Avoid dry, flaky skin this winter with face exfoliators from Paula's Choice, The Ordinary

Get rid of dead skin cells this winter with these exfoliators.
Get rid of dead skin cells this winter with these exfoliators.

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Dry, dull skin is always a drag to deal with—but it's all too common in the dead of winter when skin is more vulnerable to becoming tight and dry, thanks to, erm, the bitter cold air. This is where a face exfoliator can come in handy, as their job is to free your pores of dead skin cells that can lead to flakiness and even acne. In turn, your skin is left looking brighter and feeling smoother post-exfoliation.

Now, a look at 10 of the best face exfoliators, according to reviews.

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1. For a budget-friendly option:The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Exfoliating Solution

Achieve smoother, brighter skin on a budget with The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution.
Achieve smoother, brighter skin on a budget with The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution.

The $8 Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Exfoliating Solution has garnered viral status on TikTok for delivering on what it claims to do, which is to balance uneven skin tone, unclog pores and refine skin texture. It relies on a cocktail of acids, including salicylic acid to cleanse pores, lactic acid to balance skin tone and glycolic acid to combat bumpy skin. The brand recommends using it no more than two times a week at night. Rub it all over dry skin post-face wash, and let it sit on the skin for a maximum of 10 minutes.

"I very rarely buy an item twice, but this is the best face mask ever," one Ulta customer writes. "I use it two times a week and [it] helps with blemishes and breakouts. Leave it on for 10 minutes and wash it off. It is the absolute best."

$8 at Ulta

2. For a formula that you can use every day: Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant

Use the Paula's Choice 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant every day to slough away dead skin cells.
Use the Paula's Choice 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant every day to slough away dead skin cells.

If you're keen on sweeping away dead skin cells every day, the

promises to have your back. In fact, the brand says you can use it not once but twice a day. Besides sloughing away dead skin cells, the exfoliator claims to clean pores and minimize the look of wrinkles. Salicylic acid and green tea join forces to rid pores of debris and soothe the skin, respectively. You can use the formula either once or twice a day on clean skin. If you decide to use it in the morning, however, the brand advises to follow up with a sunscreen that has an SPF of 30 or higher—something you should already do!—as the exfoliant can make your skin more sun-sensitive.

"Love this product," a Sephora reviewer says. "I can use it twice a day without it drying or burning my skin. It is evening out my skin and taking out the dullness. I feel like I have a treatment on my face."

Starting at $13 at Sephora

3. For a face mask: Versed Skin Doctor's Visit Instant Resurfacing Mask

Slather on the Versed Doctor's Visit for a weekly exfoliating treatment.
Slather on the Versed Doctor's Visit for a weekly exfoliating treatment.

Low maintenance folks, hear us out: Exfoliating doesn't have to be a daily chore. You only have use the Versed Skin Doctor's Visit Instant Resurfacing Mask once a week to see its effects. The yellow-tinted mask uses pineapple and papaya enzymes to exfoliate as well as salicylic acid to clean pores and diminish redness. Furthermore, glycolic and lactic acids promise to get rid of dead skin cells and hyperpigmentation. Slather the mask on clean skin at night. Let it sit for two to three minutes before washing it off.

"I really like this mask because it’s gentle on my sensitive skin, easy to apply, only takes a few minutes (great for busy schedules!) and, best of all, my skin looks amazing and feels so soft," one Target customer writes.

$18 at Target

4. For brightening the skin: Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Alpha Beta Extra Strength Daily Peel Pads

Attain radiant-looking skin with the Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Universal Daily Peel.
Attain radiant-looking skin with the Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Universal Daily Peel.

When it comes to helping the skin glow, the Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Alpha Beta Extra Strength Daily Peel Pads mean serious business. These peel pads promise to make skin look clear, minimize the look of wrinkles and nix bumpy skin. Glycolic and mandelic acids do the job of reducing the look of fines and wrinkles while salicylic acid unclogs pores. For best results, the brand suggests using the peel pads every other day both in the morning and at night.

"I struggle with hormonal acne due to imbalances and how I eat," a Sephora customer says. "However, this helps me fight new breakouts fast. My skin looks so glowy and most of my texture is fading after two to three weeks. A new favorite for me! Will be repurchasing!"

Starting at $17 at Sephora

5. For a 3-in-1cleanser, exfoliator and hydrator: Cetaphil Extra Gentle Daily Scrub

Moisturize, clean and get rid of dead skin cells simultaneously with the Cetaphil Extra Gentle Daily Scrub.
Moisturize, clean and get rid of dead skin cells simultaneously with the Cetaphil Extra Gentle Daily Scrub.

The Cetaphil Extra Gentle Daily Scrub avows to work overtime by serving as a cleanser and exfoliator that simultaneously hydrates the skin. It uses what the brand calls "micro-fine granules" to remove dry skin and prompt cell turnover, along with glycerin to hydrate. It's suitable for everyday use.

"I love this face scrub," a Target reviewer writes. "Leaves my skin soft, and it’s gentle enough to use every day without over exfoliating my skin. Doesn’t feel harsh like some facial scrubs. I would recommend to anyone wanting a gentle cleansing scrub!"

$9 at Target

6. For a formula that prepares skin for makeup: Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant Exfoliator

Get skin ready for makeup with the Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant Exfoliator.
Get skin ready for makeup with the Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant Exfoliator.

Like an artist's canvas, your skin needs to be as smooth and clean as it can be before applying makeup. The Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant Exfoliator ensures that your own canvas—i.e., your skin—is primed for application. The powder-based cleanser promises to brighten and smooth your complexion and clear pores of oil using papain enzymes and salicylic acid as well as reduce "the appearance of redness and irritation" with colloidal oatmeal. Place about half a teaspoon of the powder formula into damp hands, then massage it into wet skin until it produces what the brand calls "a smooth, foamy paste." You can reach for this every day as part of your cleansing routine.

"I was a little apprehensive at first because of this being a 'physical' exfoliant, because I tend to lean toward chemical (acids, peels etc) but wow I am in love," one Sephora customer exclaims. "Usually if I use something kind of gritty, my skin is very red afterward but this somehow brightens and makes it so luminous! My makeup goes on incredibly, dry patches are gone and [it] doesn’t cause me any breakouts! I will buy this for as long as Dermalogica keeps making it!"

Starting at $16 at Sephora

7. For a 2-in-1 cleanser and exfoliator: Cerave Salicylic Acid Cleanser

Accomplish two steps at once with the Cerave Renewing SA Cleanser.
Accomplish two steps at once with the Cerave Renewing SA Cleanser.

When time is scarce, reaching for a product that can kill two birds with one stone is ideal. The Cerave Salicylic Acid Cleanser asserts to act as both an exfoliator and a cleanser at the same time. Salicylic acid exfoliates while hyaluronic acid hydrates and ceramides support the skin barrier. Dampen skin before massaging it into the face once or twice a day.

"After all the products I’ve used, I’ve always come back to this cleanser," an Amazon customer writes. "It’s gentle enough for every day and really cleans out your skin and pores. It really does a good job at not stripping the natural oils on your face but also controls shine and clears out pores really well."

$11 at Amazon 

8. For a tropical-scented option: Tula So Polished Exfoliating Sugar Scrub

Get a whiff of the tropics while saying goodbye to dead skin cells with. the Tula So Polished Exfoliating Sugar Scrub.
Get a whiff of the tropics while saying goodbye to dead skin cells with. the Tula So Polished Exfoliating Sugar Scrub.

A face exfoliator that gets rid of dead skin cells and oil in an effort to make way for brighter skin is great, but an exfoliator that also smells like a dream is even better. The Tula So Polished Exfoliating Sugar Scrub is supposed to "smell like a beach vacation," per the brand, as you slough away dead skin cells and excess oil. Papaya and pineapple enzymes team up to exfoliate and brighten the skin. Use a dime-sized amount on the face and massage it in circular directions between two to four times a week.

"I use this literally every morning of my life," one Tula reviewer says. "It's non-abrasive, non-irritating and it's smells like the beach! I have never used a scrub than I love like this one."

$34 at Tula

9. For a deep pore cleanse: Pixi Skintreats Glow Tonic Glycolic Acid Exfoliating Toner

Give pores a deep clean with the Pixi Glow Tonic Exfoliating Toner.
Give pores a deep clean with the Pixi Glow Tonic Exfoliating Toner.

One of the most satisfying things in life (that is, if you're a skincare buff) is seeing all the dirt and grime beneath your skin come to the surface. The Pixi Skintreats Glow Tonic Glycolic Acid Exfoliating Toner intends to deep-clean the pores using glycolic acid to improve texture and tone as well as hydrate with aloe vera. The brand says you can use this exfoliator both in the morning and at night after cleansing.

"I purchased this while on the hunt for a new toner but with ingredients that I felt were going to give my skin a glow—but not be harsh and strip it," a Target customer writes. "This is that toner. It makes my skin's texture baby soft when I had some noticeable enlarged pores. I am definitely going to repurchase and will not be without this product. Holy grail product for me!"

Starting at $15 at Target

10. For a cooling and warming effect: Ole Henriksen Pore-Balance Facial Sauna Scrub

Treat your skin to both a warming and cooling sensation as you're swiping away dead skin cells with the Ole Henriksen Pore-Balance Facial Sauna Scrub.
Treat your skin to both a warming and cooling sensation as you're swiping away dead skin cells with the Ole Henriksen Pore-Balance Facial Sauna Scrub.

You can wash away dead skin cells and debris with a satisfying, spa-like twist by using the Ole Henriksen Pore-Balance Facial Sauna Scrub. It claims to have a "dual-action warming and cooling pore-refining" effect as it frees pores of dirt and oil using glycolic and lactic acids. After cleansing, massage this scrub onto wet skin. Reach for this two to three times a week.

"This is amazing," a Sephora customer exclaims. "I love the scent and the heating action once you start rubbing it in. Very light exfoliation and leaves the skin soft and clean. Only used a few times but already noticing slight reduction in pores. This is the scrub I have been searching for!"

$34 at Sephora

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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.

This article originally appeared on Reviewed: 10 face exfoliators: Buff away dry skin with Paula's Choice, The Ordinary