Mechanical vs. Chemical Exfoliator?

Let's talk about the different methods of exfoliation: mechanical and chemical. 

Mechanical exfoliation – the process through which dead skin cells are physically rubbed off the skin using something abrasive, like a face scrub, a brush (Clarisonic), or a washcloth. This type of exfoliation, however, only removes the dead skin cells on the surface of your skin. 

Chemical exfoliation – the process through which a product is applied to the skin to help dissolve the excess dead skin cells on your face. It gets deep under the skin, and works to dissolve both the glue that binds the dead cells to your skin, and the actual dead cells themselves. 

The two most common types of chemical exfoliators are alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) and beta hydroxy acid (BHA). 

AHAs only work on the surface of the skin, therefore, they don’t have the ability to penetrate the pores. AHAs contain lactic acid, mandelic acid, ferric and/or glycolic acid, which are ingredients with natural moisturizing agents. This type of chemical exfoliator is best suited for those with normal or dry skin, and people who have sun-damaged skin. 

BHAs also work on the surface of the skin, but they have the added benefit of exfoliating within the pores to break down dead cells and bacteria. This type of chemical exfoliator works well with oily skin because one of the symptoms of oily skin is clogged pores. 

BHAs contain salicylic acid, which is an anti-irritant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial, making it even better for people with an acne condition. BHAs help to break down uneven skin tones, discolouration and dark spots.
Both exfoliators helps to removes dead cells; the mechanical exfoliates the epidermis, and the chemical acts deeper into the layers of the skin. Ultimately, the choice all depends on the your skin type and skin goals. 


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