Exfoliation is an essential step in any skincare or body care regimen, but it's important to know the best practices when using exfoliants to avoid damaging your skin. There are two main types of exfoliants: physical and chemical. In this post, we'll explore the differences between them and provide tips for using them safely and effectively.


Physical Exfoliants

Physical exfoliants are products that use a physical texture, such as beads, sugar, or microcrystals, to physically polish away dead skin cells. They can be found in scrubs, brushes, and even washcloths. Physical exfoliants are great for those who prefer a more tactile approach to skincare or have oily or acne-prone skin. Physical exfoliants are particularly well suited for prepping the body for self-tanner and shaving, and are also ideal for addressing dry patches (elbows, knees, feet).

However, physical exfoliants can be too harsh on the skin if not used correctly. Avoid using them too frequently, as over-exfoliating can lead to irritation, inflammation, and even breakouts. Also, be gentle when applying physical exfoliants and avoid using them on sensitive areas of the skin, such as around the eyes.


Chemical Exfoliants

Chemical exfoliants use acids, such as alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) or beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs), to dissolve the bonds between dead skin cells on the surface of the skin. This allows the dead skin cells to be sloughed off more easily. Chemical exfoliants are ideal for those with sensitive skin or who prefer a more gentle approach to skincare. Physical exfoliants are one of the most efficient means of smoothing uneven skin on the body - as a result conditions such as ingrown hairs, body acne and keratosis pilaris.

When using chemical exfoliants, it's important to start with a low concentration and gradually work your way up. This will help prevent irritation and sensitivity. Also, be sure to use sunscreen daily when using chemical exfoliants, as they can make the skin more sensitive to the sun.


Best Practices When Using Exfoliants

No matter which type of exfoliant you choose, there are a few best practices to keep in mind:

  1. Determine your skin type: different skin types require different types of exfoliants. If you have oily or acne-prone skin, a physical exfoliant may be more beneficial. If you have sensitive skin, a chemical exfoliant may be a better option.
  2. Start slowly: if you're new to exfoliation, start with a low concentration and work your way up. Over-exfoliating can damage your skin and lead to irritation and inflammation.
  3. Be gentle: whether you're using a physical or chemical exfoliant, be gentle when applying it to your skin. Avoid using too much pressure or scrubbing too hard.
  4. Avoid sensitive areas: be careful when using exfoliants around the eyes, mouth, and nose. These areas are more sensitive and prone to irritation.
  5. Use sunscreen: exfoliation can make your skin more sensitive to the sun. Be sure to use sunscreen daily, even on cloudy days.


In conclusion, exfoliation is an important step in any skincare routine, but it's important to use exfoliants safely and effectively. Whether you prefer physical or chemical exfoliants, be sure to choose the right type for your skin type and start slow. By following these best practices, you can achieve healthy, glowing skin without damaging it in the process.