Manual vs Chemical Exfoliation

One of the first things we’re told when we adopt a skincare regime is that we need to exfoliate. And with good reason. Exfoliation is a crucial step in good skincare and almost all skin types will benefit from regular exfoliation.

We know it feels good, but what you might not know is that not all exfoliation is created equal.

That supermarket scrub tucked away in your bathroom cabinet may be doing you more harm than good. So what’s the best choice for you and your skin? Read on to find out why the regular exfoliators are out and Vitamin A is in.

Manual Exfoliation

A manual or physical exfoliator can be a scrub often containing either plastic microbeads or organic particles such as rice, corn husk or nutshell.

These rough pieces are used to slough away the surface layer of your skin. It really feels like it’s doing something, so it’s a satisfying experience.

When used at home, though, we tend to overuse our scrubs. We might use them too often, scrub too hard or for too long. With improper use, manual scrubs can leave skin inflamed, sensitised and damaged.

If there’s one skincare rule to top all others it’s that harsh is never good!

If you also use a facial brush as part of your cleansing routine, this is even more manual exfoliation. See how easy it is to overdo it?

Chemical Exfoliation

Enter the wonderful world of enzymes and acids.

Don’t be turned off by the word “chemical”! A chemical exfoliant has nothing to do with synthetic compounds, but rather the skin cell ‘eating’ properties of Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) and Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs).

AHAs include glycolic, lactic, citric, and malic acid. They tend to come from fruits but can also be produced synthetically.

BHAs are oil-soluble and not only benefit skin texture, but also unclog pores and remove sebum. Examples of BHAs include salicylic acid and tropic acid.

You might have come across these acids if you’ve ever had a peel at a skin clinic, where they are used at a higher concentration than store-bought products.

Used correctly, AHAs and BHAs can deliver excellent results while being gentle on skin, penetrating past the surface layer and tackling more than one skin concern.

The Wonders of Vitamin A

We’ve saved the best for last: Granactive retinoids.

If you’ve never heard of it, don’t worry, you’ll be a big fan in no time.

Without getting too much into the science, retinoids are a group of Vitamin A derivatives, all of which work in essentially the same way to boost cell turnover (i.e. exfoliation), improve tone and texture, stimulate collagen and even work on fine lines and wrinkles and hyperpigmentation.

More than just removing the dry, flaky skin from our faces, vitamin A works on the inside of our skin to address lots of our skin issues. It’s an all-round super skin improver that most skin types can tolerate.

If you’re looking to reverse the effects of sun damage or need anti-aging, brightening, even tone, scar and hyperpigmentation fading and exfoliation, look no further. Granactive retinoid is a powerful product that will deliver results.

But it’s important that you buy good quality.

Studies have shown that ordinary Vitamin A creams lasted less than an hour on the skin while the high-performance creams lasted several hours and were still performing a day later. You get what you pay for!

What exfoliation method is right for you?

You can go with the supermarket manual exfoliator or even the chemical exfoliator in a clinic, but if you want real, dramatic and long-lasting results, Vitamin A wins every time. Find it in our signature REM Serum.


Note: Retinols and Vitamin A products are not suitable while pregnant or breastfeeding.