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Best Exfoliator For Face: Top 7 Products For Every Skin Type In 2024

Mitchelle Morgan

Updated on - Written by
Medically reviewed by Kathy Shattler, MS, RDN

All articles are produced independently. When you click our links for purchasing products, we earn an affiliate commission. Learn more about how we earn revenue by reading our advertise disclaimer.

Clinique Exfoliating Scrub

Clinique Exfoliating Scrub

  • All skin types.
  • Water-based scrub.
  • Refines skin.

Go-To Exfoliating Swipeys

Go-To Exfoliating Swipeys

  • Sulfate and paraben-free.
  • Oily, acne-prone, aging skin.
  • Simple formula.
Tatcha The Rice Polish Gentle

Tatcha The Rice Polish Gentle

  • Two sizes are available.
  • For mature skin.
  • Easy to pour spout.

Exfoliating your skin is an important step in every skincare routine, as it helps remove dead skin cells and unclog pores, leaving the skin looking smoother and brighter. The market offers a variety of exfoliators to suit different skin types, from sensitive to oily skin. Choosing the best exfoliator for your skin can be a challenge, but with so many options, there’s sure to be one perfect for you.

This review showcases seven of the best face exfoliators for every skin type, including the ones with salicylic acid,[1] a popular peeling ingredient known for its ability to target and remove dead skin cells. Read on to see which gentle exfoliator will offer you a deep clean with a potent formula. 

Best Face Exfoliator For Soft, Velvety Skin On The Market In June. 2024

  • Clinique Exfoliating Scrub – Editor’s Choice
  • Go-To Exfoliating Swipeys – Best To-Go Exfoliating Product
  • Tatcha The Rice Polish Gentle – Best Exfoliator for Mature Skin
  • Clinique For Men Face Scrub – Best Exfoliating Product For Men
  • Kate Somerville Exfolikate Intensive Exfoliating Treatment – Best Exfoliator Product With Fruit Enzymes
  • Drunk Elephant T.L.C Sukari Babyfacial – Best Exfoliator For Skin Soothing
  • Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant – Best Lightweight Exfoliator

Best Exfoliator For Face: 7 Choices For Soft, Velvety Skin 2024

Clinique Exfoliating Scrub

For people with robust and oily skin, the Clinique Exfoliating Scrub Gommage Tonique is a water-based and skin-cleansing scrub. This scrub claims to level out wrinkles, improve skin tone, remove dead skin cells, and de-flake and polish skin.

  • Gently removes dead skin cells.
  • Enhances skin texture and radiance.
  • Restores youthful complexion.
  • Prevents unwanted hair ingrowth.
  • The original formula changed.

This product has multiple ingredients, including silica, salicylic acid, and glycerin.[2] Silica may help absorb excess oil and strengthen the natural skin barrier.

Salicylic acid is a type of beta-hydroxy acid that acts as a keratolytic. A keratolytic agent[3] helps break down and remove dead skin cells that can clog pores and cause acne.

The product’s fine granules and paste-like consistency make it easy to apply and work into the skin, leaving it feeling hydrated and refreshed. Additionally, the non-greasy formula ensures that the skin does not feel greasy or oily after use.

Glycerin is a type of humectant, a substance that helps retain moisture. When applied to the skin, glycerin helps hydrate and smooth the skin by drawing water from the air and into the skin.

Consumers have reported that this exfoliant provides thorough skin exfoliation while being gentle and non-irritating, making it the best exfoliator for sensitive skin. The product’s simple and fast application process makes it a convenient addition to any skincare routine.

This product, which costs $26.00, is suitable for people with combination-oily, dry combo, oily, and highly dry-to-dry skin types, meaning it is also suitable for those with acne-prone skin.

Go-To Exfoliating Swipeys

Go-To Exfoliating Swipeys are single-use exfoliating pads that give the skin a deep wash. The pads efficiently exfoliate dead skin cells, improve skin texture, and intensely hydrate the skin because they are infused with a natural solution made of lactic acid[4] and essential oils.

  • Thorough skin exfoliation.
  • Hydrating, moisturizing ingredients.
  • Gentle formula, suitable for all.
  • Fast, easy application.
  • Chemical-free, pregnancy-safe.
  • Expensive.
  • Single-use pad.

This product offers a gentle exfoliation solution for all skin types, including sensitive skin. Its all-natural formula is a natural solution made of water, lactic acid,[4] skin-soothing aloe vera,[5] and essential oils like mandarin and lemon oil.

These essential oils are high in antioxidants and anti-inflammatories,[6] which help protect the skin from environmental stressors and premature aging. Mandarin oil may help the skin with brightening and revitalizing properties, helping to even out skin tone and reduce the appearance of dark spots. Lemon oil can help reduce oxidative stress.[7] Both oils can also help to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

It may be pricey, selling for $35.00 with 50 cleansing pads, but its potency and convenience make it worth the investment. These swipes make it easy to enhance the general health of your skin, with their Australian-made, sulfate- and paraben-free formula being safe for use during pregnancy and environmentally friendly.

It is also important to remember that AHAs can increase the skin’s sensitivity to the sun. Hence, taking the extra step of wearing sunscreen daily is crucial.

Tatcha The Rich Polish Gentle

As one of the famous products praised by the former dutchess and actress Megan Markle, Tatcha the Gentle is just as grand. With its botanical ingredients, this foaming enzyme powder is the best exfoliator for mature skin with promises to help aging skin look and feel younger.

  • Effortless application.
  • Gently exfoliates the skin.
  • Promotes skin cell turnover.
  • It is available in two sizes.
  • Expensive.

The product promises to provide gentle exfoliation, leaving skin feeling baby-soft and supple. The formula is pH-neutral and made with amino acids, effectively cleaning skin without stripping essential moisture. The Rice Polish: Gentle is ideal for dry to mature skin with dullness, uneven texture, and clogged pores.

Tatcha, The Gentle Meghan Markle Exfoliator, is a water-activated exfoliant with Japanese rice bran[8] and the antioxidant licorice root extract.[9] Rice bran is a nourishing ingredient that gently exfoliates, softens, and smooths the skin. Papaya enzymes[10] remove dead skin cells leaving a brighter complexion thanks to their antioxidant nature.

Wet your hands and face, and pour half a teaspoon of powder into your hands. Rub together to create a creamy foam, then massage gently onto your face for 15 seconds, avoiding the eye area. Rinse with warm water. The brand suggests using The Rice Polish with The Camellia Cleansing Oil and The Dewy Skin Cream for the best results in your daily skincare routine.

Overall, Tatcha The Gentle Meghan Markle Exfoliator is a highly rated product with a 4.8-star rating and 309 reviews. The product is available in full size for $68 or mini size for $22 and can be purchased with one-time or auto-delivery options.

Clinique For Men Face Scrub

Gentlemen also need to take care of their skins and women, and this product is one of the male gender’s favorites. As the best exfoliator for men’s faces, it scrubs, de-flakes, and clears out even the closest shaves, leaving your skin smooth to the touch and velvety to the eye.

  • Brightens skin.
  • Softer skin.
  • Unclogs pores.
  • Free shipping and return policy.
  • Hard to squeeze.
  • Wasteful packaging.

The Clinique For Men Face Scrub Exfoliating Visage is an intensive pore exfoliating treatment that promises to brighten and revive dull skin. The refined, non-abrasive grains work to de-flake, lift beard hairs, and reduce ingrown hairs, giving you the closest shave yet. This scrub is perfect for those looking to unclog pores, achieve brighter skin, and enjoy a smoother complexion.

Ingredients like silica[11] for collagen synthesis, salicylic acid for hydration, and menthol[12] for faster wound healing work together to provide an effective scrub. Thus they brighten and revitalize the skin. They leave a refreshing scent and sensation.

However, it’s important to note that the packaging was criticized in the customer feedback section for being difficult to use and wasteful. One customer noted that it was nearly impossible to squeeze out after just a few uses. 

Despite this, the product received positive reviews from those who tried it, especially those who received it in a Clinique for Men Moisture Surge gift set. One customer was impressed with the creamy texture and exfoliating beads, finding that the size of the beads was perfect for gentle but effective exfoliation without causing excess irritation. They praised the base of the scrub for being comforting without being greasy.

Kate Somerville Exfoliator Intensive Exfoliating Treatment

Kate Somerville’s Exfoliator Intensive Exfoliating Treatment is a clinically inspired face scrub that promises to reveal smoother, brighter, healthier-looking skin in just two minutes.

  • Improves skin texture.
  • Refines pores.
  • Softens fine lines.
  • Has both chemical and physical exfoliators.
  • Supported by cosmetic and clinical research.
  • Quite pricey.
  • Triggers high skin sensitivity.

The ingredients work together to remove surface dullness and soften wrinkles and smile lines. They boost natural cell turnover, which may lead to a brighter complexion and smoother skin. The formula is based on a combination of physical and chemical exfoliation ingredients, including AHAs,[13] beta hydroxy acid[14] or BHAs, collagen-building[15] silica, pain-relieving[16] pineapple enzymes, anti-inflammatory pumpkin enzymes,[17] antioxidant cinnamon and rosewood extracts,[18] vitamin E, honey, and soothing aloe vera.[19]

One of the product’s standout features is its clinical efficacy, as indicated in the cosmetic and clinical research posted on the brand’s website. This independent clinical study showed that about 94% of users reported improvements in skin texture, 97% showed improvements in pore appearance, and 100% saw improvements in fine lines, crow’s feet, and wrinkles. The facial scrub is also suitable for acne-prone skin.

Apply a thin, even product layer to a clean, wet face, massage for 30 seconds, and leave on for up to two minutes. Use once or twice a week and follow with a night cream.

The product is pricier at $98 for a two-fluid-ounce supply, but the results speak for themselves. Start slowly and allow your skin to adjust to mitigate any skin concerns.

Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial

Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial™ is a facial for the modern woman who wants to enjoy spa-quality pampering from the comfort of her own home.

  • Gently exfoliates and revitalizes.
  • Illuminates skin’s radiance.
  • Nurtures and hydrates.
  • Calms and pampers.
  • Cleanses and rejuvenates your skin.
  • It may not be suitable for sensitive skin.
  • Higher price point.

This next-generation mask packs a powerful punch of 25% AHA/2% BHA, comprised of tartaric, citric, salicylic, glycolic, and lactic acids, that reveals a brighter and smoother complexion by effectively exfoliating and removing dead skin cells

With a pH of 3.5 and a combination of acids, Babyfacial is precisely developed to deliver maximum effectiveness without the dreaded redness and skin sensitivity. This formula has you covered with ingredients like chickpea flour to balance and brighten, matcha, milk thistle,[20] and apple extracts to protect and soothe. Pumpkin ferment extract to gently exfoliate, and UV-protective cactus extract[21] to calm, protect, and lessen skin redness.

Hydrating virgin marula oil,[22] antioxidant niacinamide,[23] and sodium hyaluronate crosspolymer[24] help your skin to look and feel good.

This facial scrub is cruelty-free and 100% free of essential oils, silicones, and fragrances. It’s available in two sizes — a midi for $28 and a full size for $80—so whether you’re looking for a quick pick-me-up or a full spa day, Babyfacial™ has got you covered. Apply an even layer to clean, dry skin and leave on for 20 minutes, followed by a warm-water rinse for radiant, baby-soft skin.

Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant

For those looking to reduce the appearance of fine lines, dullness, and aging symptoms, the Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant is an efficient option. You can use it for both face and body, and the brand has quite an overwhelmingly positive online reputation.

  • Unclogs and cleans pores.
  • Smoothes wrinkles.
  • Absorbs quickly.
  • Non-irritating formula.
  • Can use it twice a day.
  • It may not work for everyone.
  • It’s pretty pricey.

The Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant is a leave-on formula that exfoliates dead skin cells, unclogs pores, and smooths fine lines and wrinkles. This product is clinically proven to be gentle on the skin and suitable for daily use on all skin types.

The active ingredients, salicylic acid, and green tea, work together to clear and minimize enlarged pores, shed built-up layers of skin, reduce fine lines, and soothe irritation. Salicylic acid helps with skin peeling[25] and the shedding of built-up layers of skin.

Green tea[26] is a potent antioxidant ingredient with anti-aging properties that helps improve the appearance of sun damage, providing a more youthful, radiant appearance. Additionally, green tea has soothing properties and can help alleviate skin irritation.

The lightweight and fluid texture absorbs quickly into the skin, and the product can be used up to twice daily after cleansing and toning. The company claims that this exfoliant’s optimal pH range of 3.2-3.8 helps improve the skin’s barrier in just four weeks.

The 4oz bottle costs $34, and the brand offers a 100% money-back guarantee, with no animal testing involved in the product’s development.

What Is An Exfoliator?

An exfoliant is a cosmetic product that clears dead skin cells and unclogs pores, making the skin smoother, brighter, and clearer. Exfoliators come in various forms, including scrubs, brushes, gels, and acids.

Physical exfoliators, such as scrubs, use granules or beads to slough off dead skin cells. Chemical exfoliators, like acids, use ingredients like alpha-hydroxy acids, i.e., AHAs, and beta-hydroxy acids, i.e., BHAs, to dissolve dead skin cells and promote fresh skin cells.

Exfoliation should be part of a regular skincare routine. Still, it’s essential to use an exfoliator suitable for your skin type and avoid over-exfoliation, which can cause irritation, redness, and sensitivity.

How To Choose The Best Face Exfoliator?

When choosing the best face exfoliator, there are several factors to consider to make sure you pick the right one for your skin type. Here are some things to keep in mind:

Skin Type

Different skin types will require different types of exfoliation. For example, people with dry skin should look for exfoliators that contain hydration-boosting ingredients such as shea butter, colloidal oatmeal, or green tea. Those with combination skin may benefit from exfoliators that contain both physical and chemical exfoliants.

Lemon peel, glycolic, and mandelic acids are all excellent options for those with oily skin types. People with sensitive skin should opt for gentle exfoliators best for sensitive skin, such as mandelic or lactic acids.

Physical vs. Chemical Exfoliants

Physical exfoliants like polished exfoliating sugar scrubs use physical abrasives to remove dead skin cells. In contrast, chemical exfoliants like glycolic and mandelic acids use chemicals to break down the bonds that hold dead skin cells to the skin’s surface. Chemical exfoliants are generally more gentle than physical ones and can be used for acne-prone skin.

Ingredients

It’s essential to look for face exfoliators containing ingredients that benefit your skin type. For example, glycolic acid can help improve the appearance of fine lines, while green tea can help reduce redness and inflammation. Shea butter is a good choice for dry skin, providing intense hydration.

Budget

While some face exfoliators can be expensive, many affordable options are also available. Compare prices and read reviews to determine which exfoliators offer the best value for money.

By taking the time to consider these factors, you can choose the best face exfoliator for your skin type, which will help you achieve smoother, more radiant skin.

Final Thought

Many face exfoliators are available today, and choosing the best one for your skin can be daunting. It’s important to remember the type of skin you have, any specific skin concerns you might have, and the best ingredients for those issues. It’s also advisable to seek expert advice from a qualified dermatologist before using any of these exfoliating products, especially if you have sensitive skin.

When purchasing any of these products, be sure to buy the best exfoliator for the face from a trusted retail drugstore or the official website. Follow the instructions carefully to avoid potential side effects such as chemical burns. Remember, gentle exfoliation is vital to achieving healthy, hydrated, and glowing skin.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should I exfoliate my face?

It is recommended to exfoliate your face one to two times a week, depending on skin type and sensitivity. Over-exfoliating can lead to irritation and damage to the skin, so it is essential to follow a gentle routine and listen to your skin’s needs. Consult a dermatologist for personalized advice.

What do dermatologists recommend for exfoliating?

Dermatologists generally recommend exfoliating a maximum of twice a week, per individual user’s skin type and tolerance. They suggest using a gentle exfoliant, avoiding over-exfoliation, and choosing an exfoliant appropriate for your skin, a chemical exfoliant for oily skin, or a physical exfoliant for dry skin.

What is the most effective exfoliator?

The most effective exfoliator depends on an individual’s skin type, concerns, and personal preferences. Some popular and effective options include
– Chemical exfoliators: AHAs — glycolic and lactic acid and BHAs — salicylic acid.
– Physical exfoliators: Scrubs with granules or microbeads.
– Enzymatic exfoliators: Products with papaya or pineapple enzymes.

Is it better to exfoliate my face with scrubs or acids?

It depends on your individual skin type and concerns. Physical scrubs are best for those with rough, dry skin, while chemical exfoliants like AHAs and BHAs are suitable for those with oily or acne-prone skin. Consulting a dermatologist for personalized recommendations is advised.

What are the different types of exfoliating ingredients for the face?

There are two main types of exfoliating ingredients for the face: physical exfoliants, such as scrubs or brushes, and chemical exfoliants, such as AHAs or BHAs.

What happens to your face if you don’t exfoliate it?

Insufficient exfoliation is one of the leading causes of pimples and zits, two of the most prevalent acne symptoms. Without routine exfoliation, “undergrowth” can also form. This contains trapped dirt, oil, and dead skin cells, which can result in ingrown follicles.

How can you tell whether your skin needs to be exfoliated?

The five telltale signs you need to exfoliate are dull skin, clogged pores, scaly patches, and scars from previous burns.

Who shouldn’t exfoliate their skin?

If exfoliation irritates you, DON’T do it. Exfoliating should be stopped immediately if it makes your skin feel sensitive, stings, turns red, or becomes flaky. After giving your skin a week to rest, try exfoliating once more. However, do your homework to ensure you use the right products and techniques for your skin type.


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Health Canal avoids using tertiary references. We have strict sourcing guidelines and rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic researches from medical associations and institutions. To ensure the accuracy of articles in Health Canal, you can read more about the editorial process here

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Mitchelle Morgan

Medically reviewed by:

Kathy Shattler

Mitchelle Morgan is a health and wellness writer with over 10 years of experience. She holds a Master's in Communication. Her mission is to provide readers with information that helps them live a better lifestyle. All her work is backed by scientific evidence to ensure readers get valuable and actionable content.

Medically reviewed by:

Kathy Shattler

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National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

Database From National Institute Of Health

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Lippincott Journals

Subsidiaries of Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

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National Institute on Aging

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Translational Research

The Journal of Laboratory and Clinical Medicine

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Cell

An All-science Publisher

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Journal of Translational Medicine

BioMed Central

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Federal Trade Commission

Protecting America's Consumers

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National Human Genome Research Institute

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Food Production, Processing and Nutrition

BioMed Central

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BMC Gastroenterology

BioMed Central

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ACS Publications

A Division of The American Chemical Society

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Annual Reviews

Independent, Non-profit Academic Publishing Company

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PubChem

National Center for Biotechnology Information

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PLOS Journals

Nonprofit Publisher of Open-access Journals

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Thieme E-books & E-Journals

Peer-reviewed & Open Access Journal

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European Journal of Agriculture and Food Sciences

Peer-reviewed International Journal Publishes

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Royal Society of Chemistry Publishing Home

Chemical Science Journals, Books and Database

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Frontiers

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German Scholarly Publishing House

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Open Access Research Journals & Papers

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Oilseeds and Fats, Crops and Lipids

EDP Sciences

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Cambridge Core

Cambridge University Press

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FoodData Central

U.S. Department Of Agriculture

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Journal of the American Heart Association

Peer-reviewed Open Access Scientific Journal

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National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health

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Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

Organization of Food and Nutrition Professionals

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Sage Journals

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National Institute of Drug Abuse

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The ClinMed International Library

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The Royal Society Publishing

United Kingdom's National Academy of Sciences

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APA PsycNet

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Peer-reviewed And Refereed Journal

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Asian Journal of Pharmaceutical Research and Development

Peer-reviewed Bimonthly Journal

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British Pharmacological Society

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American Psychological Association

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National Institute of Mental Health

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MDPI

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Bulletin of the National Research Centre

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The New England Journal of Medicine

Massachusetts Medical Society

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The BMJ

Weekly Peer-reviewed Medical Trade Journal

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The British Psychological Society

The British Psychological Society is a charity registered in England

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National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

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PubMed

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Google Scholar

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American Heart Association

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Oxford Academic Journals

Oxford University Press

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Taylor & Francis Online

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WHO

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American Academy of Neurology Journal
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