ex·​fo·​liant | \ (ˌ)eks-ˈfō-lē-ənt How to pronounce exfoliant (audio) , -ˈfōl-yənt How to pronounce exfoliant (audio) \

Definition of exfoliant

: a mechanical or chemical agent (such as an abrasive skin wash or salicylic acid) that is applied to the skin to remove dead cells from the surface

Examples of exfoliant in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Both experts extol the virtues of moisturizers with exfoliants like urea (not urine, but a similar compound that has been shown to help moisture seep into skin), and salicylic acid, to help prevent heel cracks with regular use. NBC News, "How to care for dry, cracked heels, according to dermatologists," 14 Nov. 2019 That's because alpha-hydroxy acids are a chemical exfoliant that gently loosens up and gets rid of older, damaged skin cells sitting on the surface of skin (in this case the aha used is lactic acid), while vitamin C helps to brighten. Nicole Catanese, Marie Claire, "This Is the Dewy Skin Routine I’ll Be Using All Winter Long," 11 Nov. 2019 Lactic acid is yet another chemical exfoliant, an AHA. Sarah Jacoby, SELF, "8 Causes of Adult Acne—and How to Actually Treat It," 31 Oct. 2019 Alpha hydroxy acids, beta hydroxy acids (salicylic acid) and poly hydroxy acids are exfoliants — substances that remove the upper layer of old, dead skin and stimulate the growth of smooth, evenly pigmented new skin. Mayo Clinic News Network, chicagotribune.com, "Home remedies: Weathering those wrinkles," 25 Oct. 2019 Beyond its antibacterial properties, the gel has salicylic acid, an exfoliant that unclogs pores and acts as an anti-inflammatory on acne-producing oil glands. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "The 5 Best Benefits of Aloe Vera Gel, According to Dermatologists," 8 July 2019 GH Beauty Lab test-winning L'Oréal Revitalift Bright Reveal SPF 30 also contains glycolic acid, a gentle exfoliant, as well as brightening vitamin C. 3. April Franzino, Good Housekeeping, "7 Tips to Get Glowing Skin, According to Skin Care Experts," 1 Aug. 2019 The internet exploded when Jenner announced that her Kylie Skin face scrub relied on walnut as an exfoliant. Jenna Rosenstein, Harper's BAZAAR, "I Used Only Kylie Skin Products For a Whole Week. Here's My Honest Review.," 29 May 2019 Unfortunately, unleashing chaos on people’s lives in Gilead and in Canada is practically an exfoliant for the Waterfords. Elena Nicolaou, refinery29.com, "The Handmaid's Tale Season 3, Episode 7 Recap: A Criminal Record," 5 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'exfoliant.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of exfoliant

1983, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for exfoliant

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The first known use of exfoliant was in 1983

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Last Updated

14 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Exfoliant.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/exfoliant. Accessed 15 December 2019.

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More Definitions for exfoliant


ex·​fo·​liant | \ (ˌ)eks-ˈfō-lē-ənt How to pronounce exfoliant (audio) , -ˈfōl-yənt How to pronounce exfoliant (audio) \

Medical Definition of exfoliant

: a mechanical or chemical agent (as an abrasive skin wash or salicylic acid) that is applied to the skin to remove dead cells from the surface

called also exfoliator

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