How To Exfoliate Your Legs (The Best Way To Do)

Exfoliation is the process of removing dead skin cells from your face and body and it’s key to having smooth, glowy, and healthy-looking skin. 

While facial skin is more delicate and needs extra attention, exfoliating your legs is a much easier process, and you can do it by using chemical or physical exfoliators.

In this article, how to exfoliate your legs (with both methods), and also share my favorite body exfoliating products. 

how to exfoliate your legs

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Physical/Manual Exfoliation

Physical exfoliation involves buffing away dead skin cells mechanically.

It can be harsh or gentle, depending on the tools or scrubbing particles you are using and how hard you press. 

Some tools and particles used for physical exfoliation are brushes, sponges, loofah, nut kernels, gritty paste, crushed coffee beans, sugar and salt granules, and even konjac sponges. 

Physical exfoliation isn’t the recommended option for facial skin as this area is more delicate and can get damaged easily, however:

It is a great option for the body because it helps reveal ingrown hairs from under the superficial layer of dead skin cells so that they can be removed afterward.

The skin on the body is also thicker, tougher, and more resistant. 

Here are my favorite physical exfoliation tools for legs:


Body brushes are excellent for brushing away dead skin cells and are best used on dry skin before you go in the shower. 

Brush the leg from groin to ankle using circular motions and exert enough pressure so that you can feel it, but not so much that it hurts, scratches, and leaves your skin red. 

Also, note that I personally am against using brushes on the face because I find them too abrasive, so stick to using my recommendation only on the body. 

Here are my choices:


These are amazing for shower use, and I find them especially useful for scrubbing away layers of dead skin cells in the groin area.

Most people who shave know the groin area is a hot spot for ingrown hairs, and by removing a few layers of dead skin cells, you will help the hair protrude from underneath so that you can remove it afterward. 

Also, be careful when using these because they can be quite harsh if you put too much pressure.

Use them only in the opposite direction from the hair growth instead of scrubbing vigorously back and forth. 

Here are the sponges I like:


Every skincare lover on the Internet has relentlessly demonized scrubs; however, the truth is that these are actually quite good for the back, arms, groin, legs, and soles of the feet.

They work best on wet skin. However, avoid using them on your back or bum if you have active acne, as they can pop them and cause the bacteria to spread. 

I particularly like the St. Ives Apricot Scrub for my legs because this product is originally intended for the face (as crazy as that sounds), so it’s actually gentler than traditional body scrubs that contain harsher granules. 

Chemical Exfoliation

Chemical Body Peel

Chemical exfoliation involves applying a product containing hydroxy acids or enzymes to dissolve the bonds that hold dead skin cells together and encourage them to shed naturally. 

This is a gentler form of exfoliation that is appropriate and preferred for facial use, but it can also be used on the legs because it helps lighten dark spots caused by pimples, ingrown hairs, etc.

Chemical exfoliation can also contribute to smoother and glowier legs with smaller chances of irritation due to the skin’s resilience in that area. 

Here are some chemical exfoliating products I use on my legs:

Exfoliating wash

If you’ve been on my blog before, you may know I advise against using cleansers containing exfoliating acids on the face.

This is because exfoliating acids work much better in leave-on products and can potentially cause irritation on the delicate facial skin. 

However, I like pairing up an exfoliating wash with a loofah or a sponge for extra exfoliation on my legs. Here are the washes I use:

CeraVe – SA Cleanser

I love CeraVe as a brand, but this isn’t a cleanser I would use on my face. I already have my trusted leave-on exfoliants that I use to prevent breakouts. Therefore, a salicylic acid cleanser will be too much for my skin. 

Keep that in mind if you want to try it out for yourself. 

On the other hand, this is a great body wash and works excellent paired with a loofah for a more thorough exfoliation. 

CeraVe also has a salicylic acid body wash from the same range, which I haven’t tried yet, but I will leave you a link so you can check it out if you want to. 


I originally bought this for facial use back while I was testing my theory that exfoliating cleansers don’t really work for the skin, but I ended up using it on my legs and body, and I liked it a lot. 

It contains alpha, beta, and polyhydroxy acids that help exfoliate and smoothen the skin.

I won’t be purchasing it again just because I have too many products I am currently using, but I’m putting it on this list because it’s not a bad product at all, and it adds variety. 

Exfoliating moisturizers/treatments

On nights when I exfoliate my legs, I like to be thorough and follow up with an exfoliating moisturizer or body treatment after using either a chemical or physical exfoliant in the shower. 

Here are a few products I rotate around:

Paula’s Choice Weightless Body Treatment 2% BHA

This is a good product I occasionally use on my body acne, including my chest, back, arms, bum, and legs.

CeraVe SA Cream

This is the moisturizer I use to follow up on my leg exfoliation after using the SA cleanser mentioned above. They pair well together and aren’t too drying for the skin. 

The cream is thick, and it contains skin-replenishing ceramides and urea that help moisturize the skin while also thinning the layer of dead skin cells. 

Exfoliating pads

I am not a fan of using exfoliating pads on the face because I find them a bit harsh for my sensitive skin. However, I occasionally enjoy using them on my legs, especially glycolic pads. 

Glycolic acid hydrates the skin and makes it incredibly soft and glowy. Additionally, it helps remove dark spots and discoloration while bringing out a more even skin tone. 

I also like to use glycolic acid pads under my arms because it helps lighten the area and minimize body odor. 

Here are two affordable packets I like:

Related Questions:

How Often Should You Exfoliate Your Legs?

Exfoliating your legs twice to three times a week is more than enough to make the skin look smooth and glowy. 

Should You Exfoliate Your Legs Before or After Shaving?

Always exfoliate your legs before shaving, as this will help soften the skin and cause fewer irritations while shaving. 

How To Exfoliate Your Legs With Ingrown Hairs

Physical exfoliation is a better alternative for ingrown hairs, and there are plenty of tools you can use to do this. 

When exfoliating legs with ingrown hairs, make sure to exfoliate against the hair growth instead of doing a back and forth motion. 

Suggested reading: How To Get Rid of Strawberry Legs.

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