Exfoliation: Chemical vs Mechanical and its benefits

It’s rather hard to say we fully cleanse our faces until we exfoliate. Exfoliation is a fancy word to describing the removal of the outer layer of yuckiest dead skin from our skin. Our skin naturally sheds dead skin on average monthly. However as we age (and depending on lifestyle choices and genetics), that may be longer. The longer the dead skin is on your skin, the duller and more aged your skin appears. And we all cannot deny our love of vibrant smooth skin!

Benefits to exfoliation:

  1. Improve skin texture and maybe anti-aging?: Because it removes that outer layer, a ‘newer’ layer that is more vibrant and smoother is reveal. With proper usage, exfoliation is suppose to help us reduce fine lines, smooth pore size, and overall just improve our skin texture. You can pretty much notice your skin texture with just one usage, and better results with regular exfoliation. Of course preventive effefcts is hard to tell if it works, but it can never hurt right? As long as you do not over-exfoliate and wear proper sunscreen.
  2. Allow skincare products to be more effective: Because the outer layer is removed, it allows your skincare products to skin into your skin more effectively, requiring less, saving you money! Which my wallet is happy about, especially how much I spend on skincare….heh
  3. Prevent acne: Acne happens when pores become clogged from dead skin and the yucky debris that is mixed with it. Exfoliation helps remove that outer layer to prevent and clean clogges pores. Therefore preventing it from developing inot acne.
  4. Sebum control: With a cleaner outer layer, oil does not get trapped underneath and is able to get to the surface. As a result the skin feels less dry and less luckily to produce more oil to hydrate the skin. Therefore less oil is overall produced. (Well that is how my skin feels.)

Before exfoliating correctly, I always experienced having a layer of  “something” on my skin and no amount of washing can get rid of it.It was as if I have a mask on that I could never take off and it did not help with my overall complexion. What’s worse is when I tried to wash it off and the constant washing just strips my skin and leave my skin crazy flaky like a snake. Then I found exfoliating products and my skin still feels like a snake, but in a good way! My skin feels renewed likw a snake that just shed off its skin. Plus it is no longer dry and flaky because I am no longer over washing my face.

Mechanical Exfoliator vs Chemical Exfoliator

My first exfoliators were mechanical exfoliators. That means it requires a product to manually remove the dead skin. Which after rereading, sounds scarier than it really is! Mechanical exfoliation products usually involve bead, sugar, salt, seeds, or some sort of grainy like texture that you rub onto your skin to loosen the top layer of your skin. However things like towels, facial brushes, facial sponges, and other textured facial cleansing tool can act as a mechanical exfoliator.

Chemical exfoliators uses different types of acids or enzymes to loosen the top layer of your skin. The most common chemical exfoliators include AHA, BHA , or fruit enzymes. Most of them can be found naturally in foods such as bananas, papaya, pineapple and even yogurt. In the past I DIY so many of these masks without knowing how they worked, just that they leave my skin so renewed.

Between the two types, chemical exfoliators are my preference. I tend to go too heavy hand when I use mechanical exfoliators resulting in damaged skin.Imagine rubbing sand on your skin, ouch! I know what happens when I over-scrub but I cannot seem to help it. I hope I am not to only one guilty of this! That is not to say chemical exfoliators are more gentle! They can be harsher than mechanical exfoliators, think chemical peels! However with the right chemical ones, I am less likely to damage my skin.

While using exfoliators, it is super important to wear sunscreen and other types of sun protection. Exfoliation makes your skin photosensitive. Therefore if you exfoliate without wearing sunscreen, it is very likely you will develop worse burns and/or other sun damage than if you do not wear sunscreen.

The next few post will be about exfoliators I tried and like. Hope that helps you find one that works for you!

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