It’s no news that exfoliation is an essential part of your skincare routine. The sheer number of benefits that regular exfoliation provides should be reason enough for you to have gotten yourself a scrub yesterday.
But, has the rise in popularity of chemical exfoliators got you a bit confused? Wondering what’s difference between your traditional physical exfoliator and the chemical one? And which is more effective and is one better for your skin type? We’ve got you covered. Read on as we answer everything you need to know about the difference between the two types of exfoliators and help you choose the best one according to your skin type…
What are physical exfoliators?
Physical exfoliator, aka face scrub, contains tiny exfoliating particles that get rid of dead skin cells and other surface impurities. These scrubs show a nearly-instant effect by making your skin appear a lot smoother, softer and clearer. The main problem with using a physical exfoliator, however, is that the tiny particles can be a bit abrasive and end up causing micro-tears on the skin's surface. This is why it’s recommended to use a physical scrub one to two times a week.
BB picks: St. Ives Fresh Skin Apricot Scrub
What are chemical exfoliators?
Unlike physical exfoliators, chemical exfoliators do not have any physical particles. They are made using a low concentration of gentle acids that help to peel away dead skin cells, improve cell turnover, reduce signs of ageing, etc. Basically, everything to give you your best skin. Chemical exfoliators are not necessarily separate products but can be found in your cleansers, serums, toners, and even night creams. Since these do not have any harsh scrubbing particles, they are a lot gentler on your skin, making them perfect for girls with sensitive skin. Most common forms of chemical exfoliators available are AHAs (alpha-hydroxy acids) and BHAs (beta hydroxy acids).
BB picks: Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant
Which one should you choose?
This is more a matter of preference, but here are a few guidelines to follow:
- If you have acne-prone skin, it’s best to use a chemical exfoliator as the abrasive particles can spread the infection around, causing a spike in acne. Additionally, if you have open pores, the micro-tears can make these pores appear more prominent.
- People with dry and flaky skin can highly benefit from using a physical scrub. It’s super effective in sloughing away dead skin cells and making your skin appear a lot smoother.
- Those with sensitive skin should steer clear of physical exfoliators as the particles from the scrub could be too harsh for them and cause redness and irritation. A gentle chemical scrub with a very low percentage of skin acids would work really well for those with sensitive skin.
Written by Urvi Dalal on Dec 17, 2020
Writer, avid reader and hardcore beauty enthusiast is the best way to describe Urvi Dalal. With over 5 years of writing experience in the beauty industry, you can trust her to have the latest skin, hair and makeup tidbits on her fingertips. In her time working as a beauty writer, she has had the opportunity to interact and work closely with a string of dermatologists, makeup artists and hairstylists. All that knowledge exchange, coupled with her flair and love for writing make it possible for her to bring you some authentic yet fun beauty content. When Urvi isn’t working, you’d usually catch her curled up with a big, fat book, drinking a cup of tea or practising her makeup skills; there is no in-between!