Every month or so, most skin cells rejuvenate. However, factors such as sun exposure and aging might stifle this process. Exfoliation comes very handy in this situation. It may accomplish everything from lightening your complexion to eliminating acne scars and is a rapid technique to remove dead skin. Physical and chemical exfoliation is the two types of exfoliation available. In recent years, the chemical type, which consists of a variety of acids, has grown in popularity.
Chemical exfoliants are acids that remove dead skin cells from the skin. They’re available in a number of different concentrations. A dermatologist will frequently apply stronger solutions in the form of a chemical peel. Over-the-counter formulations are available. They function by dissolving the connections that bind skin cells together. The top layers of skin cells shed as those ties are disrupted, revealing regenerated skin. This natural skin layer feels smoother and looks more even in tone with regular usage, pores are unclogged, and indications of aging may be reduced.
Exfoliation is similar to clearing out your closet in that it’s slightly messy, occasionally emotional, and potentially irritating, but both are necessary tasks in the end. Exfoliation is also done regularly in excellent self-care regiments – twice weekly to be exact. Physical and chemical exfoliants are currently available on the market. They both perform the same thing in theory—slough off dead skin—but in very different ways. You want to make sure you’re doing it correctly and following the right skin care tips because exfoliating improves the absorption of serums, moisturizers, and other skincare products which means you’re getting more bang for your buck.
What Is Physical Exfoliation?
Exfoliation with small grains, a brush, or a scalpel is rather simple. Physical exfoliants, on the other hand, are not all made equal. Check the ingredients list of your average drugstore scrub to ensure that none of the exfoliating agents are excessively large, although they must be handled carefully. They aren’t as effective or mild as chemical exfoliation, despite popular belief. I’ll get to that later.
What Is Chemical Exfoliation?
Chemical exfoliants aid in cell turnover by removing dead skin cells with the use of- wait for it – chemicals. Peels are chemical exfoliants that are fantastic for not just smoothing but also whitening the skin. The effect of the glow!
What Is The Difference Between Chemical And Physical Exfoliants?
It’s all in the name when it comes to chemical and physical exfoliants. Chemical exfoliants employ acids (such as lactic acid, glycolic acid, citric acid, salicylic acid, and others) to exfoliate dead skin cells, whereas physical exfoliants use something physical, such as brush bristles or particles in a sugar scrub. Rather than physically washing away the top layer of dead skin, chemical exfoliants operate by breaking down the cellular linkages of dead skin cells.
Exfoliants, both chemical and physical, have advantages and disadvantages. Physical exfoliants have the advantage of allowing you to customize the amount of pressure used to better fit your skin’s sensitivity level. It’s worth noting, though, that physical exfoliants should be used with caution. Some physical scrubs have bigger, abrasive particles that can cause micro rips in the skin, causing discomfort and inflammation.
As a result, several professionals recommend chemical exfoliants. With regular usage, chemical exfoliants are often safer, more regulated, and, in her experience, more effective. They can also aid to reduce and treat acne, as well as even out your skin tone for a more radiant and youthful appearance. It’s crucial to consider your skin type while choosing an exfoliating procedure.
The Three Main Types Of Chemical Exfoliant
- Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs)
Glycolic, lactic, citric, and malic acids are examples of AHAs. They are usually derived from fruits, but they can also be synthesized. They function on the skin’s surface to improve its texture due to their propensity to dissolve in water. Glycolic and lactic acid are often utilized.
- Beta hydroxy acids (BHAs)
Because BHAs are oil-soluble, they can both enter and work on the skin’s surface. These deeper-acting acids improve skin texture while also unclogging pores and removing acne-causing sebum. Salicylic acid and tropic acid are examples of BHAs.
- Poly hydroxy acids (PHAs)
PHAs function similarly to AHAs. Because PHA molecules are bigger, they are unable to penetrate as deeply. Therefore, they’re thought to be less irritating than other chemical exfoliants, especially AHAs. PHAs, such as gluconolactone and lactobionic acid, have extra moisturizing and antioxidant advantages, albeit not going as deep.
How Do You Know Which Type To Use?
AHAs are frequently used to restore skin tone and discoloration in minor places. Because of their pore-unclogging qualities, BHAs are good for oily or acne-prone skin. If your skin is extremely sensitive, a less abrasive PHA exfoliant may be the way to go.
What should you use to exfoliate?
- If your skin is dry or sensitive
BHAs can soothe and calm skin, making them perfect for those with sensitive skin or those who experience redness. PHAs, on the other hand, are a choice for sensitive people. PHAs have even been reported to be beneficial to patients with eczema and rosacea in studies. Choose an AHA if you have dry skin. They’ll assist the skin hold to moisture because they only function on the surface.
- If you have oily or acne-prone skin
BHAs, especially salicylic acid, are excellent in clearing pores of any chemicals that can cause breakouts. For naturally oily skin, thinner liquid forms are suitable. Combining salicylic acid with lactic acid, an AHA, to boost the skin’s natural moisture factor, has a possible drawback of making the skin feel drier.
- If you have combination skin
The finest of both worlds is required for combination skin. For an anti-inflammatory exfoliating effect, choose a serum containing salicylic acid.
- If you have mature skin
By focusing on fine lines and deeper wrinkles, AHAs can help to reduce the indications of aging. They can also remove roughness from the skin, leaving it radiant.
- If you have hyperpigmentation or scarring
Use a BHA like salicylic acid, which encourages skin cell turnover, or a strong AHA compound to lessen the visibility of dark spots and scars.
- If you have signs of sun damage
AHAs, which are a combination of two acids — glycolic and lactic — is beneficial in minimizing the appearance of UV damage. They resurface uneven roughness and reduce surface pigmentation while boosting normal cell turnover, according to researchers.
- If you’re prone to ingrown hairs
Lactic acid (an AHA) and salicylic acid (a BHA) are two acids that can help prevent ingrown hairs. They accomplish this by removing dead skin, smoothing the texture of the skin, and physically pulling ingrown hairs to the surface.
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