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The Importance of Physical and Chemical Exfoliants

What is a chemical exfoliant?

Chemical exfoliants are acids formulated with different key ingredients that exfoliate dead skin cells, thus improving cell turnover and allowing for the skin to look brighter and for further skin care product application to fully absorb and take effect. Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA), Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA) and Polyhydroxy Acid (PHA) are forms of a chemical exfoliant that use different forms of acids.

AHA exfoliants include Glycolic, Lactic, and Mandelic acids. AHA’s are water-soluble, therefore, are great for exfoliating dead skin cells at the surface level. AHA’s aren’t the best choice if you have an oil on the surface of your skin. Therefore, it’s important to use a toner and a cleanser before to clean and balance the skin prior to using an AHA exfoliant.

BHA’s are oil and fat-soluble acids that penetrate deep into the skin and exfoliate pores, sebum and dead skin cells. BHA’s have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that are great for combination skin, oily and acne-prone skin. They have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that cut through oil and dead skin cells while reducing swelling and irritation from clogged pores and blemishes. Salicylic acid (SA) is a great form of a BHA exfoliant, along with SA derivatives such as lipo hydroxy acid.

PHA’s are similar to AHA’s in that they are great for exfoliating the surface of the skin. PHA’s are water-soluble acids that have a larger molecule making them a more gentle acid perfect for one with sensitive skin, rosacea and eczema. PHA’s include gluconolactone, lactobionic acid, and galactose. PHA’s are also great for texture through stimulation of the skin’s renewal process.

What is a physical exfoliant?

Physical exfoliants are designed to physically or manually break up the dead skin cells that are lying on top of your skin. Oftentimes they come in the form of a facial scrub, pastes or gel formulations that are part of a cleanser. Other forms of a physical exfoliant include facial brushes and skincare tools created to physically break up dead skin cells. They aid in acne production due to the prevention of pores becoming clogged. However, for some skin types, physical exfoliants can be too abrasive and do more harm than good. People that have a history of rosacea, sensitive skin, prone to peeling/irritation, or present active breakout should avoid physical exfoliants. Another great way to physically exfoliate the skin would be dermaplaning. Dermaplaning is offered at GFaceMD and is an amazing way to exfoliate the surface of the skin while leaving the skin smooth and free from dead skin cells and unwanted hair!

When to incorporate exfoliants into the skincare routine?

Exfoliants are often forgotten and missed in one’s skincare routine. They greatly impact one’s skin if incorporated correctly with a selection of exfoliants right for their skin needs. Exfoliants can be incorporated after the skin is cleansed, further allowing the acids to effectively exfoliate and target pores and dead skin cells. Exfoliating ingredients can be formulated in serums, cleansers, serums and facials. Soyier skincare products such as the Nettoyant Exfoliant: AHA | BHA Exfoliating Cleanser, Lavage d’Acne: Clarifying Acne Wash, Sérum de Performance Clair: Clear Performance Acne Serum and Peau Pure Tissu: Acne Correction Pads are great ways one can incorporate exfoliants into their skin care routine. Exfoliating facials are another way to step up your skin game. The Hydrafacial is a great form of an exfoliating facial that includes exfoliants such as salicylic acid and glycolic acid paired with hydrating serums such as hyaluronic acid that leaves one clean, fresh and glowing. A Hydrafacial can be customized to meet one’s skin needs and is offered at GFaceMD. Incorporating a Hydrafacial into the skincare routine every 4 to 6 weeks with visible results lasting up to 1 to 2 weeks will leave one’s skin looking and feeling amazing!

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