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Physical Vs. Chemical Exfoliation

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

Exfoliating flushes away old cells to reveal younger, smoother and clearer skin. Products that follow have a direct path to newer skin rather than being blocked by old skin cells. Let’s discuss the two types of skin exfoliation.

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.

Unlike a physical exfoliant, a chemical exfoliant in skin care is usually formulated in a product like a serum or a toner that contains exfoliating ingredients. Some of these ingredients include alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), such as glycolic acid and lactic acid, and beta hydroxy acids (BHAs), such as salicylic acid. AHAs and BHAs are naturally occuring substances that assist in dissolving dead skin cells.

Exfoliants like glycolic acid 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. Nonetheless, physical and chemical exfoliators are both great for skin cell turnover.

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. Depending on your skin type, experts advise exfoliating up to two to three times a week.

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 Cleanser combine chemical exfoliants with physical exfoliants from biodegradable jojaba beads to polish away dulling skin, open hydration pathways, and reveal smoother and softer skin.

Is exfoliation right for me?
Exfoliation is great for every skin type from oily to dry. Regardless of which you choose, always follow the golden rules of exfoliation: start slowly and always use face moisturizer with SPF during the day.

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

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