What's the difference between chemical and physical exfoliators?

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What's the difference between chemical and physical exfoliators?

With so many types of exfoliating products to choose from, it can be a little confusing to choose the right one. Regular exfoliation can remove dead skin cells, revealing brighter and fresher skin. Other benefits include keeping your pores clear, which is especially great if you're prone to acne, plus it can even help your makeup sit better. It’s important to choose the right exfoliant for your skin, so the first thing you need to know are the main two types – physical and chemical exfoliators.

Physical exfoliation

The products that sit under this category usually contain small grains that are used to remove dead skin when massaged onto the skin. You'll probably be familiar with these products as they're the most common type – they're often called scrubs. One thing to be careful of is products that use large grains, as this can cause skin irritation. Here are some great physical exfoliators to try.


Pictured above, clockwise from top left corner: Dermologica Daily Microfoliant from Life Pharmacy, L'Oreal Paris Sugar Scrubs Purifying scrub from Farmers, St. Ives Fresh Skin Invigorating Apricot scrub from Countdown, Clinique 7 Day Scrub Cream from Life Pharmacy, Neutrogena Visibly Clear Spot Proofing Smoothing scrub from Farmers and Ethique Face Scrub Cubes from Life Pharmacy.

Chemical exfoliation

Instead of physically removing your dead skin like in physical exfoliation, chemical exfoliants dissolve them. Although the sound of placing a chemical product on your face can be a bit off-putting, they can actually be gentler on your skin. If you are new to chemical exfoliants, the best place to start is having a look through what's available and reading the benefits of each one until you find one that will best suit your needs. Here are a few products to get you started.


Pictured above, clockwise from top left corner:
Neutrogena Pore Refining toner from Countdown, Karuna exfoliating mask from Mecca Maxima, Estee Lauder Resilience Lift Night from Farmers, Kat Burki Restorative Dual Acid Peel from Mecca Maxima, Perricone MD Pre:Empt Series™ Exfoliating Pore Refiner from Mecca Maxima.

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