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What Is The Difference Between Physical & Chemical Exfoliants?

If the term “exfoliate” conjures images of gritty scrubs and raw skin, it’s time to re-examine your skin care collection. Exfoliants can take many forms - both physical and chemical - and understanding the difference can take your skin care routine to the next level. Read on to uncover which type of Eminence Organics exfoliant is right for your unique complexion.

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What is exfoliation?

Exfoliation is one of the most important - and least understood - steps in your skin care routine. When done properly, it removes dead skin cells and polishes your skin’s surface to allow better absorption of the toners, serums and moisturizers that follow. With Eminence Organics, you’ll find both physical and chemical exfoliants that accomplish the task of smoothing your skin and preparing it for the next steps in your routine.


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Turmeric Energizing Treatment

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Physical exfoliants

The Pretty Pimple defines a physical exfoliant as “a cleanser that includes tiny scrubbing particles that you can feel with your bare hands.” These tiny granules physically slough off dead cells from the skin’s surface, revealing the healthier skin underneath. All of Eminence Organics physical exfoliants are free of harmful plastic microbeads. Instead, they contain naturally-sourced, organic ingredients like the poppy seed and walnut found in the Pear & Poppy Seed Microderm Polisher.

One physical exfoliant is the Turmeric Energizing Treatment formulated with turmeric, citrine gemstones and zeolite. It is the use of zeolite and turmeric powder that gives it grit and exfoliating benefits to re-invigorate the skin.

If you want to refine the appearance of pores and remove excess oil from the skin, the Charcoal Exfoliating Gel Cleanser is going to help reveal a balanced complexion. Formulated with charcoal, malachite gemstones and blue matcha, this is a supercharged purifying cleanser. It also contains the tagua seed as the star ingredient responsible for gently exfoliating and washing away impurities.

Some Eminence Organics physical exfoliants are:

Chemical exfoliants

A chemical exfoliant harnesses the power of naturally occurring enzymes and acids to remove dead skin cells at a much deeper level. AHAs (Alpha Hydroxy Acids) derived from natural substances like lactic acid (from milk) and citric acid (from fruit) remove the “glue” that holds dead skin cells together. BHAs (Beta Hydroxy Acids), like the salicylic acid naturally found in strawberries, are antibacterial and reach deep into pores to give skin a deeper clean.

The Mangosteen Daily Resurfacing Cleanser is an example of a chemical exfoliant because it contains a Lactic Acid Complex to slough off dead skin. It offers a milky gel that lightly lathers on your skin to restore a smooth, radiant complexion.

The Yam & Pumpkin Enzyme Peel is another chemical exfoliant that uses pineapple and papaya (AHAs), as well as willow bark extract (a BHA) to gently dissolve the dead cells that have settled on the skin’s surface.

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Yam & Enzyme Pumpkin Peel

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Eminence Organics has a variety of chemical exfoliants, including:

Can an exfoliant be both physical and chemical?

The short answer: yes! The Strawberry Rhubarb Dermafoliant is an example of an exfoliant with both physical and chemical properties. Rice extracts gently buff and polish the skin’s surface, while the salicylic acid found in strawberries dissolves the bonds that hold dead skin cells together and penetrates deep into pores to clear them of any gunk and grime.

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Strawberry Rhubarb Dermafoliant

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These Eminence Organics exfoliants are both physical and chemical:

Which exfoliant is right for me?

Eminence Organics has many different types of physical and chemical exfoliants to choose from. To determine which type of exfoliant best suits your skin’s needs, we recommend visiting an esthetician at an Eminence Organics authorized spa.

Do you use a physical or chemical exfoliant as part of your skin care routine? Which type do you prefer? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below and join the conversation on social media.

This post was originally published in February 2018 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.