The New Way To Exfoliate

A lot of the time, when you attach the word ‘chemical’ to something, it automatically gets a bad rap or at least met with scepticism. I won’t lie, when I was first introduced to chemical exfoliation, I was hesitant to embrace it.

I was a die-hard fan of exfoliating scrubs. Blackheads have always been a concern for me so my uneducated teen-self began using a ‘daily blackhead scrub’ and never stopped. Well, that is until I really began to understand the benefits of chemical and enzyme exfoliation and the numerous ways it’s better than physical exfoliation.

A chemical exfoliator utilises the powers of naturally occurring Alpha Hydroxyl Acids (AHA’s) such as glycolic and lactic acid. The gentle acids work by eating away at layers of dead skin on your face or body. The removal of these tops layers triggers it to go into repair mode and reproduce collagen. With consistent use, this action of speeding up the regeneration of your skin helps to reduce fine lines, even skin tone and texture, plump the skin and reduce acne and the nasty marks it leaves behind. As if the list of benefits couldn’t get any longer, AHA’s do all of this without damaging the surface of your skin like the abrasives in physical exfoliators do.

But as magic as these products are, they don’t come without slight down sides. When you first begin using them and your skin hasn’t built up a tolerance, you can experience some dryness, redness and stinging when you apply the product. They also make your skin more susceptible to UV damage so it’s best to use them at night time and invest in a great quality sunscreen.

When combined with a diligent skin care routine and restorative and moisturising serums, chemical exfoliators can create a drastic improvement to your skin tone. Keep reading for a few of my favourites.

  1. Aspect Fruit Enzyme Mask

This mask has now replaced my tri-weekly scrub. Firstly, it’s ultra-hygienic packaging had me sold but once I began rubbing the gel-like formula onto my face and began seeing the dead skin ball up and roll away I was equal parts grossed out and impressed. It leaves your skin smooth without over drying and the benefits are immediate.

  1. Endota Spa AHA Transformation Peel

These two stage wipes offer a slightly heavier duty AHA exfoliation option. The first wipe is a spa strength chemical exfoliant and the second is full of nourishing ingredients that help to replenish your skin. After about a week I began to notice my pigmentation darkening as it came to the surface and at the end of the 14 days, my skin tone was noticeably more even and smooth in texture.

  1. Peter Thomas Roth Un-Wrinkle Peel Pads

Convenient and effective; two words that perfectly describe the PTR peel pads. They’re easy to use, mess free and the slight tingle you get when using them means they’re really working. Visible results aren’t immediate so you do have to commit a few weeks to see their full potential but they’re gentle enough to be used daily and the boost of antioxidants in them doesn’t leave your skin overly dry.

  1. The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% + HA 2%

If you’re looking for a more affordable option, The Ordinary’s products are always the way to go. This artificial peeling solution can be applied daily and offers a mild chemical exfoliation that offers good results over time. It’s formulated with Hyaluronic Acid to boost hydration but you will need to up your moisturising came with this product. It’s tingling and can leave sensitive skin a little red so go for the 5% solution if you’re new to AHA’s.


  1. June Jacobs Perfect Pumpkin Peeling Enzyme Mask

The delicious smell alone makes this mask a winner but the fact it’s all natural is probably the best reason to give it a go. It uses natural ingredients that mimic the same effects as AHA’s so you get the same smooth, even and glowing skin with the added benefit of intense detoxification.


Featured image via Getty Images.