Physical Vs Chemical Exfoliation – To Scrub or Not to Scrub?

From state-of-the-art cleansing brushes and sponges to abrasive particles of all shapes and sizes – there is no shortage of products to exfoliate or remove skin cells. Exfoliating has become and essential step in our skincare routines. It is supposed to prevent breakouts and to maintain a smooth complexion.

However what are the benefits of using physical or chemical exfoliation?

Are you using the right product for your skin type?


What Is Physical Exfoliation?

Physical exfoliation involves using tools or abrasive substances to physically scrub away the outermost layer of the skin. You can use motorised dermabrasion  brushes, rough sponges or scrubs with rough particles to achieve this.

Pros and Cons

This is an easy way to get rid of dead skin cells and temporarily minimise the appearance of large pores and blackheads. However, this is not the most gentle way to exfoliate. Excessive abrasion can result in irritated skin. Also abrasive particles may cause grazes on skin that can become infected with bacteria.

For those with sensitive skin, use gentle enzyme based or lactic acid cleansers and masks. Avoid any products with nutshells or fruit pits that can irritate skin.

What Is Chemical Exfoliation?

Most chemical exfoliants can be classified as two types: AHA, or alpha-hydroxy acids, and BHA, beta-hydroxy acids. The most popular AHA’s are glycolic acid and lactic acid while BHA usually refers to salicylic acid. These acids help burn away dead skin cells. Lactic acid found in Buttermilk Cleanser, is less likely to burn than glycolic acid and is therefore safer to use.

Pros and Cons

Since chemical exfoliants do not involve rubbing the skin, they they do not cause grazes and cuts like physical exfoliants. Hydroxy acids, such as salicylic and glycolic acids, have the ability to penetrate the skin for deeper exfoliation but also have the potential to burn skin and cause scaring.

Enzymatic exfoliators are very effect effective, but they are not as irritating as hydroxy acids, so they’re better for sensitive skin.

What Is Enzyme Exfoliation?

Enzymatic peels, such as bromelain and papain from pineapple and papaya, also help breakdown dead skin cells without damaging the living cells. They do this by dissolving the dead protein called Keratin. This causes the dead cells to wash off, leaving skin looking healthy, glowing and clear.

Enzyme exfoliants are from fruit, they dissolve dead skin cells by breaking down the dead protein called Keratin in these cells. Active Face Cleanse Gel and Detox Face Mask use fruit enzymes to clear dead skin cells and brighten complexion.