Exfoliating Soap vs Exfoliating Peels: How They Work and What Works Best

leaves around a bar of soap

Exfoliation is one of the best ways to revive your skin. It removes skin cells and cleanses pores, leaving your skin with a beautiful glow. Although exfoliating soaps and peels can soften your skin’s texture, which is necessary for all skin care routines, they aren’t the same thing.

What is the Difference Between an Exfoliating Soap and Peel?

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Exfoliating soaps or scrubs exfoliate your skin mechanically using friction. These products typically contain micro-grains of sugar, salt, sand, or bicarbonate. When these micro-grains are rubbed into the skin, it polishes the surface, deep cleans the face, and tones it all at once.

Exfoliating peels, like the enzymo spherides peeling cream, exfoliates the skin chemically. That means it uses active ingredients, like enzymes or fruit acids to dissolve dead skin cells. Peels can unclog your pores, smooth and soften the skin, and deep cleans it very quickly.

What Exfoliant to Use Based on Your Skin Type and Needs

Whether you prefer to use soaps, scrubs, or a peel, there are many myths that may be holding you back from trying them out. Here’s what skincare experts say about how to use exfoliants.

Exfoliants Are For All Skin Types

You’ve probably heard that exfoliants of any type are meant for oily complexions, not dry or combination skin types. That’s not true. All skins can benefit from exfoliation, but if you have sensitive or acne-prone skin, you should try a peel instead of scratchy, abrasive scrubs.

Exfoliants Are Usable All Season

Don’t just use exfoliators when you have a dry skin patch or during the winter. By this point, your skin is having a hard time maintaining moisture, so it’s better to start with a moisturizer. Either way, you should exfoliate your skin all year to wash away pollution, dead cells, and impurities.

Exfoliants Shouldn’t be Used Daily

Despite all the benefits exfoliants bring to your skin, you should never use them daily. If used too often, exfoliants can damage your hydrolipidic film that protects the epidermis. You may also break out more. It’s recommended to use exfoliants once or twice a week on most skin types.

Use Scrubs for Normal, Oily, or Combination Skin

If you have normal, oily, or a combination skin type, use scrubs instead of peels. If you decide to use peels anyway, you’ll notice that your skin will become redder and more sensitive. You can get a peel from dermatologists every few months if your skin needs some extra TLC.

Use Peels for Dry, Sensitive, or Acne-Prone Skin

Sensitive skin types know the struggle of finding a product that doesn’t damage their skin. Most people with dry, sensitive, or acne-prone skin may avoid peels because they sound too harsh, but they’re actually the best option. Scrubs with ultra-fine grains also work wonders.

Use Body Scrubs for the Rest of Your Body

Unlike the skin on your face, your body can tolerate hard-grained scrubs. In places where rougher skin grows, like on your elbows or knees, you can scrub more aggressively. Scrub your body before going in the shower, so you can prep it for shaving, body masks, and other creams.

Clean Your Skin and Follow the Instructions

Always clean your skin before applying an exfoliation soap, scrub, or peel. Exfoliants work best on damp skin, and you reduce the risk of pushing dirt farther into your epidermis. Make sure you follow the applicant’s instructions on your product to avoid tearing or scarring your skin.

Apply a Mask Immediately After Exfoliating

After you keep your peel on for a few minutes or gently rub the scrub or soap into your skin (avoiding the eyes), wash off the product with a damp face cloth. Then, put the hydration and moisture back into your skin by applying a green tea, tea tree oil, or coconut oil mask.

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