Physical vs. Chemical Exfoliation Explained – Part 2

Hello and welcome back! To finish up my exfoliation series I’ll be introducing you to chemical exfoliation. As I mentioned last week, I try to incorporate both chemical and physical exfoliants into my regimen but two years ago I knew virtually nothing about the benefits of exfoliating with skin-safe chemicals. I feel like there’s a stigma surrounding the word “acid” and we tend to think any product containing it is going to cause burning. This is not always the case, though! Naturally derived acids found in the products I’ll talk about today provide gentle exfoliation and are really my secret weapon to a smooth and even complexion

Chemical exfoliants are most often seen in the form of a peel or an acid wash or a pre-soaked peel pad. When product hunting, you want to be on the lookout for products containing alpha hydroxy acids and beta hydroxy acids. AHAs are water-soluble, meaning they work best for dry skin types to smooth skin and prevent dehydration, improve sun damage, and reverse aging. I always encourage you to look at the ingredients listed on products before you buy so look for words like “glycolic, lactic, and citric acids”. BHAs are oil soluble and penetrate the skin on a deeper level, making them best for oily and acne-prone skin types. They fight acne, reduce hyperpigmentation, and promote anti-aging. Salicylic acid and willow bark extract are both great BHA ingredients to look for. AHA’s and BHA’s may be too harsh for those with super sensitive skin types so products containing fruit enzymes such as papaya and pineapple are a perfect option as they only target the outermost layer of the epidermis.

My personal favorite product for chemical exfoliation is the Visual Changes Skin Resurfacing Pads ($32). These are pre-moistened pads that treat acne, and hyperpigmentation, soften fine lines, and smooth skin texture. I’m a dry-skin type so the lactic and glycerin in these pads help to turn over any dead skin I may have while keeping moisture locked in. I only use these pads once or twice a week- any more than that is overkill and speaking from personal experience when it comes to exfoliation, more isn’t necessarily better. Do it too much and your skin is probably going to feel raw and tight. Twice a week is a magic number here! I also want to mention that if you’re feeling like you need to go even deeper than what some of these products can give you, requesting a chemical peel during a facial can work wonders! You just want to make sure to discuss how deep you want to go with a licensed medical aesthetician- more layers to a peel = more flaking and peeling = brand new baby skin!

I really can confirm that using chemical exfoliation has changed my skincare game. My makeup goes on smoother, I experience fewer breakouts, and it’s helping prevent premature aging- isn’t science great?!

See y’all next week 👋

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