Not only are chemical and mechanical exfoliators quite different in composition but also their mechanism of action is different. Chemical exfoliators loosen dead cells by working between the layers of the epidermis, dissolving the links that enable the uppermost layer of cells to remain attached. This type of defoliant can be found in facial cleansers, toners moisturizers, and masks. The most popular chemical exfoliators are hydroxyl acids such as glycolic acid, lactic acid, citric acid, salicylic acid.
Mechanical exfoliators work by assisting in the physical removal of dead or excess cells. With either controlled abrasion or adhesion, mechanical exfoliators essentially polish the skin immediately cleaning the surface of dead, dulling cells. Cleansers and cleansing scrubs packed with sugars, salts, or polyethylene beads. However, we recommended that you avoid harsh exfoliants that have sharp edges such as ground walnut shells and apricot pits. You also want to stay away from pads that feel like billow on your face. They can scratch the epidermis and leave skin raw, red and reactive. Also be careful if use body scrub on your face. They tend to have larger particles and are made for stubborn areas such as heels and elbows making them too aggressive for delicate facial skin, neck and delete’.
We’re fans of both gently chemical and mechanical exfoliation with the key word being “gentle”. In our experience, it takes the perfect combination of the two to dissolve the bonds between cells without irritation the skin and to sweep away dead skin cells, leaving the skin soft and smooth.
THE SECRET IS NOT TO OVERDO IT. If your skin looks red and angry after exfoliation, substitute a bland cleanser and moisturizer and give your skin a chance to recover.