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Chemical Exfoliation (Pros & Cons)

I’m sure you’ve heard before that you need to exfoliate for clean and healthy skin. Let’s take a deep dive into the world of chemical exfoliation!

What is Chemical Exfoliation

These come in forms such as retinols, retinaldehyde and retinals. Which can be prescribed by a doctor, or found over the counter in drug stores. Retinols work from the bottom of the skin, outwards, taking 4-6 weeks to notice results and make your skin photosensitive. This method is a little risky, because without the proper education, you can actually further damage your skin.

Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA)

Chemical exfoliants also include acid forms- such as Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA’s), which are acids derived from fruits (mandelic, citric), milk (lactic), azelaic (wheat), glycolic (sugar), and many others.

AHA’s work by digesting the intracellular glue that holds skin cells together, allowing the skin to shed, and speeding up the process at which new skin cells are made. At-home treatments can be used 1-3 times a week. They come in different potencies, all the way up to professional chemical peels.

Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHA)

Another acidic form of exfoliation is known as Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHA). The only common BHA is salicylic acid. This works best for oily, clogged and acneic skin types or thicker skin. Different potencies are available and it’s best to utilize them 1-3 times a week. There are other chemical exfoliants- TCA, Jessner, etc, however, those are best performed by a professional in a controlled setting with an abundance of education.

Enzymatic Exfoliation

The last form of chemical exfoliation is enzymatic. Enzymes work similarly to acids, digesting the intercellular glue and the surface level skin cells. The most common enzymatic exfoliators are- pumpkin (pepo cucurbita) enzyme, papaya (papain) enzyme, cinnamon enzyme, and pineapple (bromelain) enzyme.

These are best for sensitive skin types, as all but the cinnamon enzyme have anti-inflammatory properties. Depending on skin sensitivity and potency, Enzymatic exfoliation can be used once a week to once a month.

Why You Should Use Chemical Exfoliation

Chemical exfoliation doesn’t typically give you the immediate satisfaction of physical exfoliation. That’s why, if you aren’t using prescription or professional level products, TESS is the perfect companion to your chemical skincare routine. It’s not recommended to use TESS within 2 days of chemical exfoliation, so use the device 2 times a week when on a chemical exfoliant regimen.

As always, please consult a TESS representative with your individual skincare needs!

Reese Mangaoang Master Esthetician TESS Consultant

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