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Physical vs. Chemical Exfoliation: Which is Better for Your Skin?


Exfoliation should be an essential part of your skincare routine. The process helps remove dead skin cells, residue, dirt and other impurities. It also helps eliminate flakiness by nourishing dry areas of skin.

Exfoliating your skin one to three times a week can give you healthy, glowing skin. You don’t need to do it every day to see results. In fact, overdoing it can create problems.

When considering skin exfoliation, you will come across two different kinds of methods: physical and chemical. Both of them can give you glowing skin, but there are some big differences.

Physical Exfoliation

Physical exfoliation includes facial scrubs and dry brushing. Many people actually prefer this method to chemical exfoliation since it’s so easy to do at home on a regular basis. 

Facial scrubs are usually made from sugar, salt, ground fruit pits or nut shells, or other abrasive substances that gently scrub away the dead skin. Dry brushing is pretty much what it says it is: using a certain type of brush to remove dead, dry skin from all over your body.


  • Allows you more control of exfoliation
  • Can be switched up easily — You can use different scrubs for different skin types. And when you get tired of one scent or want to try one with different ingredients, you can quickly change the one you’re using or make your own.
  • Instant results
  • Glowing skin


  • Can be too rough on your skin
  • Can cause redness or blotchiness
  • Some scrubs contain micro-beads that are not eco-friendly


Chemical Exfoliation

Chemical exfoliation relies on the use of acids such as glycolic acid and salicylic acid that induce exfoliation in your skin. Based on the kind of peel you are using, chemical exfoliation can either be limited to the epidermis (outer layer of skin) or penetrate deeper.


  • Gives you amazing results
  • Works very effectively
  • Efficiently cleanses your skin


  • More expensive
  • Can leave skin sensitive to sunlight
  • Can really irritate your skin
  • Can cause breakouts and redness

Which One to Pick?

When it comes to picking a good exfoliation method, a lot depends on the condition of your skin. If you have sensitive skin, you might want to avoid chemical exfoliation products as they can end up doing more harm than good.

It is also a good idea to start out with physical exfoliation. Some people prefer to use physical exfoliation on a regular basis in order to boost the health of their skin.

At the end of the day, your personal preference plays a huge role. Before making a drastic change, it’s always good to a dermatologist — especially if you are considering using chemical peels.

One last factor that you should pay attention to is the quality of exfoliation products. Using an all-natural exfoliator made with high-quality, organic ingredients will not only strip away dead skin cells but also nourish your skin.

Natural exfoliators get your blood moving to help increase cellular repair and the production of collagen. You’ll see even more benefits than just glowing skin.

Still unsure? Start here

If you’re looking for a place to start, I recommend Dirty-Ex Sweet Revenge from Primal Life Organics. It’s the ultimate facial sugar scrub that deeply cleanses the skin of bacteria and impurities.

Dirty Ex Sweet Revenge by Primal Life Organics

Sweet Revenge is crafted with cane sugar, caffeine crystals, sweet almond oil, french green clay, grapefruit peel oil, and pineapple, guava and apple extracts.

These natural ingredients help moisturize and firm the skin and stop breakouts. They also help prevent premature aging, inflammation, cellulite, and skin discoloration. To top it all off, the caffeine crystals help reduce puffiness and smooth fine lines and wrinkles.

If you’re looking for more exfoliation methods, check out this previous blog post about three simple ways to exfoliate the years away. 

Try a natural exfoliation method for yourself and find out how radiant you can be.

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