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Acids or microbeads: which is better for spot-free skin?

Acids or microbeads: which is better for spot-free skin?

Who wins the chemical vs physical exfoliator wars? Time to find out!

Few skincare steps are as important to ridding us of dark spots as exfoliating. Exfoliation rids our skin of dead cells, bacteria and excess oil —allowing new cells to regenerate, strengthening the outer layer of skin.

There are tons of exfoliating options out there. They’re usually divided into two categories: physical and chemical solutions.

But how do they work? And which one’s better for your skin? It’s time for a verdict!

What are physical exfoliators?

Physical products use tiny, grainy objects to create friction, digging into your pores to clean out the gunk. Think of them like sandpaper — only a whole lot softer on your skin!

There are lots of physical exfoliators, including jojoba beads, sugar grains and microbeads. Microbeads are tiny, super-spreadable plastic balls that make for a silky, easy-to-use texture. As they’re so smooth and round, microbeads provide a lot of lubrication when you apply them, letting the exfoliator do its job effectively without being too abrasive.

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And chemical exfoliators?

These products take a different approach. Instead of scrubbing dead skin cells off your face, they use mild acids to break them down.

Don’t worry, if you’re using a chemical exfoliator, you’re not going to burn your face off! We’re talking very low-percentage mixes of really gentle acids — like lactic acid. These kinds of exfoliators are great at breaking down skin nasties, and even better at leaving the healthy cells alone.

What’s better for me?

Both physical and chemical exfoliators have their own virtues. But if sun damage is the issue, a chemical exfoliator cleanser with lactic acid will work a little deeper than a physical exfoliator, which only attacks the surface. Chemical exfoliators are also especially useful if your skin is ultra-sensitive, as they don’t involve friction — so over-scrubbing won’t be a problem. 

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