When you use exfoliating products, you always feel like you are doing good to your skin since you feel squeaky clean after and that scrubbing sensation you feel makes it feel like your rubbing your dead skin cells away. In reality, you’re just aggravating your skin, especially if you are suffering from acne. All those harsh, sharp beads are making your acne more inflamed; some particles that are used in these are sand, apricot kernels, seashells or sugar. Apricot kernels damage your skin the worst so I highly advise staying away from apricot scrubs because they would most likely have this in their ingredients. These can have uneven and sharp edges which can create microscopic tears in your skin which aren’t visible, allowing dirt and bacteria to enter and also they remove not only the dead cells but the healthy ones as well. Some scrubs have even and less sharp edges with their particles but it doesn’t do as much of a good job exfoliating. Even if they say that it has salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide, it won’t make a difference. It only works on the surface of the skin, you need something that penetrates deep under and works at the start of the inflammation. Instead of using these, use chemical peels or chemical exfoliants.
Chemical peels work on the surface of the skin but it’s gentler and it leaves your face feeling smoother than physical scrubs. It has a gel consistency and you apply and rub it into your skin, your face has to be dry. As you’re rubbing some dead skin will start balling up on your face. Most of it is the product because it has a paper like substance and when you rub, it rolls together but it takes the dead skin away leaving your face smooth. Chemical peels dissolve dead skin and oil instead of scraping it away like scrubs. Korean brands have great chemical peels, for example, The Saem has a great one under 20 dollars, it has won awards which I can see why it is amazing.
Chemical exfoliants are a great alternative as well, they work deep under the skin and they encourage cell turnover which helps with acne, blackheads, and whiteheads. There are two types, AHA and BHA. AHA is short for Alpha Hydroxy Acid; this is best known for “detaching” your dead skin, it helps the cells fall away easier and the outcome is a brighter and healthier looking complexion. AHA is great for people with dry skin because they hold in moisture in the skin but they do cause photosensitivity so you should only use it at night and make sure to use a good sunscreen.
BHA is short for Beta Hydroxy Acid; they work by penetrating deep into the pore and loosening up the gunk and getting rid of it. This is a great option for people with oily or acne-prone skin. BHA’s are much more drying than AHA’s but there are some that won’t make your face feel like the Sahara Desert, they do not cause photosensitivity and you can use them in the day or night.
They can be used together but you should take precaution as this may be too harsh if you have sensitive skin, they work best if you use them on a bare face meaning no toner or anything else. Just take in mind that these are not miracle workers that work overnight and you instantly get results the next morning, you need to use these consistently for a period of time in order to see the difference. Some chemical exfoliants I recommend are from COSRX which is a Korean skincare brand or Paula’s Choice.