Close-up of body scrub on an Asian woman’s back.

Is your sensitive skin starting to look dull and feel rough? While one’s instinct may be to shy away from any kind of friction, occasional exfoliation can help revive your skin’s glow. If you’re an easily irritated gal (skin-type-wise), here’s a guide on how to use body scrub safely and effectively.

Can You Use Body Scrub on Sensitive Skin?

The short answer is yes. You can use body scrub on your – just not on your face (you’ll need a facial scrub or chemical exfoliant for that). 

Exfoliating your body using a gentle product formulated for your skin type can deliver a host of benefits. These include improving cell turnover, smoothing and brightening skin, and unclogging pores. You can still enjoy these benefits even if you’re prone to irritation if you follow the steps below.

How to Use Body Scrub on Sensitive Skin

Since skin thickness varies on different parts of the body, certain areas are more susceptible to irritation than others. Sensitive skin on your face, for example, may react easily to harsh ingredients, especially if you have a . On the other hand, your palms and the soles of your feet have and can withstand – or may even need – more abrasive scrubs.

Meanwhile, you can have naturally sensitive skin on your arms, legs, chest, or back. This means the skin is more reactive toward certain chemicals, fabrics, or the weather. Follow these steps on how to use body scrub to exfoliate sensitive skin on your body. And when in doubt, talk to your dermatologist before adding this step to your body care routine.

Step 1: Choose Your Scrub

Use a product formulated for sensitive skin, which means it shouldn’t have any harsh ingredients or known irritants. Avoid scrubs that contain nutshells or stone particles regardless of your skin type, since these can cause microtears in the skin.

Try Dove Gentle Exfoliating Body Wash, which uses gentle exfoliating beads and NutriumMoisture to cleanse, revitalize, and renew the skin. If you enjoy the tactile satisfaction of a bar, use Dove Bar Gentle Exfoliating. It contains ¼ moisturizing cream, which softens and moisturizes your sensitive skin.

Step 2: Prep Your Skin Before Exfoliating

Prep your skin before exfoliating so you won’t have to scrub too vigorously. When using body scrub on sensitive skin, keeping the process short and sweet is crucial. You can moisten your skin with warm water using a soft washcloth or exfoliate in the shower after cleansing. Either way, the area should be free of dirt and debris.

Step 3: Gently Massage the Scrub Onto Your Skin

Take a generous amount of body scrub and start massaging it on your arms or legs. Use small, circular motions and gentle strokes.

and limit the process to no more than 30 seconds per area, notes the American Academy of Dermatology. If your skin starts to sting or turns red, stop immediately. Apply the same principle when using a bar or body wash with microbeads. Wait about a week before exfoliating again to see how your skin reacts.

Step 4: Rinse and Pat Dry

Rinse your skin with cold or lukewarm water, making sure to get rid of all the scrub particles. Avoid using hot water even on a chilly day, as it can make your skin dry and, therefore, more sensitive. Use a soft towel to remove excess water – do not rub.

Step 5: Moisturize Immediately

Finally, while your skin is still damp, slather on a generous amount of , focusing on the just-exfoliated areas. Doing this will make your skin feel soft and smooth while sealing moisture to keep it from drying. Moisturize throughout the day as needed, especially if you’re staying in an air-conditioned room.

Talk to your dermatologist before exfoliating your sensitive skin. They may recommend gentle products or treatments that suit your skin type and offer more tips on how to use body scrub safely. And remember, preventing irritation trumps achieving a glow-up any day.