Chemical vs. Physical Exfoliation

Chemical vs. Physical Exfoliation

Feb 11, 2023Zaryab Fayyaz

Exfoliation is an important and essential part of any skincare routine that gives you smooth,healthy, bright and glowy skin. Exfoliation removes dead skin cells and other impurities from the skin. Without exfoliation, dead skin cells keep building up on the skin, causing clogged pores, leading to dull skin and breakouts. Exfoliants are the “dusters” of the skincare world.

Exfoliants types

Exfoliants are made up of two types:

  1.   Physical
  2.   Chemical

What are physical exfoliants?

Physical exfoliants are small, rough, grainy scrub-like particles. These granules are rubbed on the skin and buff away the layer of dead skin cells and other debris, revealing youthful, smooth skin.

Types of physical exfoliants

These days, there are so many different types of physical exfoliating agents:

  • Exfoliating Scrubs
  • Exfoliating Powders
  • Brushes
  • Sponges
  • Microdermabrasion wands

Pros and Cons of physical exfoliation


  •         Instant results
  •         Encourages blood circulation
  •         Eliminated dead cells and waste
  •         Improved the skin's elasticity
  •         It comes with a pleasant fragrance


  •         Incompatible with delicate skins
  •         May complicate skin issues like folliculitis

What are chemical exfoliants?

Chemical exfoliants remove dead skin cells using chemicals that break the bonds between skin cells to loosen up the dead skin making it easy to wipe away. Chemical exfoliants are gentler than physical exfoliation. Different types of chemical exfoliating agents:

  •       AHAs
  •       BHAs
  •       Enzymes

Pros and Cons of chemical exfoliation


  •         Ideal for delicate skins
  •         Presents no adverse effect
  •         Possess no abrasive component
  •         It comes with a variety of nutrients


  •         It takes a long time to exfoliate the skin thoroughly


Physical Exfoliation

Chemical Exfoliation

Physical exfoliation involves physical abrasion in the form of small granules and beads, a wash cloth or a brush.

Dissolve intercellular glue that holds dead cells together, is in the form of peels, serums, cleansers or toners.

Help with superficial imperfections. Promotes blood circulation.

Help on getting rid of active acne and hyperpigmentation.

No measurable anti-ageing benefits.

Have measurable anti-ageing benefits.

Shows instant results.

Seeps into the deep layers of the skin and offers long lasting results.

Little harsh on the skin.

Gentle on skin.

Ingredients it contain:

Jojoba beads

Bambo powder

Sugar and salt granules

Ingredients it contain:

Alpha hydroxy acids like

Glycolic acid

Lactic acid

Citric and malic and beta hydroxy acids like salicylic acid.

Over use of physical exfoliation can damage skin and can cause infection and acne.

Over use of chemical exfoliation can compromise skin barrier and aggravate skin issues.

Suitable for all skin types except sensitive skin.

Suitable for all skin types including sensitive skin.


So which should you go for?

The truth is the choice depends on what your skin type is and what it can handle. Whichever you choose, be sure to not exfoliate more than 1-2 times a week. If you are using a physical scrub, do not rub your hands too hard. Apply the scrub lightly with the least amount of pressure. With a chemical peel, let it sit on your freshly cleansed face for a few minutes before washing it off with lukewarm water. Pat your face dry and follow it up with a moisturiser. In the case of an exfoliating toner, apply the product gently on your face using a cotton pad or even your hands. Be careful about your under-eye area. Let it soak in a little before moving onto a moisturiser.

With chemical exfoliants, keep in mind that the active ingredients can make your skin sensitive to the sun so be sure to follow up with a sunscreen irrespective of whether the weather is hot or cold, sunny or cloudy, or whether you are indoors or outdoors.


Your choice of exfoliant largely depends on your skin type and personal preferences. Be consistent and gentle with your skincare routine, and your skin will glow with its own natural radiance. Let the right exfoliant reveal the beauty that lies beneath.

In order to  keep your skin safe, MaGéAu Naturel has developed products using natural products which are safe on skin and are free from all kinds of chemicals. So, visit our website and place your order now.

 Also tell us which is your favourite exfoliator in the comments!




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