Beauty 101: Chemical Versus Physical Exfoliation (Peels Versus Scrubs)

Women getting a chemical peel treatment

There are literally thousands of facial exfoliators available, from glycolic peels to apricot shell scrubs. It can be overwhelming to pick one. There are several criteria including cost, personal preference, scent, texture, active ingredients, and the degree of user-friendliness. If something requires nine steps just to exfoliate, I will be honest and say that I am very unlikely to purchase that product.

The main two categories are chemical and physical exfoliation.

Chemical
The list of chemical exfoliation ingredients includes alpha hydroxy acids, beta hydroxy acids, and vitamin C. These can offer wonderful long-term results for your complexion. But because these are known to work in the deeper layers of the skin, they can also come with increased photosensitivity and potential reactions.

Women getting an exfoliation treatment

Physical
This includes your scrubs, whether that be from ground fruit seeds, sugar, oatmeal, diatomaceous earth, or cornmeal. They do a wonderful job on the surface of the skin but rarely reach any further.

Either type offers a great exfoliation option. And both will render your other products that much more effective because those active ingredients will not have to fight their way through the dead skin cells. But choosing one over the other can be complicated. Personally, I choose not to choose!

What do I mean? I mean that I keep both around to use when my skin calls for it. There are some days when I love a good firm face scrub, and there are other days when I prefer to let the cream do the work for me while I sleep. In the hot humid summer, I usually choose the scrub over the cream.

If you have sensitive skin, please choose your exfoliator carefully. It does not take much to cause a flare-up of flakiness or breakouts.

Beauty 101: Chemical Versus Physical Exfoliation (Peels Versus Scrubs)
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  1. Pingback: Exfoliation, From Inside the Chemistry Lab | Beauty Tips, Hair Care

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