Exfoliating 101 - Physical Vs Chemical Exfoliation

You wonder how to get a smooth and clear skin? The answer is easier than you might think. Exfoliation is an essential step to maintain a healthy glow, improve skin texture and tone and prevent annoying breakouts.




Simply put, exfoliation is the process of removing the dead layer of skin cells from the uppermost layers of the skin. This layer can cause skin problems by clogging healthy pores. When pores are clogged and inflamed, they can cause conditions such as acne.



Everyone says that exfoliation is a key step in a well-rounded skin care routine as it exfoliates dead and dry skin. But what if you do not have dry skin?

The good news is that the exfoliating is easy to use and amazing results can be achieved immediately. The bad news is that you can easily exfoliate excessively, leaving your skin hypersensitive, reddened, unprotected and irritated.

Main benefits of exfoliating are:

  • Reduces fine lines and wrinkles
  • It unclogs pores
  • Reduces signs of acne
  • It Stimulates Collagen
  • Encourages healthy cell turnover
  • Improves the penetration of skin care products
  • It Boosts Circulation and Lymphatic drainage
  • Brightens skin tone



Of course, not all types of exfoliation are the same. So, are chemical or physical exfoliants better? Apart from removing dry and dead skin, regular exfoliation increases the radiance, clarity and youthfulness of the skin.  


Physical Exfoliation

Physical exfoliation is pretty simple exfoliation with the use of small grains. The effectiveness of this method depends on the amount of friction and the type of abrasive used. It is also important to be careful when using physical exfoliator, as excessive abrasion can cause skin irritation.

In this case pumice or silicates crystals, small and big granules or seeds and crushed nuts shells can be used. When it comes to physical exfoliation, the best exfoliator is the one that effectively removes your dead skin cells while being gentle to the underlying skin.

However, it should be noted that physical exfoliation is based on particle size and particle shape. If the particles are not round, you may actually tear your pores.

TIP: Physical exfoliators offer immediate satisfaction! A freshly exfoliated face feels smooth and supple. Physical exfoliation stimulates blood circulation, which can help with lymph drainage and reduce puffiness and acne.


Chemical Exfoliation

The second type of exfoliation is an acidic exfoliator, usually in the form of acids and enzymes. The word chemical can evoke thoughts of toxic substances. For exfoliating purposes, however, these chemicals are incredibly safe and natural.

Main group of chemical exfoliants are:

  • Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) - One of the most common types of light chemical exfoliant, the AHA family of acids, which can be obtained from natural sources such as fruit, milk or sugar.
  • Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA) - The most commonly used BHA is Salicylic Acid. These ingredients differ from AHAs in that they can penetrate the hair follicle and exfoliate the pores, removing remaining dirt.
  • Retinol – This is the most popular is exfoliant and one of our favourites! It transforms in the skin in Retinoic Acid and is both an effective skin exfoliation and an anti-aging remedy to turn back the clock.
  • Enzymes - Enzymes break down dead surface cell proteins into smaller fragments, softening the skin and allowing dead skin cells to be easily removed.

Of course, there are also disadvantages in using a chemical peeling. While using a BHA scrub or salicylic acid product is easy enough, you need to consider how long you are willing to wait for results. In truth, the main disadvantage of chemical scrubs is that they do not work as quickly as physical scrubbers.



  1. Exfoliation should not be the first or only step in your skin care program. Instead, you should use your cleanser and toner before exfoliating to ensure that you have removed any surface dirt.
  1. Try a mixture of physical and chemical exfoliation. In this case you should always use a physical peel that is not super abrasive for the skin.
  1. It is very important to read the instructions, especially when using chemical exfoliants. With some of them you can use them once a week, others allow a daily application.

And as always, remember that you want to layer your products from light to heavy. Lighter products can penetrate the skin quickly and help prepare the skin for later products. Heavier products should be layered over lighter products to create a protective barrier.