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Beginner Guide to Chemical Exfoliation

Beginner Guide to Chemical Exfoliation

Chemical Exfoliation

Dull, uneven skin tone and clogged pores getting you down? It might be time to incorporate a chemical exfoliant into your skincare routine. Unlike harsh scrubs, chemical exfoliants utilize gentle acids or enzymes to dissolve the bonds holding onto dead, dull surface cells – revealing the brighter, smoother skin beneath. With regular use, the best chemical exfoliants can truly transform your complexion by reducing fine lines, fading discolouration, refining texture, and giving you an all-over radiant glow.

What is Chemical Exfoliation?

Chemical exfoliation is the process of removing built-up dead skin cells from the outermost layer of the skin using chemical compounds like acids or enzymes. This allows fresher, more evenly pigmented new cells to rise to the surface for a clarified, more youthful appearance. It also unclogs pores and boosts the penetration of other skincare products.

Types of Chemical Exfoliants

Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) like glycolic acid and lactic acid help break down the bonds holding dull surface cells together. This makes AHAs ideal for targeting textural concerns, uneven tone, fine lines, and signs of ageing.

Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs) are oil-soluble, allowing them to penetrate deep into pores to dissolve excess oil, sebum, and other pore-clogging debris. Salicylic acid is the most common BHA, renowned for its ability to clear blackheads and blemishes.

Polyhydroxy Acids (PHAs) are a gentler class of hydroxy acids that provide similar exfoliation to AHAs but with much less potential for irritation, making them great chemical exfoliants for sensitive skin.

Enzyme exfoliators like papaya and pineapple use fruit enzymes to dissolve dead cell buildup without harsh acids or beads. These are very gentle yet effective chemical exfoliants.

Axis-Y PHA Resurfacing Glow Peel

Axis-Y PHA Resurfacing Glow Peel 50ml

The Axis-Y PHA Resurfacing Glow Peel stands out as a beacon of skin rejuvenation. Infused with a 10% PHA blend, this gel-water peel delicately exfoliates while nurturing the skin with extracts from five fruits and vegetables. Cucumber, papaya, and centella asiatica soothe and clarify, unveiling a radiant complexion with each use.


  • Gently exfoliate to remove dead skin cells.
  • Boosts skin healing and reduces scarring.
  • Antioxidant-rich formulation protects from damage.
  • Vitamin C and K purify and brighten the skin.
  • Suitable for acne-prone and dull skin.

Key Ingredients:

  • Polyhydroxy Acid (PHA) 10%
  • Cucumber, Papaya, Centella Asiatica extracts
  • Camellia Flower Extract

By Wishtrend Mandelic Acid 5% Prep Water

By Wishtrend Mandelic Acid 5% Prep Water

Harnessing the power of mandelic acid, this prep water offers a gentle yet effective exfoliation experience. Mandelic acid, derived from bitter almonds, promotes cell turnover, lightens blemishes, and imparts a radiant glow. Enriched with panthenol and centella asiatica extract, it soothes and moisturizes the skin for a luminous finish.


  • Exfoliates dead skin cells without irritation.
  • Lightens blemishes and dark spots.
  • Combats signs of ageing to give a youthful complexion.
  • Suitable for all skin types.

Key Ingredients:

  • Mandelic Acid 5%
  • Panthenol, Centella Asiatica Extract, Beta-Glucan

Cosrx AHA 7 Whitehead Power Liquid

COSRX AHA 7 Whitehead Power Liquid

Say goodbye to whiteheads and excess sebum with this potent solution from Cosrx. Formulated with glycolic acid and hyaluronic acid, it tackles troubled skin, including acne, sun damage, and hyperpigmentation. Free of harmful additives, it offers a safe and effective way to achieve clearer, more radiant skin.


  • Exfoliates and deep cleanses pores.
  • Reduces whiteheads and blackheads.
  • Suitable for combination to oily skin.

Key Ingredients:

  • AHA Glycolic Acid
  • Pyrus Malus (Apple Water), Hyaluronic Acid

Cosrx BHA Blackhead Power Liquid

Cosrx BHA Blackhead Power Liquid

Combat blackheads and achieve smoother skin texture with the Cosrx BHA Blackhead Power Liquid. This innovative formula utilizes beta hydroxy acid (BHA) to soften and clear the skin, promoting a more even tone. Lightweight and non-irritating, it’s a game-changer for those seeking a transformative skincare experience.


  • Softens and clears skin texture.
  • Whitens and evens out skin tone.
  • Suitable for all skin types.

ISNTREE Chestnut BHA 2% Clear Liquid

Isntree Chestnut BHA 2% Clear Liquid

Include ISNTREE Chestnut BHA 2% Clear Liquid in your skincare routine. Featuring 2% salicylic acid, it enhances skin cell turnover to reveal a brighter, more radiant complexion. Enriched with hyaluronic acid and tannin extracts from chestnuts, it nourishes and refines the skin for a luminous finish.


  • Polishes away dead skin cells.
  • Refines and reduces the appearance of pores.
  • Suitable for all skin types.


No matter your skincare concerns, incorporating the right chemical exfoliant can truly transform a dull, lacklustre complexion into one that’s luminous and glowing. The key is selecting the appropriate type of acid or enzyme for your needs and skin type. Start slowly with lower concentrations until building more tolerance. Always follow with broad spectrum sunscreen too, as newly resurfaced skin will be more vulnerable to UV damage initially.

With consistent use, chemical exfoliation provides incredible anti-ageing benefits like diminishing fine lines and wrinkles, fading dark spots and hyperpigmentation, smoothing rough texture, clearing blemishes, and revealing an overall radiant glow. What was once an in-office treatment is now easy to achieve at home with innovative formulas for all skin types and budgets. Reveal your skin’s youthful luminosity by adding one of these best-selling chemical exfoliants to your routine!

Written By

Beauty Editorial Team




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