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Alumier Skin Experts / April 6, 2018

Types of Exfoliators – Chemical vs Physical

Exfoliation is crucial to maintaining healthy skin. The regular removal of the superficial skin cells helps encourage skin rejuvenation, fade dark spots and discoloration, remove flaky patches, improve the appearance of fine lines and keep pores clear. Exfoliated skin also helps your skincare products work better–your serums and moisturizers are able to penetrate the skin more effectively.

There are two types of exfoliation: physical and chemical. Although both are very effective and can achieve similar results, they work using very different mechanisms.  It is important to understand not only the difference between them, but also which method should be used based on individual skin concerns and the results you are looking to achieve.

Physical exfoliation is done with an ingredient or tool that mechanically removes cellular debris. This can be done with natural ingredients such as finely ground nuts or seeds, a wash cloth, or a cleansing brush. AlumierMD’s Lotus Scrub uses lotus seed powder and microcrystalline cellulose, unique biodegradable exfoliating agents that are smooth and spherical. Many scrubs can have unevenly shaped scrub particles, which can scratch or irritate the skin. The Lotus Scrub’s uniform consistency and gentle exfoliation reveals healthy, more radiant skin.

Chemical exfoliation is accomplished with the use of acids, enzymes or retinoids. Different acids can be used for different skin types. Enzymatic exfoliants work like Pac-Man to eat away at the cellular debris revealing smoother, brighter skin.  Chemical exfoliants work by breaking down the bond that holds the cells together.

There are different types of acids out there, the most common being Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA) and Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHA). AHAs like lactic and glycolic are derived from natural substances and are great for normal and dry skin. BHAs like salicylic acid  are oil soluble, making them perfect for oily, acne-prone skin. However, both AHAs and BHAs can be used together safely as they work in different ways.

Fruit enzymes like papain and bromelain, which come from papaya and pineapple, can also be used as exfoliants. Enzymatic peels are the gentlest form of chemical exfoliant, making them suitable for sensitive skin.

When using chemical acids to exfoliate, be sure to always wear sunscreen even if you are not spending time in the sun. Acids make the skin more photosensitive, as they are removing the uppermost layers of the skin while remaining on the skin after application.

No matter your skin type, the right exfoliant is out there! Exfoliating is the most important step of the at-home care skincare routine to nudge the skin into regenerating itself; however, choosing the right exfoliant will mean that your skin improves and isn’t irritated. AlumierMD offers a number of exfoliants to suit all skin types. It’s always a good idea to consult a skincare professional to select the right exfoliant for your skin type.

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