exfoliate

verb
ex·​fo·​li·​ate | \ (ˌ)eks-ˈfō-lē-ˌāt How to pronounce exfoliate (audio) \
exfoliated; exfoliating

Definition of exfoliate

transitive verb

1 : to cast off in scales, laminae, or splinters
2 : to remove the surface of in scales or laminae
3 : to spread or extend by or as if by opening out leaves

intransitive verb

1 : to split into or give off scales, laminae, or body cells
2 : to come off in thin layers or scales
3 : to grow by or as if by producing or unfolding leaves

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from exfoliate

exfoliation \ (ˌ)eks-​ˌfō-​lē-​ˈā-​shən How to pronounce exfoliation (audio) \ noun
exfoliative \ eks-​ˈfō-​lē-​ˌā-​tiv How to pronounce exfoliative (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms for exfoliate

Synonyms

molt, shed, slip, slough (also sluff)

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of exfoliate in a Sentence

a soap that promises to help me exfoliate all that dry, flaky skin I've apparently been carrying around

Recent Examples on the Web

These ingredients help to exfoliate and improve skin tone, which leads to a radiant complexion. Nikhita Mahtani, CNN Underscored, "10 top-rated sheet masks you can buy on Amazon right now," 11 Sep. 2019 Each one is covered in lemon peel and licorice root extracts as well as lactic and glycolic acids for a gentle, exfoliating peel. Shannon Barbour, The Cut, "The 10 Best Products From Dermstore’s Secret Sale," 13 Apr. 2018 Water can exfoliate and clean the auric field, which can eliminate wounds, anger, and anxieties. Lisa Stardust, Teen Vogue, "How to Practice Glamour Magic," 20 Aug. 2019 Beauty and fashion: Boscia Exfoliating Peel Gel ($23.80, originally $34; amazon.com) Made with turmeric root, jojoba oil and lavender oil, this exfoliating peel promises to leave your complexion bright and smooth. Noelle Ike, Hanna Williams And Jacob Krol, CNN Underscored, "Prime Day 2019: These deals are still live," 17 July 2019 When choosing yours, there are a few key ingredients to look for: Salicylic or glycolic acid: These ingredients help exfoliate the skin. Jenn Sinrich, SELF, "5 Signs You're Dealing with Hormonal Acne—and How to Treat It," 2 July 2019 Ingredients to look out for: Benzoyl peroxide to kill acne-causing bacteria, salicylic acid to help exfoliate and unclog pores, and retinoids to help control cell turnover, which allows clogged cells to shed and prevents them from clogging. Marci Robin, Good Housekeeping, "10 Tried-and-True Ways to Get Rid of Pimples Fast," 14 June 2019 Salicylic acid is a beta-hydroxy acid (BHA) that works by dissolving excess oil and gently exfoliating away dead skin cells. Jessica Cruel, SELF, "12 Acne Treatments That Really Work, According to Dermatologists," 8 Aug. 2019 The brand’s adored Cranberry Gommage Exfoliant ($48; nordstrom.com) is great for decongesting clogged pores and exfoliating away dead skin. Braelyn Wood, Health.com, "These All-Natural Toner Pads Are My One-Step Skincare Routine After Every Workout," 19 July 2019

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

See More

First Known Use of exfoliate

1612, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for exfoliate

Late Latin exfoliatus, past participle of exfoliare to strip of leaves, from Latin ex- + folium leaf — more at blade

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about exfoliate

Statistics for exfoliate

Last Updated

22 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for exfoliate

The first known use of exfoliate was in 1612

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for exfoliate

exfoliate

verb
ex·​fo·​li·​ate | \ -ˈfō-lē-ˌāt How to pronounce exfoliate (audio) \
exfoliated; exfoliating

Medical Definition of exfoliate

transitive verb

1 : to cast off in scales or laminae
2 : to remove the surface of in scales or laminae
3 : to shed (teeth) by exfoliation

intransitive verb

1 : to split into or give off scales, laminae, or body cells
2 : to come off in thin layers or scales : scale off

More from Merriam-Webster on exfoliate

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with exfoliate

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for exfoliate

Britannica English: Translation of exfoliate for Arabic Speakers

Comments on exfoliate

What made you want to look up exfoliate? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

a bell tower

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Where in the World? A Quiz

  • peter bruegel tower of babel painting
  • What language does pajama come from?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!