The Difference Between Physical and Chemical Exfoliators?
Luckily with exfoliation, there’s something for everyone. Physical and chemical exfoliators both exist, and we’re here to break down their differences and purposes.
What are Physical Exfoliators?
Whether in your own shower, or someone else’s, you’ve probably come across an exfoliating scrub, also known as a physical exfoliator. These scrubs are typically made with salts, grains or sugars, and you can truly feel the physical sense of exfoliating in your fingertips. In essence, these formulas work to remove dead cells, which can build up over time. Additional benefits? Using an exfoliating scrub increases the circulation to reveal radiant, glowing, leaving it feeling soft and silky smooth.
What are Chemical Exfoliators?
Some people like physical exfoliators because you can often DIY them from home, and they’re an easy step to tackle in the shower or bath. But, if you have blemishes or acne-prone skin, chemical exfoliators are typically advised instead, as they work to dissolve dead skin cells with the acid in its base formula.
There are two main acids to look for in chemical exfoliants: alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta hydroxy acids (BHAs). AHAs (like glycolic acid, the most common) work to disrupt the bond in dead skin cells, making them easier to scrub away from the skin’s surface. AHAs are water-soluble, while BHAs (ie. salicylic acid) are fat-soluble, meaning they can cut through oily follicles to penetrate more deeply into the skin. With that said, this makes people with oily skin types and acne-prone skin great candidates for trying chemical exfoliators.
Looking for a chemical exfoliant designed for sensitive skin? Say no more – Try Your Favorite Ex Pads, our leave-on exfoliant that works to retexturize and brighten the skin for optimum skin renewal. It’s the ex you’ll want to go back to.
Essential Exfoliating Tips
Your face isn’t the only thing that needs exfoliating. So, how do you exfoliate your body, you might ask? We’ve found a few dermatologist-recommended tips that apply to both the face and body, so you can add exfoliating to your weekly routine, without causing any damage to the skin.
Check Your Current Skincare Products
First of all, if your skin starts peeling or showing signs of irritation at the initial application of exfoliating,, first and foremost check what you’re currently using in your skincare routine. Some medications, and even over-the-counter products, may cause skin sensitivity, which can worsen dry skin, or cause more irritation, when you add exfoliation.
Know Your Skin Type
It’s extremely important to note that skin and skincare are not one-size-fits-all situations. First, identify your skin type (dry, oily, combination, sensitive, acne-prone) and go from there.
If you have dry, sensitive or acne-prone skin, you may prefer just a washcloth and a mild chemical exfoliator, as physical exfoliation may be too irritating for your skin type. If you’re more of the oily, thicker-skinned type, you may opt for stronger chemical treatments or physical exfoliation.
It’s important to note, however, that strong chemical or mechanical exfoliation should be avoided if you have a darker skin tone, or even notice dark spots following burns, bug bites or acne breakouts.
Play It Safe
Once you figure out which exfoliant suits you best, it’s important to be gentle. Add the process into your routine once per week, then gradually increase to 2-3 times per week, as needed. If you’ve chosen to use a scrub or chemical exfoliator, apply the product with minimal pressure, using small, circular motions. Do this for about 30 seconds, and then rinse off with lukewarm, not hot, water.
If you use a pad or sponge, use short, light strokes, and never exfoliate if you have open cuts, wounds, or if your skin is sunburned. Also, avoid exfoliating the face if you’re going in for a facial that same day.
Never Skip Moisturizer
When scraping away at the skin, dryness can be expected. No matter your skin type, you’ll always want to immediately follow the process with moisturizer to avoid drying out the skin. Looking for a luxe moisturizer gives skin deep hydration, without feeling too heavy or greasy? Check out our Xtremely Rich Moisturizer – it doesn’t disappoint.
Find the Right Routine
Everyone’s skin is different, and therefore, everyone’s exfoliating routine should differ, which will depend on your skin type and preferred method. . Generally, the more aggressive the exfoliation, the less often it needs to be done. As mentioned before, start off once a week, then gradually increase to 2-3 times per week – we wouldn’t ever recommend more than that, though!