliating dead skin cells, smoothing wrinkles, and brightening and evening out skin tone. Its powerful yet gentle formula is perfect for combating extensive problems like redness, wrinkles, aging, enlarged pores, and blackheads. Using this chemical exfoliants regularly can help to restore a smooth complexion and radiant glow to your skin.

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Let’s look at the pros and cons of each option, and you can choose which one works best for you.

Exfoliating in the Morning Pros and Cons

Advocates of morning exfoliation often cite the fact that cleansing your face first thing in the morning will help remove any dirt or oil that may have built up overnight, leaving your skin feeling fresh and clean.

Plus, if you’re someone who wears makeup, exfoliating beforehand will help ensure your makeup goes on smoothly without clumps or uneven application.

On the flip side, some experts suggest that exfoliating too early in the day can cause sensitivity from overexposure to sunlight.

It is because exfoliation removes dead skin cells from the surface of your oily skin, but it also leaves your skin more vulnerable to UV rays if done during daytime hours when those rays are strongest. It can lead to skin irritation. So, try to use physical exfoliation later in the day.

In addition, some people also find that their mornings are already busy enough without having to add an extra step like exfoliation into their routine. However, we always recommend exfoliating process in the morning skincare routine.

Exfoliating at Night Pros and Cons

The main argument for nighttime exfoliating is that it gives your skin time to recover while you take your beauty sleep, so any potential sensitivity caused by overexposure to sunlight isn’t an issue.

Plus, with everything else going on during a typical day (work tasks, errands, etc.), squeezing in a few minutes before bed can be much easier than trying to fit it into an already-packed morning routine.

Additionally, nighttime exfoliation helps prepare your sensitive skin for whatever products you plan on using afterward – whether it’s a facial cream or serum – as well as helping them absorb better throughout the night. In the evening skincare routine, exfoliation increases skin cell turnover. So, you can add it to your night time skincare routine.

However, at night you can also get rid of the remaining makeup particles and excess oil.

On the negative side of things, though, some people feel like they don’t have enough energy at night to properly cleanse and/or apply products after they’ve already gone through their day-to-day tasks.

Additionally, if you don’t wear makeup during the day then there isn’t much need for prepping before applying cosmetics anyway – making nighttime far more ideal.

Should You Exfoliate in the Morning or Night - FAQs

Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about using chemical or physical exfoliation on your acne-prone skin in the morning or night:

What is the best time to exfoliate your skin?

There is no "best" time to exfoliate your skin, as this will vary depending on your individual skin type. However, most people find that exfoliating in the morning is best, as it helps to wake up the skin and prepare it for the day ahead.

Exfoliating your dry or sensitive skin, using physical exfoliants regularly, is a great way to keep it looking healthy and youthful. It removes dead skin cells and other debris from the surface of the skin, which can make your complexion look brighter and more radiant. It also helps to unclog pores and eliminate blackheads and other blemishes.

Is it better to exfoliate at night?

There is no right or wrong answer to this question - it all depends on your personal preferences and skincare routine. It also depends on people's skin types.

Some people find that exfoliating at night leaves their dry skin feeling refreshed and rejuvenated, while others prefer to exfoliate in the morning so that they can better enjoy the benefits of the ingredients in their skincare products.

Should I exfoliate both morning and night?

It is generally recommended to exfoliate 2-3 times a week. Exfoliating more than that can cause irritation and dryness.

In the morning, you may want to focus on exfoliating the areas of your body that are exposed to the sun (like your face, neck, and chest). At night, you can exfoliate all over.

Should you wash before or after exfoliating?

It is best to exfoliate before washing because the scrubbing motion will help loosen the dirt and oil on your skin.

Washing after exfoliating can actually remove some of the newly revealed skin cells, which can make your skin look dull. Make sure to use a gentle cleanser and avoid scrubbing too hard, or you could end up damaging your skin.

What type of exfoliant is best for morning use?

In the morning, it's generally recommended to use a gentler exfoliant, such as a chemical exfoliant with alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) like glycolic acid or lactic acid. These AHAs are less likely to cause sensitivity to sunlight compared to physical exfoliants like scrubs or brushes. AHAs help remove dead skin cells, brighten your complexion, and prepare your skin for the day ahead. Remember to follow up with sunscreen as part of your morning routine to protect your skin from UV damage, especially when using any exfoliant.

Can I use different exfoliants in the morning and night?

Yes, it's possible to use different exfoliants in your morning and night routines, but it's crucial to be cautious. Using a mild exfoliant in the morning and a stronger one at night, like a beta hydroxy acid (BHA) such as salicylic acid, can be a strategic approach. BHAs are often recommended for nighttime use as they can penetrate pores deeply and address issues like acne or blackheads. However, it's essential to monitor your skin's response and avoid over-exfoliation. 


It really comes down to what works best for you personally; both options provide benefits depending on individual preferences and needs.

Whether it be in the morning or evening (or both!) – just remember not to overdo it when exfoliating, as too much of a good thing can sometimes lead to irritation or even breakouts.

Still hazy about when exactly you should be doing this skincare step? Don't worry - experiment with different times until you find one that works best for you.

At least now you know why either option could work - so go ahead and give it a try today.

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Author Mizzy

Mizzy, a beauty & fashion interested, has been sharing his expert knowledge for 4 years. He offers readers honest, grounded reviews on the latest trends.

Mizzy, a beauty & fashion interested, has been sharing his expert knowledge for 4 years. He offers readers honest, grounded reviews on the latest trends.