Physical vs. Chemical Exfoliation

Physical vs. Chemical Exfoliation

As more and more skincare products come onto the market it sometimes gets a little bit confusing, what to use on my skin?  So when it comes to exfoliation do I go physical or chemical?

What is the difference?

Physical Exfoliation - any abrasive material or substance that physically removes cells from the skin. Corn cob meal, silica, olive seeds, ground almonds, and other natural grains are all types of physical/mechanical exfoliation.

How to use: Rub the product in a circular motion for 30 seconds and then rinse off with lukewarm - never hot - water. Two of my favorites are: AHAVA Facial Mud Exfoliator - A gentle face scrub formulated with a blend of Dead Sea mineral mud and tiny granules. Leaves skin smooth, extra clean, and evenly toned. Suitable for all skin types. Dermalogica Skin Prep Scrub - A skin-polishing scrub with natural Corn Cob Meal that leaves skin with a smooth, healthy complexion. Recommended for oilier skins.

Chemical Exfoliation - Chemical exfoliation includes;

  1. Enzyme (papain), which eats away at dead skin cells, revealing a healthier skin underneath.
  2. Alpha Hydroxy Acid(AHA) - most commonly used Glycolic which can reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles or Lactic that has the ability to stimulate hydration in the skin.
  3. Beta Hydroxy Acid(BHA) - Salicylic Acid helps with facial & body acne.

Chemical exfoliation is designed to either dissolve or loosen the bonds holding dead cells together from the skins surface.

I just love: Alpha-H Gentle Daily Exfoliant - A zero-abrasion micro-exfoliating treatment, which effortlessly lifts away dead, dull and tired skin cells to unveil younger looking skin each morning. Water-activated fruit enzymes derived from Green Papaya and Pineapple will ensure a smooth canvas each and every day. Suitable for all skin types.

Skinstitut Enzymatic Micro Peel - Gently soothes, hydrates and micro exfoliates dry, flaking and sensitised skins. It provides instant exfoliation and leaves the skin feeling fresh and hydrated. Suitable for all skin types especially the most sensitive skins such as rosacea, eczema and psoriasis. Take your exfoliation one step further with a combination of physical scrub and AHA or BHA.

My ultimate favourites are: ASAP Daily Exfoliating Facial Scrub  - A gentle scrub combined with Glycolic to remove dead skin cells, dramatically improving skin appearance and texture. Smooth and round exfoliating beads assist in stimulating skin renewal without irritating or damaging the skin. Ideal for acne and congested skins to assist with unclogging pores.

Alpha-H Micro Cleanse - Known as "Microdermabrasion in a Tube", this invigorating exfoliant combines Glycolic with micro beads to effectively clear the skin, pores and follicles of dead cells, blackheads and debris whilst smoothing out lines and wrinkles. Signs of stress and fatigue are banished by cooling Cucumber and refreshing Mint. Reveals a new freshness to your skin. For normal, dry, oily and combination skin.

I recommend exfoliating just once or twice a week (depending on skin type) to get rid of any stubborn dead skin cells and prevent blocked pores that can lead to milia and blackheads. Exfoliation can also improve the natural cell turnover. As we age this natural cycle may increase from 28 days to 40 days or more, giving us a dull complexion. Although enhancing the cell turnover rate seems like a good practice, caution should be taken to not over exfoliate the skin.  Excessiveness can disturb our skin’s natural protective barrier.

Follow the link to find the exfoliate best for you or send me an email.