Regardless of how often we wash our faces, it’s still common for dirt, oil, and dead skin cells to build up within our pores. This is why exfoliation is such a critical component to a successful skin care regimen. However, not all exfoliation techniques are the same—and some might be more effective on your specific skin type than others. Here is the difference between physical and chemical exfoliation and what each can do for your skin’s overall health.

Physical Exfoliation

Physical exfoliation is the practice of using a finely ground substance or soft brush to gently scrub away the oils and grime that sticks to the surface of your skin. This action establishes friction, which helps detach debris that remains after washing—namely dead skin cells—to reveal the beautiful, undamaged skin underneath. Physical exfoliant formulas use natural materials such as seeds, sugar, and even oats—components that are slightly rough in texture and able to establish friction with the skin. At the same time, dry brushing can also work just as well if you don’t use too much force.

The primary appeal of physical exfoliation is that you can do it on your own and in the home. Many individuals even mix their own exfoliants using certain food items in their pantry—though you should be careful with the ingredients you use.

Chemical Exfoliation

Chemical exfoliators, on the other hand, work by dissolving the substances keeping dead skin cells attached to the surface of the face rather than scrubbing them away. This is the main difference between physical and chemical exfoliation. To accomplish this, mild acidic compounds create a chemical reaction with the dirt and grime within your pores. After a time, the solutions will eat away at these materials and leave the undamaged cells cleaner. Alpha hydroxy acids and beta hydroxy acids are the most popular chemicals for this particular purpose.

While, like physical exfoliation, you can use chemical exfoliation in the home, it requires specialized products to do so correctly since only certain acids are gentle enough not to burn your skin in the process. Talk to your dermatologist about your options before committing to a product.

As you exfoliate to remove the debris from your complexion, make sure you’re also using other skin care products to get your desired effect. At Flawless Beauty and Skin, we carry a wide range of skin care products to ensure you always have options to treat your stubborn blemishes. Whether you need acne treatments or skin whitening pills, we’re positive we have a product that can help.