Chemical vs Physical: The Right Exfoliator for You


An exfoliator is important to help you get the G-L-O-W. Our skin has a life cycle of about 30 days. As we get older, our skin becomes less and less efficient at shedding dead skin cells. The resultant build-up is bad news for us — it not only clogs pores, but also accentuates other skin conditions such as dryness or wrinkles. You don’t need to exfoliate, but it’s a win-win situation if you do. Exfoliating removes the dead skin, enhancing absorption of skincare products in the process.

What is a chemical exfoliator?

Chemical exfoliators penetrate deeper than physical exfoliators, dissolving the glue that binds the cells together, making it easier for the skin to shed. The result? Glowing skin for days. Choose between AHAs, BHAs, or those with fruit enzymes such as pineapple or papaya. It’s a great choice for those with sensitive skin as compared to physical exfoliators, and can be used more frequently because of how much more gentle they are.

What is a physical exfoliator?

Well, there isn’t much science going on behind the process of physical exfoliation. The beads, grains or particles are rubbed against your skin, the resulting friction sloughing away the dead skin. However, be careful of how hard you scrub your face or the scrub you use! Too much pressure or using scrubs with large, irregularly-shaped particles that are too rough can cause micro-tears in the skin, which is what we don’t want. Micro-tears wears down the skin, eventually making it more sensitive.

Which is for me?

As they penetrate deeper and work more efficiently than physical exfoliators, we’re going to have to go with chemical exfoliators. However, if you love physical exfoliators, there’s nothing wrong with that. Just make sure you choose one that isn’t going to do more harm than good to your skin.

What would you recommend?

DIY Exfoliators

Majority of the physical exfoliators which you find at drugstores tend to be on the more abrasive side. if you’re looking for gentle physical exfoliator that won’t tear your skin, why not make your own? We’ve got 5 recipes to help you get your face in tip-top shape, sans the cost!

SOMEBYMI AHA-BHA-PHA 30 Day Miracle Serum

Containing AHA, BHA and PHA, this potent chemical exfoliator is extremely efficient in removing dead skin. Containing tea tree extract, it’s an excellent choice for those with oily skin troubles and clogged pores.

NEOGEN Bio Peel Gauze Peeling – Green Tea

Get the best of both worlds with these exfoliating pads. The pads are rough, providing physical exfoliation at the same time as chemical exfoliation. They are gentle yet effective, imbued with green tea which has anti-inflammatory properties.

How often should I exfoliate?

Your best bet would be to follow the instructions on the product and don’t exceed the recommended use! However, 2–3 times a week is good enough for physical exfoliation!

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