Why chemical exfoliants you ask? Well If I were president of the world, I’d actually ban most physical scrubs. ESPECIALLY St. Ives Apricot Scrub. That one is pure evil. The majority of physical scrubs contain jagged particles that create micro-tears in the skin. And if you’re sensitive, or acne prone, you could actually be doing more harm than good, as scrubbing your skin with scratchy particles will cause your immune system to activate, creating inflammation, and possibly new spots. The great thing about chemical exfoliants is that they nibble away the connections between dead skin cells, allowing them to gently slough off, no scrubbing, rubbing, or otherwise irritating your face required. As long as you use the right product and don’t jump in with a high strength peel if you’re not used to it, chemical exfoliants are actually tolerated better than scrubs, and are in fact recommended in conditions such as rosacea as they can help the skin strengthen itself! Mad ted.
Today I’m going to walk you through my favourite chemical exfoliant products. I’ve included a product for every step of your routine, but I should emphasise that you don’t use them all at once. Pick one and see how you get on. Perhaps you really love your current serum and don’t want to replace it for something else. That’s no problem, I’ve mentioned a cleanser or a toner you can use instead. I’ve also given two products in each category, one gentle (best for first time users, or those with sensitive skin) and one strong (for those who have been using chemical exfoliants for a while). As always, if you have any questions, leave a comment below and I’m more than happy to help.
Gentle – GloTherapeutics Clear Acne Cleanser
Strong – Neostrata Foaming Glycolic Wash
Gentle – Clarins Gentle Exfoliator
Strong – Malin + Goetz 10% Glycolic Acid Pads
Ziaja Sensitive Enzyme Peeling Mask contains papain, which is an enzyme from papaya. Having a larger structure than most of the AHAs, this is going to work mainly on the surface of the skin, meaning it’s a great pick for sensitive skin to slough away surface skin layers without irritation. Also it’s purse friendly at under a fiver! You can pick one up here for €4.99
Ren Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask is my hangover cure. Leave it on for 10 minutes, hop in the shower and rinse off, moisturise well, and your skin is transformed from grey and dead to glowing. Containing a combination of fruit acids (glycolic acid, lactic acid, tartaric acid and papain) this is a potent AHA mask and an instant brightening fix for dull skin. In fact the Ziaja Sensitive Enzyme Peeling Mask is the poor-man’s version of this!