Physical vs Chemical Exfoliation and the Difference for Beautiful Skin

Physical vs Chemical Exfoliation Woman Exfoliating
Photo Courtesy of Pexels – Alena Darmel

Some people believe that all it takes for beautiful skin is the latest skin care product or regime. Of course, they are important for the part they play to hydrate, protect and help with anti-aging efforts. However, if you want them to do all they can to get more from their formulas, then exfoliation needs to be on your agenda to prepare the surface to fully receive those ingredients. Therefore, you may be wondering what is better physical vs chemical exfoliation for that goal of healthy, gorgeous skin?

Both forms of exfoliation do the same job by helping dislodge trapped particles of grime and makeup clouding your complexion. Despite how well you remove your makeup, you still need to remember that many of the skin care and cosmetics we use daily contains silicones. These are natural mineral polymers that are typically derived from sand to enhance smoothness and glide to seal in the formula. However, these molecules are so tiny that they can burrow deeper into the pores than some other ingredients, which can cause skin problems if left to chance. This is why regular exfoliation is something that you shouldn’t neglect if you want to purge pores of those last remaining traces and help give fresh skin cells a chance to emerge.

In the last decade, physical exfoliators such as grainy apricot scrubs or ones from crushed walnut shells were extremely popular for this purpose. The only problem to this type is the shape of the particles for sloughing off the skin that could irritate and potentially damage the surface when rubbing too vigorously or often. Manual exfoliation to rid the skin of old cells is not bad. Your satisfaction with this form depends on the size and shape of the particles in the scrub along with pressure used to work it in the skin and how frequently done.

There are also microdermabrasion devices for manually sloughing the skin that can potentially sand away skin problems once turning them on. Some can have a tiny sandpaper like texture in the head to use against the skin, but they don’t always buff the surface evenly. As the head rotates on an area, you could end up with a deeper indent in the skin depending on how long you keep the device in that spot without realizing it.

Chemical exfoliation that uses gentle skincare acids such as alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) originates from natural acids found in foods for refining the skin. You probably recognize lactic acid (milk), malic acid (apple), glycolic acid (sugar), and citric acid (citrus fruit).

Beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs) are another type of this form, but are oil-based instead of water-based ingredients like AHAs that also have the power to penetrate deeper. These also originate from nature but usually come from willow bark and as salicylic acid.

The best advantage of using the chemical method is it cleans out the pores for anti-aging while also addressing the pores. For dealing with skin issues such as acne to rosacea, BHAs formulas are more appropriate depending on their concentration. AHAs are for help with younger, glowing skin. Yet, this form of exfoliation is not perfect as well if you have a tendency to overuse them.

Regardless of physical vs chemical exfoliation, both may have merit to them when used correctly.

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