Dead Skin Cleanser Guide + 11 Best Products for a Youthful Complexion

Updated on July 26, 2023
Lauren Long By Lauren Long
Lauren Long

Creative Writer, Lifestyle Blogger, and Skincare and Wellness Enthusiast

Table Of Contents

    Dead Skin CleanserPIN

    Dead Skin Cleanser Guide + 11 Best Products for a Youthful Complexion

    What do celebrities, Jennifer Aniston, Kim Kardashian, and Beyonce all have in common? Besides big bank accounts and beautiful bodies, they are all known for their youthful skin and glowing complexions.

    Beautiful skin requires following a strict skincare routine from a young age to combat the signs of aging. While we don’t all have the extra cash to splurge on botox and fillers, there are simple and affordable skincare steps and products to achieve smooth, youthful skin.

    Hello, dead skin cleanser! Exfoliating away our dead skin cells is one of the primary steps in a skincare regime for a flawless complexion.

    What is a Dead Skin Cleanser?

    A dead skin cleanser is a product that cleans pores and exfoliates dead skin cells from the outer layer of skin, the epidermis. Dead skin cleansers are an important part of our regular skincare regimes and skin purging activities. Our skin is constantly generating new skin cells, and as the new ones travel to the epidermis, the older cells die and shed.

    There are several types of dead skin cleansers available.

    • Exfoliating face washes
    • Exfoliating body washes
    • Face scrubs
    • Body polishes
    • Face masks
    • Micro-exfoliating scrubs
    • Dead skin removers

    The Importance of Removing Dead Skin

    To understand the importance of removing dead skin, it is essential to know a little bit about our skin, how many skin cells we have, and what happens when they shed.

    Here are five fun facts about skin cells:

    1. 90% of skin cells are keratinocytes, made of keratin proteins
    2. New skin cells take one month to regenerate and reach the epidermis.
    3. Our skin is made up of 10 trillion skin cells.
    4. We lose between 30,000 and 40,000 skin cells every hour.
    5. We lose up to 8 pounds of skin annually.

    Not all dead skin cells shed and fall off our faces and bodies. Many remain on our skin and eventually clog our pores, leading to blemishes and dull skin. Removing dead skin by manual or chemical exfoliation helps to prevent acne and promote skin cell turnover faster, resulting in smoother, rejuvenated, healthier-looking skin.

    Removing dead skin has several amazing benefits:

    1. Unclogs pores
    2. Prevents blemishes
    3. Reveals glowing skin
    4. Stimulates collagen production
    5. Allows topical ointment absorption

    Let’s dive into each of the five primary benefits of dead skin cleansers.

    Unclogs Pores

    Physical exfoliation, such as a washcloth, natural sponge, or facial cleaning brush, works by manually scrubbing or sloughing at pores to loosen dead skin cells and debris so they can be washed away. Chemical exfoliation, such as cleansers with ingredients like salicylic or glycolic acid, dissolves dead skin cells and debris clogging the pores.

    Prevents Blemishes

    Exfoliation unclogs not only pores of dead skin cells but also dirt, oil, and bacteria that cause breakouts. A dead skin cleanser absorbs excess oil from the pores, leading to fewer blackheads, whiteheads, and pimples.

    Zohna Tip

    Follow a dead skin cleanser treatment with a facewash for oily skin if you are prone to acne.

    Glowing Skin

    Skin naturally renews itself every month, shedding old skin cells and allowing new ones to surface. The new skin is brighter and smoother with a healthy glow. When dead skin accumulates, it causes our complexion to look dull and flat. Exfoliating the dead cells will boost our natural radiance and reveal glowing skin.

    Stimulates Collagen Production

    Exfoliation isn’t just an essential step in the skincare routine for those prone to blemishes. People with aging skin benefit from exploration as it increases blood circulation and stimulates collagen production.

    Collagen is a protein that is essential for:

    • Skin radiance
    • Boosting skin’s elasticity
    • Reducing the appearance of fine lines
    • Toning sagging skin

    Allows Topical Ointment Absorption

    According to the American Academy of Dermatology, exfoliation not only improves the tone, texture and the health of our skin, but it also aids with the absorption of topical ointments such as acne medication and moisturizers. Think about it; clogged pores are much less likely to absorb nutrients and ingredients than skin free of dirt, oil, and dead skin. Exfoliate before applying nutrient-rich creams or balms that you leave on the skin.

    How to Exfoliate Dead Skin

    There are two main ways to exfoliate dead skin cells: chemical exfoliation and manual exfoliation. As you can assume, chemical exfoliation involves using cleansing products with ingredients to chemicals exfoliate dead skin, whereas manual exfoliation involves using tools to exfoliate your pores physically.

    The chart below compares the most common types of chemical exfoliators n vs. manual exfoliators.

    Chemical Exfoliation Products Manual Exfoliation Tools
    • Cream-based cleansers
    • Gel cleansers
    • Foam cleansers
    • Face masks
    • Face scrubs
    • Exfoliating wash cloth
    • Natural sponge
    • Facial cleaning brush
    • Face masks
    • Face scrubs

    Face masks and face scrubs are a hybrid between a chemical product and manual exfoliation tool. Each cleanser for dead skin contains active ingredients to unclog pores and microbeads or a physical substance to exfoliate the dead skin.

    Our tutorial will demonstrate how to manually exfoliate dead skin with a washcloth, followed by chemical exfoliation with a cleanser and a DIY lip cleanser, and dead skin remover.

    Here is what you will need:

    • Washcloth
    • Cleansing balm
    • Cream-based cleanser with salicylic or glycolic acid
    • Moisturizer
    • White sugar
    • Honey
    • Brand new toothbrush
    • Moisturizing lip balm

    Part 1: Dead Skin Exfoliation

    Step 1

    Remove all makeup and dirt from your face using a cleansing balm.

    Step 2

    Wet a washcloth in lukewarm water and wring until 80% dry. Use gentle, circular motions to scrub your entire face and exfoliate the dead skin.

    Step 3

    Take your cream-based cleanser with salicylic or glycolic acid. Squeeze a teaspoon of the dead skin cleanser into the palm of your hand.

    Step 4

    Use gentle, circular motions to massage the cleanser into your skin, all over your face.

    Step 5

    Rinse your face using the washcloth and warm water. Apply moisturizer all over your face and neck.

    Part 2: DIY Lip Cleanser and Dead Skin Remover

    Step 1

    Mix one teaspoon of honey and two teaspoons of white sugar in a bowl.

    Step 2

    Use a clean toothbrush to gently massage the mixture onto your lips.

    Step 3

    Leave the mixture on your lips for five to ten minutes.

    Step 4

    Use your toothbrush to brush off the mixture. Wipe your lips with a wet washcloth. Apply moisturizing lip balm all over your lips.

    Facial Cleanser Mask

    Alternatively, you can opt for a face mask facial cleanser to remove dead skin. Masks offer an all-in-one chemical and manual exfoliation of dead skin cells while providing the skin with minerals for a soft, healthy complexion.

    Dead skin cleanser masks come in a variety of materials. Depending on your skin type, one kind of dead skin mask may be more suitable.

    The three most common types of dead skin cleanser masks are:

    1. Mud
    2. Clay
    3. Charcoal

    The chart below compares the benefits of each type of dead skin cleanser mask.

    Mud Clay Charcoal
    • Moisturizes and cleanses the skin
    • Exfoliates and nourishes the skin
    • Rejuvenates fatigued skin
    • Great for dry skin
    • Absorbs oil and purifies skin
    • Brightens and exfoliates the skin
    • Calms inflammation and treats acne
    • Great for oily skin
    • Unique detoxifying properties
    • Sheds dead skin cells
    • Antibacterial properties
    • Suitable for all skin types

    The 11 Best Facial Exfoliators and Cleansers For Removing Dead Skin In 2024

    When shopping for a cleanser for dead skin, you’ll want to choose a product with ingredients designed to unclog pores, prevent pimples from reoccurring, and leave skin hydrated and smooth. Some dead skin cleansers contain ingredients that leave sensitive skin itchy, irritated, or flaky.

    The three best active ingredients to look for in dead skin cleansers are:

    1. Salicylic Acid
    2. Glycolic Acid
    3. Low pH Ingredients

    The chart below compares the different types of dead skin cleansers based on their active ingredients.

    Salicylic Acid Glycolic Acid Low pH Ingredients
    • Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA)
    • Removes dead skin cells
    • Unclogs pores
    • Promotes skin cell turnover
    • Regulates oil production
    • Effective for whiteheads and blackheads
    • Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA)
    • Exfoliates skin while retaining moisture
    • Promotes skin cell turnover
    • Dissolves bonds that hold dead skin cells together
    • Brightens skin
    • Stimulates collagen production
    • Low acid ingredients: Hyaluronic acid and/or natural ingredients
    • Gently removes dead skin and dirt
    • Cleanses the skin cells
    • Nourishes and hydrates the skin
    • Anti-inflammatory properties
    • Effective for sensitive skin

    With so many washes, scrubs, and exfoliators to choose from, you might wonder, “what is a good facial cleanser for dead skin?” We’ve narrowed it down to the 11 best dead skin cleansers and the key features of each product.

    10/31/2023 11:21 am GMT

    We all know that white sugar satisfies our sweet tooth, and brown sugar is a tasty ingredient for cooking and baking but did you about about the benefits of black sugar? Black sugar is a naturally sweet treat for our skin. It is a rough, grainy form of sweet, unrefined sugarcane that has amazing benefits for the skin. Not only is it a great exfoliator and dead skin cleanser, but it leaves the skin hydrated, soft, and bright.

    If you are looking for an effective black sugar dead skin face cleanser, try Skinfood Black Sugar Perfect Scrub Foam. The soft and creamy foam formula offers a gentle scrubbing effect to cleanse, exfoliate, refine, and moisturize the skin. It removes flaky dead skin cells and impurities to reveal smoother, softer, and clearer skin.

    The key product features include:

    • Gentle scrub cleanser
    • Creamy foam formula
    • Black sugar exfoliant
    • Moisturizing vitamins
    • Rice wine to tighten pores
    10/31/2023 03:06 am GMT

    The Dead Sea is nature’s fountain of youth. Many know that a dip in the Dead Sea can provide various health benefits for treating Rheumatoid arthritis to psoriasis. Dead Sea salt is also a luxury ingredient In skincare products and contains magnesium, sodium, potassium, and calcium, among other minerals. It’s highly effective for exfoliating, hydrating, and softening skin.

    If you want to absorb the benefits of Dead Sea salt, you don’t need to book a flight to Israel! Try out New York Biology’s Dead Sea Mud Mask. It’s a dead sea skin cleanser mud mask made from all-natural ingredients and infused with minerals to detoxify and revitalize the skin. The creamy mud formula penetrates the pores to remove dead skin and oil, making it a great face cleanser for dead skin.

    The key product features include:

    • Shrinks pore size
    • Removes dead skin cells
    • Draws out oil
    • Tightens skin for smooth complexion
    • Available in unscented, eucalyptus and lavender scent
    10/31/2023 03:10 am GMT

    Have you heard about the benefits of manuka honey and its powerful antibacterial properties to heal wounds and fight infections? Well, it shouldn’t surprise you that it’s a miracle natural cleanser that removes dead skin, unclogs pores, and has terrific anti-aging benefits.

    Era Organics Revive + Microdermabrasion is a type of dead skin cleanser mask. The exfoliating facial scrub works gently to loosen dirt, grime, and dead skin while nourishing the skin cells. Stubborn pores don’t stand a chance against the microbeads made from walnut shells; they’re a natural exfoliator used to unclog pores and remove dead skin.

    The key product features include:

    • Aloe vera to soothe skin
    • Manuka honey to treat acne bacteria
    • Walnut to exfoliate dead skin
    • Cehami flower for healthy-looking skin
    • Orange peel oil to support collagen production
    10/31/2023 03:01 pm GMT

    When you have excess dead skin cells and oily skin, chances are, you are prone to blemishes. You need a product that can kill acne-causing bacteria and remove dead skin. Finding a cleansing gel with superior exfoliation properties that will unclog pores and prevent future breakouts is crucial.

    Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta® AHA/BHA Daily Cleansing Gel is the best cleanser for acne and dead skin. It contains salicylic and glycolic acid, two exfoliating ingredients that provide the skin with a deep cleanse and work to lift dead skin cells and refine pores. This makes it an excellent product for those with oily skin.

    Key features of the face wash for oily skin include:

    • Removes dirt, oil, and makeup
    • AHA & BHA to exfoliate dead skin cells
    • Balances skin pH
    • Helps unblock pores
    • Dead skin cleanser

    When it comes to Western vs. Asian skincare and beauty products, there are vital differences in methods and ingredients. Many beauty industry gurus argue that Korean, Japanese, and other Asian skincare products are better quality and more effective than Western ones. Asian skincare products contain traditional ingredients that have been used for thousands of years. In contrast, the ‘medical grade ingredients’ in Western markets have been used for much less time but have been studied and researched in laboratories.

    Rice Water Bright Facial Foaming Cleanser is a Japanese dead skin cleanser made of traditional skincare ingredients. Its primary ingredient, rice water, is rich in many vitamins and nutrients, including fiber, magnesium, and manganese, nourishing the skin and leaving it soft, bright, and rejuvenating. Rice water is a natural exfoliant that helps shed dead skin cells and brighten the complexion. The gentle foaming cleaner removes dirt, oil, and dead skin to reveal smoother, toned, youthful-looking skin.

    The key product features include:

    • Gentle foaming cleanser
    • Exfoliates dead skin
    • Hydrates the skin
    • Cream formula
    • Rice water containing vitamins A, B, and E
    10/31/2023 11:16 am GMT

    Maybe we’ve heard that the Dead Sea is nature’s fountain of youth, but we’re also aware that collagen is like a magical elixir for eternal beauty. Collagen is a protein responsible for skin elasticity and stretchiness and plays a significant role in strength and hydration. The production of collagen also promotes faster skin cell turnover, making it a wonder ingredient for dead skin cleansers.

    TN Tessa Naturals Dead Sea Mud Mask is a mud mask and cleanser to remove dead skin. Containing mud sourced from the Dead Sea, the product is packed with minerals and vitamins to cleanse and soothe the skin. The mask is a face cleanser to remove dirt and dead skin cells, enhanced with collagen to promote healthy, vibrant, youthful skin. It comes with a soft sponge for smooth, even, mess-free application.

    The key product features include:

    • Dead sea mud mask
    • Enriched with collagen
    • Exfoliates dead skin
    • Absorbs dirt and oil
    • Formulated with Hamamelis Virginiana Extract
    • Contains Vegetable Amino Acids
    Ongaro Beauty Enzyme Exfoliator
    $22.95 ($5.74 / Fl Oz)
    10/31/2023 11:11 am GMT

    Fruit is nature’s healthy desert, and we are aware of the benefits that vitamin-rich fruits have for our health. Did you know that fruit enzymes are natural exfoliants for a glowing complexion? Fruit enzymes are called proteolytic enzymes, and their role is to break down proteins. Our skin cells are made of keratin proteins, so fruit enzymes effectively break down dead cells.

    Ongaro Beauty Enzyme Exfoliator is a facial cleanser that eats dead skin cells and exfoliates the skin. It is packed with fruit enzymes from pumpkin, grapefruit, pineapple, and papaya. The dead skin cleanser is a non-abrasive facial scrub that removes dead skin cells without drying out the skin. It also contains aloe vera and vitamin C to soothe and hydrate the skin and reveal a brighter complexion.

    The key product features include:

    • Facial scrub
    • Gel formula
    • Fruit enzymes from pumpkin, grapefruit, pineapple, and papaya
    • Enriched with vitamin c and aloe Vera
    • Suitable for all skin types

    Exfoliation is an essential step for every skin type’s skincare routine. Clearing away dead skin cells and excess oil from the surface layer of the skin improves the skin’s radiance, clarity, and youthfulness. Oily skin benefits from regular exfoliation to unclog pores and prevent breakouts from occurring. Dry skin benefits from a dead skin cleanser for smoother, more hydrated skin.

    Paul’s Choice 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant is the best facial cleanser to remove dead skin. It works to regulate sebum production and unclog pores while exfoliating away dead skin cells, dirt, and oil, for smooth, toned skin. The product targets enlarged pores, blemishes, black and whiteheads, and fine lines and wrinkles. It contains highly effective BHA Salicylic Acid, which mimics the natural exfoliation process to shed dead skin while unclogging and clearing pores.

    Key features of the face wash for oily skin include:

    • Unclogs and clears pores
    • Smooths and evens skin tone
    • Green tea extract to soothe skin
    • 2 % Salicylic Acid for exfoliation
    • Accelerates skin rejuvenation
    10/31/2023 10:51 am GMT

    Sparkling jewelry, shining shoes, a glowing complexion. Everything looks better when it’s polished. Skin polishing is a form of exfoliation, and polishers are a type of dead skin cleanser. Polishes are designed to exfoliate dead skin cells to reveal brighter, smoother skin.

    If you want glowing, polished skin, go for a product by a skincare brand you know you can trust: Neutrogena Bright Boost Resurfacing Polish. The resurfacing polish is part of the Neutrogena Bright Boost collection, a facial scrub and cleanser intended to brighten your skin and improve its tone and texture. Along with Glycolic Acid, Mandelic Acid is another member of the AHA family, which helps to regulate sebum production, unclog pores, and reduce inflammation, resulting in fewer breakouts.

    The key product features include:

    • Dual-action chemical and physical exfoliation
    • Naturally derived skin smoothing agents
    • Glycolic & Mandelic AHAs to support skin cell turnover
    • Unclogs pores by cleansing away dirt, oil, and bacteria
    • Brighter complexion in one use

    When looking for an effective dead skin cleanse, you can’t go wrong with glycolic acid.

    Glycolic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) naturally found in sugarcane. It’s a wonderful dead skin cleanser because it exfoliates the skin while maintaining natural moisture. It sloughs away at the dead skin cells on the epidermis and promotes the turnover of new cells. Glycolic acid is favorable for those who want an exfoliating product that is also anti-aging.

    L’Oreal Paris Revitalift Bright Reveal is a daily scrub facial cleanser with Glycolic Acid. The exfoliating gel can be part of your morning skincare regime to exfoliate dead skin and promote skin cell turnover. Its gentle exfoliating properties resurface the skin for a smoother, brighter, youthful appearance.

    The key product features include:

    • Suitable for sensitive skin
    • Glycolic Acid to brighten skin and reduce wrinkles
    • Exfoliating micro-pearls
    • Purifies skin by dissolving impurities
    • Daily dead skin cleanser
    Miss Beautiful You Pink Clay Mask
    $15.99 ($15.99 / Count)
    10/31/2023 03:46 am GMT

    Youthful skin is something we all dream of. The key to healthy, youthful skin is finding skin care products to exfoliate dead skin cells and promote the rejuvenation of new ones. When it comes down to time, and we have to choose between an anti-aging face mask or an exfoliating mask, the decision can be tough!

    Fortunately, the Pink Clay Mask by Miss Beautiful You delivers a hydrating kaolin clay formula to tone and reduce fine lines while penetrating the pores to exfoliate dead skin. It’s enriched with vitamins E and A to promote skin cell turnover for soft, healthy skin.

    The key product features include:

    • Exfoliating kaolin clay
    • Soothing aloe vera
    • Refreshing rose and green tea extract
    • Yummy coconut scent

    Facial Cleanser Before and After Pics

    Want to see what a difference regular exfoliation with a dead skin cleanser can do for your complexion? Check out these facial cleanse before and after pictures.


    Removing dead skin on the nose is particularly important for shrinking pore size and reducing blemishes. Most people find their t-zone, especially their nose, to be the oiliest part of their face. The nose has visibly smaller pores and a more radiant complexion in the after photos.


    Lip exfoliation is a two-step process. The first step is exfoliating, and the second is moisturizing. These lips look fuller and softer after the two-step process.


    Exfoliating your face and cheeks can rejuvenate your skin’s texture and radiance. In the before picture, the skin had a lot of visible buildup of dead skin cells. The after photo shows a smooth, glowing complexion.


    • What Type of Product Is Best for Removing Dead Skin?

      No one type fits all for the best product for removing dead skin. Some prefer manual exfoliation with a loofa or natural sponge, whereas others find a cleanser with glycolic or salicylic acid more effective. If you are prone to blemishes, an AHA or BHA face wash is the best facial cleanser to remove dead skin.

    • Is Removing Dead Skin Safe?

      Removing dead skin is a safe and effective way to maintain healthy-looking skin. Light manual exfoliation or chemical exfoliation with over-the-counter products is safe to do several times per week. Licensed skincare professionals should be the only ones performing aggressive dead skin removals such as chemical peels or microdermabrasion. It is crucial never to practice dead skin removal on sunburned skin or if you have a medical skin condition.

    • How Often Should You Use a Dead Skin Cleanser?

      Exfoliation is a healthy part of everyone’s skincare routine, no matter what skin type you have. However, exfoliating too frequently or with harsh products may irritate your skin and leave it red and flaky if it is dry or sensitive.

      People with dry skin should once a week and increase it to twice a week if possible. Normal or combination-skinned people can exfoliate two to three times per week and three to four times for oily skin.

    Dead Skin Cleansers for Flawless Skin

    Beautiful, glowing skin is just an exfoliation away. The secret to youthful skin and a radiant complexion starts with a dead skin cleanser. With so many cleansers, scrubs, and masks, dead skin removal is an easy and effective step in your skincare routine!