The Yin and Yang of Exfoliants
Let's get physical
You might be most familiar with physical exfoliants, which gently smooth the surface of your skin the way sandpaper works on wood. Physical exfoliants mechanically remove dead cells from your skin. Shaving is a great example, as are granule cleansers and scrubs. Another form of physical exfoliation is microdermabrasion, which helps push off dead cells through a process that is much like sandblasting (obviously without the mess!). Physical exfoliants are great for people with oily skin, but they can be used by those with other skin types.
A chemical dream team
The other type of exfoliants, which you should definitely familiarize yourself with, are chemical based. These products work by dissolving the "glue" between cells (think of your skin as a brick wall, the cells as the bricks and the glue as the mortar). Glycolic acid, the main ingredient that makes this all happen, works in tandem with a medley of exfoliating ingredients called Tetrafoliant. If you have sensitive skin, chemical exfoliating products are right up your alley, but, in actuality, they are great for all skin types.
Can you have the best of both worlds?
Yes. But, as a rule of thumb, you should never use physical and chemical exfoliants together, as this could cause irritation and, honestly, who wants that. The best thing to do is to alternate between the two. One night dab on a chemical exfoliant, the next night scrub on a granule cleanser.
Go ahead, pick one!
If you have normal skin, try a daily exfoliator like Beauty RX Daily Exfoliating Therapy Cream, which has 8% of that oh-so-wonderful ingredient, glycolic acid, to give those pesky dead cells an extra nudge. If your dermatologist recommends a stronger product, with 10% or 15% glycolic acid, try BeautyRX Maximum Therapy Exfoliating Gel. Stronger exfoliants are best used with a gentler, daily exfoliant. Remember, not together, but on alternating nights.
Are you already using exfoliants? Tell us what you think!