Exfoliation helps remove dead skin cells, dirt, grime and all the other pollutants that give your skin a beating everyday. Regularly exfoliating your skin keeps it healthy and smooth. Though there are many kinds of exfoliation, physical and chemical exfoliation for skin are the two simplest kinds that can be easily done at home. In fact, you might already be exfoliating your skin without even realizing it. Most face washes and body scrubs have sugar or micro beads that help to exfoliate skin.
So what do these two terms mean?
Physical exfoliation involves rubbing and scrubbing with something which has a slightly rough surface or texture. This includes -
- Anything that has fine granules or beads, like face washes, face scrubs and body scrubs.
- External objects like loofahs, brushes and pumice stones.
- Flannels and other textured or beaded cleansing cloths.
Physical exfoliation helps the skin in many ways -
- It reveals newer, fresher skin by removing the upper dead layer of skin.
- It improves blood circulation by massaging the skin cells.
- It improves cell turnover.
- It also helps to smooth and polish one’s skin.
- And finally, it gives skin a squeaky fresh glow.
But be careful about how often you physically exfoliate your skin. Three to four times a week is the ideal frequency. But it varies from person to person, and skin type to skin type. Too much physical exfoliation can lead to redness, irritation and not only make your skin rough and dry, but expose it to infection and bacteria. Always check how your skin feels after exfoliation, and increase or decrease the frequency accordingly.
Chemical exfoliation refers to exfoliating your skin using acids. Don’t get scared, we are not referring to the kind of acids you might be thinking about. Chemical exfoliation is actually gentler on the skin than Physical exfoliation. Mainly three kinds of acids for skin are used in chemical exfoliation –
1. AHAs or Alpha Hydroxy Acids
2. BHAs or Beta Hydroxy Acids
3. PHAs or Poly Hydroxy Acids
1. AHAs or Alpha Hydroxy Acids are mild natural acids for skin found in sugar and fruits like –
- Glycolic Acid (found in sugar)
- Citric Acid (found in oranges)
- Papain (enzyme found in Papaya)
- And Bromelain (an enzyme found in Pineapple)
- Sun damage
- Blemishes and spots
- Skin cleansing
They are ideal for normal to sensitive skin. Both skin care products and natural homemade masks can incorporate these acids for exfoliation.
2. BHAs or Beta Hydroxy Acids are another kind of Chemical exfoliation for skin using chemicals like Salicylic acid.
They are best for –
- Removing blackheads
- Removing excessive oil and sebum.
- And unclogging pores.
They are perfect for people with oily and acne prone skin.
3. PHAs or Poly Hydroxy Acids are the third and mildest kind of Chemical exfoliation for skin.
They help one’s skin by –
- Repairing skin damage
- Working like anti-oxidants
- And improve collagen production