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Chemical vs. physical – which exfoliant is right for you?

Chemical vs. physical – which exfoliant is right for you?

Mar 26th 2021

Chemical vs. Physical Exfoliation – which exfoliant is right for you?

By now you probably know one of skin care’s universal truths – it’s great to exfoliate. Regular exfoliation is one of the easiest ways to clear up skin, minimize the appearance of sun damage, and maintain a beautiful complexion. Exfoliation becomes even more important as estrogen declines in our bodies, because it causes a slowing of the natural cell turnover rate. That’s why some women notice their skin looking a bit dull as they approach their 40s and 50s.

The act of exfoliation involves sweeping away dead skin cells, grime, pollution, and makeup residue. This deep cleans your pores to make your skin look brighter and feel silkier but paves the way for your skincare products to do their best – allowing for any serums, treatments, and moisturizers you apply afterward to penetrate deeper and work more effectively.

There are two general classifications of exfoliants: physical and chemical.

A physical exfoliant is a product or tool that requires rubbing or scrubbing action – these include your skincare scrubs, brushes, sponges, loofahs and muslin wash cloths. Chemical exfoliators loosen up the dead skin so it can easily be whisked away by breaking the bonds between skin cells. They often have a smooth texture and penetrate deeper into the skin.

Which is best for you? It depends! Consider your skin type, preferred usage, skincare goals and your existing skincare routine to determine your chosen method. Chemical exfoliants tend to be less aggressive than physical exfoliants but overuse of either may irritate your skin. If you have dry skin, opt for a gentle exfoliating cleanser and a soft cloth. Dealing with oily skin? opt for stronger versions of both the chemical and physical variety.

It’s important to also consider what you’re already using on your skin when determining your best method moving forward. Medications and skincare products with ingredients such as retinol may cause induced skin sensitivity, dryness and peeling. If you’re really adamant about exfoliating more frequently, go with a gentler option. If something like microdermabrasion is more your speed, stick to doing it less often.

Whether you’re opting for physical or chemical exfoliation (or both!), be sure to keep your skincare goals in mind, and look to our  SeeMe Beauty Clean It Up Exfoliating Cleanser to kick things off! 


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