Physical Vs. Chemical Exfoliation

To scrub, or not to scrub? Learn all about this essential skincare step.
Physical Vs. Chemical Exfoliation Article Image

Exfoliation is the holy grail of smoother, clearer, and brighter skin that takes on dullness, dryness, fine lines and clogged pores. It also speeds skin renewal rate by buffing away old skin cells so younger, plumper cells can surface (making it the treatment-du-jour of celebrities before awards season). Exfoliation comes down to 2 choices: physical (scrub) or chemical (no scrubbing required).

First things first: What does exfoliating do?
Exfoliating loosens old cells for removal to reveal younger, smoother and clearer skin. And, products that follow have a direct path to newer skin rather than being blocked by old cells.

Physical vs. chemical exfoliation: What’s the difference?
Physical exfoliants provide a scrubbing action achieved through beads, seeds or granules found in cleansers, treatments and masks. Face brushes, loofahs, and muslin washcloths also create this friction to loosen old cells and debris for easy removal.

Physical vs. chemical exfoliation: Is one better than the other?
Exfoliants like glycolic and salicylic acid are friction-free powerhouses that loosen the “glue” that holds skin cells together. By loosening this glue, dead skin cells are easily shed, making way for newer, more hydrated cells to rise to the surface.

No! The form you choose is dependent on your skin type. And, chemical doesn’t always mean harsher. It just means it works differently. Case in point: salicylic acid is a chemical exfoliant that penetrates the pore to purify and help clear skin. And, it can be ideal for breakout-prone skin that might not benefit from a scrub.

Can I use both physical and chemical exfoliants?
Yes! Products like AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser combine chemical exfoliants with physical exfoliants to polish away dulling skin, open hydration pathways, and reveal smoother and softer skin.

Is exfoliation right for me?
Exfoliation is great for all skin types from oily to dry. Regardless of which you choose, always follow the golden rules of exfoliation: start slowly, start gently, and always use an SPF during the day.

Physical vs. chemical exfoliation: which will you choose? Shop Murad’s exfoliants to renew and refresh skin today.