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9.27.2017

CHEMICAL VS PHYSICAL EXFOLIATION

Skincare is so important. The first key to beautiful makeup for me is beautiful skin and looking after it can make all the difference to how your skin both looks and feels. A key step in my skincare routine that I find helps to particularly make a difference for me is exfoliation.
For a long time, I was only really aware of physical exfoliation but in recent years I have discovered the wonders of chemical exfoliation and what it can do for the skin. In this post I'm going to discuss chemical vs physical exfoliation and tell you the benefits of each - enjoy!

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First let's define..

physical or manual exfoliation involves the use of a specific ingredient or tool in order to physically scrub and remove old and dead skin cells from the surface of your skin. Examples would be cleansers with micro-beads in them, sugar based scrubs, exfoliating brushes, pumice stones or facial cloths.


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  • Chemical exfoliants generally utilise acids referred to as BHA's and AHA's in order to dissolve and dislodge the "glue" that keeps dead skill cells attached to the skin. These acids generally come in the form of cleansers, toners or lotion whilst also being available in a more liquid concentrated form too. They are applied to the skin and require no physical aspect from yourself for them to do their job.
My Favourite Chemical and Manual Exfoliants:

Foreo Luna Mini

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The Foreo Luna Mini is a vibrating silicone cleansing brush that helps to manually cleanse the skin in conjunction with a cleanser. This is great for sensitive skin because it's made of silicone and isn't as harsh as a bristle-brush and for that reason is actually good for everyday use as well. 

La Roche-Posay Ultra Fine Scrub

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A more traditional facial scrub is the the La Roche-Posay Ultra Fine scrub. The scrubbing particles are very fine as the name suggests and allow for a gentle exfoliation that doesn't irritate even sensitive skin. Whilst it is still gentle, I don't recommend using beaded scrubs more than a few times a week and this works well for me.

The Ordinary 5% Lactic Acid

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A chemical exfoliant, this is a lactic acid concentrate that is applied and left on the skin. Lactic acid is better for sensitive and dry skin as it's a humectant and helps to draw moisture from the air. This is a fairly low concentration of lactic acid but it's a great starting point for those who are new to using acids in their skincare routine.

So, Which One is Better?

In my opinion, manual exfoliations are better for more "aesthetic" dryness and skin issues. In this sense, I'm referring to dryness that for instance is flaky or quite clearly there physically - or for instance blocked pores and blackheads - issues that can be more "instantly" targeted and eradicated. 

Chemical exfoliants for me are much more effective at targeting issues that require more of a deeper application in order to see more longterm differences. This would be for instance, the treatment of pigmentation, dullness and scarring. 

I believe chemical exfoliation works better on a deeper, more concentrated level underneath the skin whereas manual exfoliation is great at targeting more externally based issues. Chemical exfoliation for me is also gentler in the sense that there's no physical motion or force being used upon the skin and so it can be incorporated into an everyday skincare routine in an abundance of ways.

So, to conclude; both types of exfoliants certainly have their benefits but I think they work in different ways and can definitely compliment one another as part of your routine. As mentioned  however, manual exfoliation is better on a surface level to target shorter term issues but chemical exfoliation is better to get under and deeper into the skin to target more longterm issues.

I recently wrote a post about chemical exfoliation if you'd like to learn a bit more about it. 


Chemical VS Physical exfoliation - which one do you prefer?

Levinia, xo









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