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Physical or chemical – what’s a better exfoliation technique for your skin?

Published on:19 August 2021, 17:30pm IST
Exfoliating is important to steer clear of dead skin cells and impurities, but ever wondered if you should go with physical exfoliation or chemical?
Grace Bains
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exfoliation
You’ve gotta make exfoliation a permanent part of your skincare routine! Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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Exfoliating is a great skin care technique to enhance radiance, and help clear up your skin of any blemishes or scars. By exfoliating your skin on a regular basis, you will keep the dead skin cells away, clean the clogged pores of oil and dirt, and add glow to your skin.

Exfoliation can either be physical or chemical, and both techniques may be used depending on your skin type and requirements. Both these techniques can help remove dead skin cells and other pollutants from the skin.

So, let’s find out more about these techniques, and figure out which one is better?

exfoliation
Add exfoliation to your routine for perfect skin! Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Physical exfoliation

This method involves using an abrasive ingredient on the skin, such as sugar or salt scrub. These salt or sugar based scrubs help buff the skin, and can provide immediate results. The flip side is that these exfoliators may be harsh and coarse, causing micro-tears in the skin. Therefore, you should be mindful of your skin’s threshold to absorb the damage that may be caused using physical exfoliators.

In certain cases, it may also lead to skin inflammation. So remember to use it only once or twice a week, and gently scrub your face, and wash it off using a soft wash-cloth, in circular motions, to increase blood flow.

exfoliation
Exfoliation will leave you with glowing and healthy skin. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Chemical exfoliation

There are essentially two categories of chemical exfoliators, beta-hydroxy-acids (BHAs) and alpha-hydroxy-acids (AHAs). Chemical exfoliators are known to be more suitable for sensitive skin, and they help remove dead skin cells, in a less abrasive manner.

BHAs, such as salicylic acid, have anti-inflammatory properties, and penetrate deep into the skin and pores, providing a thorough cleanse. AHAs, such as glycolic acid, exfoliate the uppermost layers of skin, tand help reveal fresh and hydrated skin.

exfoliation
You must learn about different chemical exfoliants available for your skin. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Which exfoliation technique is right for you?

There is no one-size-fits-all formula to decide which exfoliation technique is best suited for you. You could actually use both a chemical and physical exfoliator, as long as you don’t over-exfoliate your skin. However, certain considerations could help you choose the right exfoliant for you:

Skin sensitivity: Chemical exfoliation is known to be less harsh than physical exfoliation, and works very well for people managing skin issues such as acne or rashes.

Results: Chemical exfoliation takes time to show results, while physical exfoliation will leave you with a glowing skin almost immediately after use.

Glow and radiance: As both the exfoliation techniques help remove dead skin cells, they are both adept to brighten skin, and produce a glow.

To think of it, both techniques could complement each other. Chemical exfoliation uses acids or enzymes to remove dead cells, while physical exfoliation involves using scrubs and wash-cloth to remove debris. When used in tandem and regularly, without over exfoliating, these methods can help optimize skin cell turnover, and provide a smooth and radiant skin texture.

Grace Bains Grace Bains

Grace is someone who likes writing enough to make a living out of it. When she isn’t writing, you will find her having chai and reading a book.