Thursday, June 18, 2009

Beauty Talk: Exfoliation - Part III - Chemical Exfoliation

This a continuation of our discussion about ways to exfoliate. In this post I’ll look at the chemical type of exfoliation.

Unlike mechanical one, it does not involve physical impact. Chemical exfoliation removes dead cells by dissolving or loosening up the glue-like substance that holds dead skin cells together.

Chemical exfoliants include various acids such as alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) or beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) and enzymes.

Examples of AHA are lactic acid, malic acid, glycolic acid and tartaric acid. BHA example is salicylic acid. The difference between AHA and BHA is based on their lipid (oil) solubility. Alpha hydroxy acids are water soluble only, while beta hydroxy acid is lipid (oil) soluble.

Enzymes are known as molecules that can speed up chemical reactions. When you apply enzyme on your skin, it comes into chemical reaction with keratin protein in dead skin cells breaking it up and loosening the cells. Example of exfoliating enzyme is proteolytic enzyme like subtilisin and papain.

Which exfoliant to choose?
Overall, chemical exfoliation is recommended for those suffering from acne. Most beneficial in this case will be BHA as due to its oil solubility it is able to penetrate deep into the pore and exfoliate the dead skin cells inside of it. Due to this beta hydroxy acid is good for oily skin with blackheads and whiteheads.

If you have thickened, sun-damaged skin and no problem with breakouts, go with Enzymes or Alpha hydroxy acids. Natural fruit enzymes like papain may be a good choice if you are looking for a milder exfoliant.

Examples of chemical exfoliating products for face include:
Vitamin C Re-Texturising Peel by The Body Shop
Papaya and Pineapple Peeling Kit by Alpha-H
Glycolactic Skin Renewal Peel Mask by Ren
Micro Mini Peel System by Ole Henriksen

Can't choose? Go for a mix of chemical and mechanical exfoliating ingredients like in Intense Smooth Out Micro-Peel by Carita. It contains grains as well as exfoliating enzymes.

Related Posts:
Beauty Talk: Exfoliation - Part II - Mechanical Exfoliation
Beauty Talk: Exfoliation - Part I - Skin Exfoliation
Beauty Review: YSL Exfoliating Lip Balm
Beauty Review: Sisley Buff and Wash Gel
Beauty Review: Caress Evenly Gorgeous


Ines said...

I'm a bit late to this post - I was waiting for the chemical peelings explanation since I'm trying to find one for myself and unfortunately, here I only have access to Carita of all you mentioned. And I'm not sure with which to go- fair, sensitive skin with large pores- so enzymes or AHA?

BeautyTalk said...

Hi Ines! I also have sensitive skin with large pores. I would advise to try first enzymes. Maybe from a natural source... like papaya, for example. I used to do weekly peels from fresh pieces of papaya and these worked great for my skin! They were mild enough but made skin fresher and pores smaller...

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