All About Exfoliation Guide.
Welcome to Part II of our guide to all things exfoliation!
Exfoliation, or the removal of dead cells from the skin's surface, can be split into two broad groups: chemical exfoliation and physical exfoliation.
Chemical exfoliation is the process of using some type of substance that chemically dissolves dead skin, allowing it to be easily rinsed away. This can range from chemical peels at the dermatologist, to 'brightening serums' that contain popular exfoliants such as AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids) or BHAs (beta hydroxy acids).
Physical exfoliation is the process of using some type of abrasive material to physically scrub away dead skin cells. This can include using a variety of tools such as scrub brushes, facial brushes, loofahs or pumice stones, or beauty products such as scrubs containing salt, sugar, or crushed walnut shells, among others.
While the word "chemical" might put those interested in the most natural interventions off using chemical methods, it is important to note in this case the word is used in the scientific rather than colloquial sense. Products containing either physical or chemical exfoliants can contain undesirable 'chemical' ingredients, and both methods include interventions that are harsh enough to damage skin. For instance, straight lemon juice is a chemical exfoliant, while a scrub containing plastic microbeads and synthetic binding agents would be considered a physical one.