Watch: Should You Use a Physical or Chemical Exfoliant?
PSA: exfoliating is essential to any skincare routine. Besides being freakishly satisfying, sloughing off dead skin is the best way to achieve maximum glow. One session alone can lead to visible results!
Sound too good to be true? Perhaps—but the proof is in the pudding when you find the right exfoliator. To steer you in the right direction, here’s the 411 behind two types of exfoliants.
Physical exfoliants mechanically remove dead cells that sit on the surface of your face. By refining the skin’s texture, these formulas help improve dullness and superficial signs of damage. Physical exfoliants are best for fading scars, wrinkles, and stretch marks.
Scrubs are most popular in the forms of sugar, rice, and other crushed granules. When massaged into the face, they physically buff away the bad stuff. While scrubs should only be used two to three times a week, they effectively polish rough patches and leave the skin brighter. Apply your product with light, circular motions, as rubbing to hard can damage your natural moisture barrier.
OUR RECO: Skinfood Strawberry Black Sugar Wash Off, P645. Shop it here.
Konjac sponges are a staple in East Asia. Made of natural fibers, these sponges foam up your facial wash and exfoliate your skin as you cleanse. Their soft texture provides a gentle massage and improves blood circulation—all while scrubbing away dirt, oil, and makeup residue.
OUR RECO: Swan Compact Oval Facial Konjac Sponge, P100. Shop it here.
Chemical exfoliants break down debris using gentle acids and fruit enzymes. Instead of buffing away dead skin, they melt them down to nothing. This allows new and healthy skin cells to surface and reduces the risk of irritation caused by friction. Perfect for sensitive skin!
Lactic acid and glycolic acid are some of the most common AHAs. They gently dissolve the bonds that keep dead cells attached to your skin. The best part: AHAs have humectant properties that lock in moisture and boost collagen production. So not only do they smoothen out your complexion, they also counteract skin-aging.
OUR RECO: Neogen Bio-Peel Gauze Peeling Wine, P1,100. Shop it here.
BHAs are oil-soluble acids that penetrate your pores and break down deep-seated dirt. This makes them ideal for oily and acne-prone skin. Since they go way beyond the surface, BHAs remove gunk that no other exfoliant would reach. Salicylic acid, for instance, is one of the most common BHAs recommended for pimply skin. It clears out dried-up sebum and dead skin cells and helps soothe inflammation.
OUR RECO: COSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid, now on sale at P963 (limited time only). Shop it here.
As their name suggests, fruit enzymes are commonly extracted from produce such as papayas and pineapples. These detach and digest dead skin without any physical effort. Since fruit enzymes only work on dead protein, your healthy skin cells are left completely untouched! This eliminates the risk of over-exfoliation altogether—making it suitable for all skin types.
OUR RECO: DewyTree Nature Source Renew Peeling Gel, P689. Shop it here.
Credits: Video by Kat Echon. Don’t forget to follow BeautyMNL on Facebook and Instagram!
Living In Stereo by Joakim Karud
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