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Skin CareChemical Exfoliation vs Physical Exfoliation: the difference

Chemical Exfoliation vs Physical Exfoliation: the difference

Chemical Exfoliation vs Physical Exfoliation! Let’s find out what these two types of exfoliation are all about. Chemical exfoliation and Physical exfoliation are two different methods of removing the top layer of skin. Which one is better for your skin?

Chemical exfoliation is the process of removing dead skin cells by using a chemical solution. Physical exfoliation is done by scrubbing or rubbing the skin with an abrasive material. Read more in detail here: can i get glowing skin?

chemical exfoliation vs physical exfoliation

Exfoliation is the removal of dead skin cells from the surface of the skin to help prevent breakouts and enhance skin texture, tone, and radiance. Removing old skin cells off the surface of the skin shows fresh, more youthful skin and promotes skin cell turnover. Physical and chemical exfoliation are the two kinds of exfoliation available.

Find out more about each and which is ideal for you.

Exfoliation’s Advantages:-

Exfoliation removes dirt, debris, excess oils, and old (dead) skin cells from the skin. Exfoliating your skin on a regular basis has a number of advantages, including:

  • Exfoliation helps to prevent acne outbreaks by keeping pores clear of dirt.
  • Skin Tone Improvements: By producing an even texture, the skin becomes smoother.
  • Removes the skin’s oldest top layer, which improves radiance.
  • Increases skin cell turnover, giving you a more youthful appearance.
physical exfoliation

Exfoliation also improves the efficacy of the remainder of your skin care regimen by increasing the effectiveness of other skin care products. Exfoliation boosts the rate of absorption of topical skin care products such as moisturizers and serums, enabling them to penetrate deeper into the skin and have a greater effect.

Chemical Exfoliation

Chemical exfoliation, as opposed to a manual technique, meaning that the goods perform the exfoliating for you. Chemical exfoliants, such as facial peels, are one example. Chemical exfoliators dissolve the connections that hold skin cells together, allowing dead cells and other debris to be washed away easily. Chemical exfoliates, on the other hand, penetrate deeper into the skin and are equally effective in brightening and smoothing the skin.

Ingredients in Common Chemical Exfoliants-

Chemical exfoliants are made up of a variety of active substances, the most popular being hydroxy acids and fruit enzymes:

Acids with an alpha hydroxyl group (AHAs)

Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) break the protein links that hold dead skin cells together, allowing them to be washed away from the skin’s surface. Glycolic and lactic acids are two AHAs that are often used. These exfoliants are great for dry, not oily, skin since they are water soluble.

chemical exfoliation

Acids with a beta hydroxyl group (BHAs)

BHAs contain antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects in addition to exfoliating. This makes them a wonderful option if you’re trying to get rid of acne or have oily skin. A common BHA is salicylic acid.

Exfoliants with enzymes

Papain, derived from papayas, and Bromelain, derived from pineapple, are examples of fruit enzyme exfoliants. Skin proteins are broken down into tiny pieces by these mild exfoliants. Sensitive skin might benefit from the organically sourced substances.

chemical exfoliation

Chemical Exfoliants Have Drawbacks

Chemical exfoliants make your skin more prone to redness, dryness, and sun damage, so always use a hydrating sunscreen with them.

Exfoliation (Physical/Manual)

Any process that physically removes skin cells and other debris from the surface of your skin is known as physical exfoliation. Simple tools like washcloths, loofahs, sponges, and brushes, as well as scrubs with exfoliating granules, fall under this category. Physical exfoliation techniques including as microdermabrasion and dermaplaning are available from your esthetician or dermatologist.

Physical Exfoliation Techniques That Are Frequently Used-

Physical exfoliation is excellent for individuals with thicker, oilier skin since the procedure of physically massaging the skin’s surface to release dead skin cells isn’t always pleasant.

Exfoliation at Home

Although there are more efficient ways available, manually exfoliating your skin at home may be as easy as wiping your face with a washcloth, sponge, or brush. Clarisonic brushes or Foreo devices with vibration and sonic pulses are examples of exfoliating tools.

physical exfoliation

Exfoliating Cosmetics

Skin scrubs with minute grains of salt, sugar, nutshells, or beads are known as exfoliating skincare products. These particles work as an abrasive, removing dead skin cells and debris from the skin. For a healthy glow, use a scrubbing motion to promote blood flow to the region.

Exfoliation by a Professional 

Microdermabrasion and dermaplaning are two physical exfoliating techniques offered from your esthetician or dermatologist. Both microdermabrasion and its more severe counterpart, dermabrasion, use a’sanding’ technique to smooth the skin and may help to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and scars.

Dermaplaning removes dead skin cells and tiny hairs from the top layer of skin using a specific exfoliating knife. Before a chemical peel, this procedure is sometimes performed to prepare the skin.

These more intense exfoliation treatments provide benefits that may last up to three weeks.

Physical Exfoliation’s Negative Effects

Physical exfoliation may cause minute micro rips in the skin, which can cause harm. If you rub too vigorously, or if the particles in the scrub are excessively big or sharp, this might happen. Exfoliating too often might increase oil production, which is unhelpful for acne sufferers.

Which Is Better: Chemical or Physical Exfoliation?

  • Do you have sensitive skin? Chemical exfoliation is gentler then manual exfoliation, which may irritate delicate skin.
  • Do you need results right away? Physical exfoliation delivers a smoothness that you may feel right away, but chemical exfoliation may take longer to show results.
  • Looking for a radiance? Physical exfoliation may provide a glow by improving blood flow to the region, whilst chemical exfoliation may assist brighten skin.
  • How about exfoliating at home? Chemical exfoliants may cause some dryness, but physical exfoliation is simpler to overdo and harm your skin.
  • Looking for a few more perks? Chemical exfoliation not only smooths the skin, but it also has the potential to promote collagen formation and increase skin suppleness.
  • Are you looking for accuracy? Chemical exfoliation makes it simpler to obtain more consistent, uniform exfoliation since topical exfoliation treatments are easy to apply uniformly. It takes some effort to get an uniform exfoliation using a physical approach.

Exfoliation Suggestions:

Understand your skin type.

Understanding your skin type can assist you in selecting the most appropriate exfoliation procedure for your needs. Normal and mixed skin types may often pick their preferred approach. People with dry or sensitive skin should use a light chemical exfoliant or exfoliate manually with a washcloth or soft brush. Individuals with oily skin should use a more harsh chemical exfoliant or stick to manual exfoliation. Maintain a once-weekly routine. People with darker skin or dark patches (pigmentation disorders) should use a moderate, manual exfoliation procedure rather than chemical exfoliants.

Don’t go overboard

Exfoliate once or twice a week, depending on how sensitive or oily your skin is. Choose a light exfoliator if you’re currently using retinol or hydroxy acids in your skincare. The more vigorous your exfoliation process, the fewer often you’ll need to perform it.

Maintain Skin Hydration

Keep skin properly moisturized and sun-protected after exfoliating to prevent redness or dryness. Not only should you moisturize, but you should also drink lots of water.

When it’s necessary, skip a week.

Give your skin a break if you’re sunburned, feeling severe dryness or oiliness, or if you have a cut or open wound. Allow for full healing before exfoliating.


Chemical Exfoliation

It is done with a chemical solution. The skin is scrubbed to remove dead cells and improve circulation. Physical Exfoliation, on the other hand, is done by using a scrubbing agent like sugar or salt. It removes the top layer of skin without damaging the deeper layers of skin. Reference: physical vs chemical exfoliation according to dermatologist.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which is better a physical or a chemical exfoliant?

A: A chemical exfoliant is preferable to a physical one because of its effectiveness. The ingredients in a chemical exfoliant are more concentrated, meaning that the scrubbing power lasts longer and leaves less chances for bacteria growth or contamination.

Why is chemical exfoliation better?

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