Not all exfoliators are created equal. While some can do magic for your skin, eating away dead skin cells, unclogging your pores to reveal soft, smooth, baby’s butt skin, others can actually cause more harm than good - creating micro-tears in your skin that can show up as you age.
How can you tell the difference? We’ll break it down for you:
Physical Exfoliators: Apricot scrubs, walnut scrubs, coffee scrubs, products with microbeads, even sugar/salt, a face brush/exfoliating device, or a muslin cloth - are all considered types of physical exfoliators.
As the name suggests, these products physically scrub your skin to remove dirt, product/makeup build-up, and dead skin cells. Physical exfoliators are extremely popular, especially in the form of face washes, but they have a pretty risky side effect. Physical exfoliators are extremely harsh, and can cause microscopic abrasions/tears (Yikes! We know, but it's legit. Google it!) in the skin as they exfoliate, which can show up as scars/spots upon ageing. Furthermore, these aren’t recommended if you have sensitive, or acne-prone skin. In fact, reusable skin devices such as brushes, silicon pads, or even cloth, can be breeding grounds for bacteria, making acne worse.
Chemical Exfoliators: AHA’s, BHA’s, Glycolic Acid, Lactic Acid, These are typically products that contain acids, which chemically exfoliate the skin. Sounds scary? We know, but it really isn’t. Let's break it down.
Chemical exfoliators use acids that break down the glue that holds our skin cells together, removing dry, dead, skin cells, and revealing a fresh layer of glowy skin! Not so scary anymore huh? Chemical exfoliators come in different concentrations, over the counter products, like the ones mentioned above, or stronger chemical peels that are typically applied by a certified dermatologist. The benefits of chemical exfoliators are endless. Not only do they exfoliate your skin gently, i.e. without causing micro-tears on your skin, but they also penetrate deeper into your skin compared to physical exfoliators, giving you much superior, longer-lasting results. These are also more effective for people with acne, pigmentation, scars, or textured skin. You can start with using milder exfoliators made with fruit enzymes, work your way up to AHA’s and BHA’s and then give the stronger, Glycolic acid/Lactic Acid exfoliators a try. Pro tip - Salicylic Acid exfoliators work especially well to combat acne.
TLDR: Chemical exfoliators sound scary AF, but they are way better for your skin when compared to physical exfoliators. So what are you waiting for to switch...Christmas?
Here are some of our FAEV Chemical Exfoliators:
Neutrogena Salycilic Acid Wash
Dr Sheths Gulab and Glycolic Toner
Glamglow Supertoner Exfoliating Acid Solution Toner
The Inkey List PHA Toner
The Ordinary Lactic Acid + HA
Sunday Riley Good Genes
Drunk Elephant TLC Baby Sukari Facial
Drunk Elephant TLC Framboos Night Serum
** This piece pertains to exfoliating the skin only on your face. Not the rest of your body.