There’s something exciting and refreshing about manual/physical exfoliation. When you scrub your face and manually dislodge dirt and, stripping away surface cells with textured bits and grainy particles. It feels really good, doesn’t it? Except, there may be a few downsides to this entire process.
Let’s start by understanding the purpose of exfoliating. Our skin accumulates a lot of dirt, dust, and dead cells which cannot be removed by simply cleansing. Simply put, exfoliating helps to keep your skin to become silky soft, and smooth by buffing away and removing dead skin cells.
You may be wondering how the accumulation of dead skin happens. Typically, the skin naturally sheds dead skin cells every 30 days or so. When this happens, new skin cells form as the top layers of your skin. If those dead cells don’t shed, it can result in dull, dry, and flaky patches. Exfoliating is the process of helping to speed up that process by removing dead skin cells from the surface of your skin.
Recently, there has been a lot of bashing of physical exfoliation, and there are good, scientific reasons why. Chemical exfoliation on the other hand has emerged as the more preferred form. It involves the use of enzymes, beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) such as salicylic acid, or alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) such as glycolic acid to dissolve this dead skin cell buildup from the surface of your skin.
Here are the benefits of chemical exfoliation over physical exfoliation:
1. They are more effective
It seems like physical exfoliation does a better job, but that’s probably only because you feel that you are putting in more work. When it comes to chemical exfoliation, you finish the process much much quicker. On top of this, chemical exfoliation is more effective. Hydroxy acids, such as salicylic and glycolic acids, have the ability to penetrate the skin for deeper exfoliation.
2. They are great for people with sensitive skin
When you think of chemical exfoliation, and specifically that with acids, it seems scary. However, there is no need to be fearful because these products are generally safe, especially if you go for established, recommended brands such as The Ordinary. Enzymatic exfoliators are effective, but they are not as strong as hydroxy acids, so they’re better for sensitive skin. Salicylic acid is especially effective for oily, acne-prone skin, while combination skin will benefit from an Alpha-hydroxy Acid (AHA) that controls oil production.
Additionally, chemical exfoliators are a good option because you can’t really over-scrub your face.
3. They are more hydrating
We are all after smooth, dewy skin, and to achieve this, hydration is key. Skin that is not hydrated enough will become dry, tight, and flaky. The dry flaky cells on the surface don’t reflect light as well, making the skin look dull, rough, and unhealthy. Hydrated skin looks healthier, smoother, and softer. Chemical exfoliants containing AHAs are water-soluble and therefore do not wash away the skin’s natural oils, allowing the skin to retain some natural hydration.
4. They work faster
One myth about physical exfoliation is that the results are instant. This is, in fact, not the case. The process takes a lot of time and you have to be extremely patient and consistent before you see it working out. This is another advantage of chemical exfoliation over physical exfoliation.
Common Alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) include gentle lactic and glycolic acids, which work to speed cell turnover, allowing the skin to shed and reveal new skin more quickly, while also acting as a moisturizer for drier skin types due to their water-binding properties.
5. They are great for people with acne
Acne-prone skin is characterised by sebaceous glands that produce more sebum than in other skin types. Such people are likely to encounter pimples and blemishes. If we are being honest, physical exfoliation in many instances strips the skin completely of it its moisture, which again is not a good thing for people with acne. What they need is a balance in the skin’s oil production. Oil-soluble Beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs) penetrate deeper into pores making them a good choice for acne-prone or oily skin.
Here are the 7 Benefits Of Exfoliating Your Skin
Make sure to always use sunscreen on your face. It doesn’t make sense to exfoliate your skin then expose it to damaging sun rays. Skincare: The Benefits Of Sunscreen And How To Apply It Properly