I hate scrubs.
Exfoliation is incredibly important in your skincare routine. But it is the step that you must get just right. Many exfoliators on the market are harsh and overly aggressive. Scrubs are, in my opinion, the worst. There are gentler, more effective options.
Exfoliation using a textured product is called manual or physical exfoliation. This kind of exfoliation really only removes skin cells that have already died but are still on the surface of the skin. Many physical exfoliants use particles such as apricot kernels, walnut seed, or salt with jagged, sharp edges that cause microscopic damage in the skin. In addition to being overly abrasive, it can often also be uneven as well.
Exfoliation that uses acids or enzymes is called chemical exfoliation. This may sound scary, but in actuality, they can be significantly gentler. The enzymes and acids dissolve the dead skin cells away, as well as taking the uppermost layer of living skin cells that are about ready to go. In doing this, you send a message to the lower levels of the skin to stimulate more cell production. These chemical exfoliants are often formulated with hydrating and nourishing ingredients, so you can exfoliate and nourish your skin in one easy step.
There are, of course, exceptions to every rule. If I use or recommend a scrub, it usually incorporates a blend of chemical (fruit enzymes or AHAs) as well as manual exfoliation. In this case, you’re getting all of the benefits of each kind. The caveat? Be certain that the particles that make up the scrub are perfectly rounded with no rough edges so as not to overabrade your skin.
Chemical exfoliation is, in my opinion, a great way to get multiple benefits in one product. You exfoliate, smooth texture, hydrate (if you pick a good one), stimulate cell turnover, and get better benefits from all your other products. And who doesn’t want more benefits in one product?