Exfoliation is so important to maintaining clear, smooth, and soft skin but, it can be overwhelming when you’re trying to find the right exfoliant to keep your skin looking its best. That’s why today I wanted to share my Manual vs. Chemical Exfoliation Guide.
When I was young, exfoliating was my favourite part of my skincare routine. It was the one part of the routine that really felt like it INSTANTLY made a difference. I could tell my skin looked smoother and felt cleaner. But, I didn’t realize that there were different ways to exfoliate. I thought exfoliating always required manual exfoliation using products that had a bit of grit in them.
It wasn’t until the last year or so that I learned about chemical exfoliation and the benefits of it. Since then, I’ve really realized that, for years, I was doing my skin a disservice by only doing manual exfoliation.
Why You Should Exfoliate Regularly
Exfoliating helps renew your skin and get rid of dead skin cells.
If you don’t remove those icky dead skin cells from your skin before the rest of your routine then your skincare routine simply won’t be as effective and you may even find that you develop clogged pores and more blemishes.
Think of it like this: those cells are a barrier to your skin. Any serums or creams you apply over the top of those cells have to try to get through those cells to really absorb into your skin. So, by not removing those dead skin cells you’re rendering your skincare routine as less effective.
In addition, those dry skin cells will make your skin appear rough and will make wrinkles and fine lines look worse than they are. Dead skin cells will build up and clog your pores which will create enlarged pores and blemishes.
Manual vs. Chemical Exfoliation Guide
What is Manual Exfoliation?
Manual exfoliation is using a product to scrub off the dead skill cells. These exfoliants require you to rub your skin using the product in order to remove the cells.
This kind of exfoliation can lead to micro-tears on the skin which can lead to future skin damage in the form of wrinkles and fine lines. For this reason, you want to be sure you’re using manual exfoliants very gently on your skin.
What is Chemical Exfoliation?
Chemical exfoliation is using acids that dissolve the dead skin cells to remove them. You typically just apply these as you would a serum, allowing it to sit and absorb into your skin.
These do not require any scrubbing to be effective.
*There are more intensive acid masks and treatments which require removal after a set time amount.
Which One Is Better?
While I still like manual exfoliants, I personally prefer acids.
Manual exfoliation can be great, but you have to be very careful about which product you choose as you do not want to cause tears in the skin.
Also, when you’re using manual exfoliants be sure to use them gently. If you scrub your skin too hard then you’ll likely cause those micro tears we were talking about earlier.
Chemical exfoliants have become my favourite way to exfoliate my skin. It’s such an easy way to exfoliate your skin and since using this form of exfoliation, I have found that my skin has become so smooth and glowy.
I typically use either The Ordinary Lactic Acid 5% and Hyaluronic Acid (I use the lactic acid first, then the hyaluronic acid), or the Farmacy Beauty Honeymoon Glow Acid 2-3 times a week (I switch up between those two routines) in my nighttime skincare routine.