Skin cell turnover is a natural process by which older cells die and new cells replace them to keep skin healthy, glowing, and fresh. When we’re young, new skin cells replace the older ones every month or so, but as early as twenty years of age, this rapid turnover starts slowing down. When that happens, chemical exfoliation is the solution. Our guide on chemical exfoliators and their benefits will show you how you can keep your complexion strong, clear, and youthful for life.
Simply put, chemical exfoliants are compounds that remove dead skin cells, promoting new cells to take their place. They come in different types and strengths, from over-the-counter products to stronger ones that are usually applied by a dermatologist in the form of a chemical peel. Chemical exfoliants tend to be better than physical exfoliants, like scrubs, because they are less harsh on skin while still working below the surface. The list of concerns that chemical exfoliation can address is long: acne, scarring, dark spots, sun damage, fine lines, wrinkles, and more. At the very least, you can count on regular use to reveal smoother skin that looks more even in tone, clog-free pores, and a reduction in the signs of aging.
Before you add any chemical exfoliant to your skin care routine, keep in mind that they can make skin more sensitive to sun, so it’s best to use them at a time when you can avoid sun exposure. Additionally, try to avoid exfoliation of any kind immediately before or after an aesthetic treatment.
The types of exfoliants most commonly used for skin care fall into three categories: AHAs, BHAs, and PHAs. There are also a number of naturally-occurring plant enzymes which can be used as well.
AHAs include glycolic, lactic, citric, and malic acid. Glycolic is the strongest and is often found diluted in toner, adding an exfoliating kick to creams and lotions, or at a higher concentration as an at-home chemical peel. Lactic, citric, and malic are weaker, and therefore good for sensitive skin. They are often found in combinations to cover all your exfoliation needs. AHAs are great for surface issues, improving the texture and tone of skin.
BHAs include salicylic acid and tropic acid. They are oil-soluble, which means they are able to penetrate deeper into the skin than AHAs. This quality makes them ideal for unclogging pores and removing acne-causing sebum for clear, blemish-free skin.
PHAs are less recognized, but still powerful active ingredients in skin care. They include gluconolactone and lactobionic acid, which have larger molecules and therefore don’t penetrate skin as deeply. However, this makes them less irritating for those with sensitive skin, while still providing gentle exfoliation.
Plant enzymes from fruits like papaya, pineapple, and pomegranate are also great natural exfoliators for sensitive skin types. You can find them in a number of skin care products, or make a DIY mask at home by mashing the fruit and applying directly to the face. Leave on for 10-15 minutes, then rinse and follow with your usual skin care routine.
While retinol is not technically a chemical exfoliant as it doesn’t break the bonds of dead cells that build up on the skin, it does aid in cell turnover and has similar anti-aging benefits. However, you may want to speak to your dermatologist before combining chemical exfoliants and retinol into your routine together, as their combined strength could irritate skin.
Chemical exfoliators are a good accompaniment to a regular aesthetic treatment plan. Whatever your primary skin concern, whether it’s aging, sun damage, dullness, dryness, or acne, aesthetic treatments are designed to help you reach your complexion goals quickly, comfortably, and with no downtime.
Award-winning Venus Viva™ MD skin resurfacing treatments use radio frequency energy to gently correct skin texture and repair signs of skin damage. The treatments improve the appearance of acne scars, stretch marks, rosacea, enlarged pores, deep wrinkles, and uneven skin texture and pigmentation. Advanced NanoFractional Radio Frequency delivers much better results than with superficial treatments like chemical peels and microdermabrasion, but with significantly less pain and downtime than with laser skin resurfacing. This process helps to naturally increase collagen and elastin fibers, resulting in smoother, firmer skin that looks noticeably more youthful.
Non-invasive radio-frequency-based (RF) wrinkle reduction treatments with Venus Versa™ and Venus Legacy™ use gentle heating to stimulate collagen and elastin production under the skin’s surface. Your body’s natural production of these essential elements begins to slow as you age, but RF treatments kickstart them back up again. These energy treatments are an effective, pain-free way to preserve and restore your skin to a smoother, more youthful-looking vitality.
Venus Glow™ facial renewal treatments extract and remove dirt, excess oil, and impurities from below the skin’s surface, resulting in a more radiant, refreshed complexion. It’s a fast, safe, and effective way to leave skin feeling noticeably healthier, cleaner, and more hydrated. And boosted by our new, innovative line of Glow Serums™, your Venus Glow™ treatment can be tailored to treat any number of other skin concerns, such as acne, rosacea, or premature aging.
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