The words "chemical exfoliant" can be a little daunting to people, and often downright scary. After all, the thought of our skin peeling off resembles a scene from a horror movie more than it does the beauty influencers on our Instagram. The fact of the matter is that everyone's skin reaches maximum capacity at some point and starts to collect dead cells on the surface, leading to blemishes and majorly clogged pores. Getting rid of this top layer can be achieved through regular exfoliating methods, but sometimes, we need extra assistance to get the job done.
What are the benefits of chemical exfoliants?
What sets chemical exfoliants apart from regular exfoliants?
Physical exfoliants can really only do as much as your hands allow, whereas chemical exfoliants are working independently behind the scenes. It helps to penetrate a deeper layer of skin further than what you can do with a simple scrub, allowing for even more fresh skin to shine.
What are the main risks and side effects of chemical exfoliants?
Who should, and who should NOT get chemical exfoliants?
How do I know which chemical exfoliant is right for me?
There are a few different types of chemical exfoliant ingredients that suit different skin types and needs:
- AHA (Alpha hydroxy acid): Some of the more popular AHA chemical exfoliants are those with Lactic, Glycolic and Malic Acids, which are more organic acids sources from plant and animal byproducts. They're considered more hydrating, and therefore better for dry, aged, or normal skin types. These are a little less irritating to the skin since they are water soluble, and really only work on the surface of the skin (so they are great as toners and cleansers).
- BHA (Beta Hydroxy Acid): A BHA exfoliants are also hydrating, but they are oil soluble - which makes them better for oily or normal skin types. These are really great decongestant acids, meaning they break apart clogged pores and blemishes.
- Enzymes: These are by far the most gentle out of all your options. They really only work on eating dead skin cells rather than breaking through several layers. If there isn't anything to eat, they aren't very active. We recommend these for adding immediate texture refinement and brightening rather than deep exfoliation.
How do I use a chemical exfoliant?
Okay, so now that I know which type is best for me, which product do I use?
Here are our top recommendations based on your particular needs:
- Dermalogica Multivitamin Thermafoliant - We love this option for a one-two combo of exfoliant and total nourishment.
- Glymed Serious Action Acne Exfoliant Wash - Fantastic for treating acne, though use with caution if you have anything super active.
- Glymed Serious Action Acne Skin Peeling Lotion - This product is great for all skin types, though can be particularly useful for healing acneic skin.
- Dermalogica Daily Resurfacer - Highly active, and highly effective!
- Dermalogica Rapid Reveal Peel - For accelerated results, we recommend this option.
- Glymed Age Management AHA Accelerator - A supereffective option that's doable for more skin types, if you're feeling bold!
Need something super gentle?
Posted by Sadie Upwall
Project Manager and Editor for the best little beauty business in town.