Exfoliation and Uncovering your Natural Glow!

What does an Exfoliator do?

An exfoliator removes dead skin cells that clog pores and make skin dull. Frequent use of an exfoliator promotes circulation and maintains a younger skin texture. Even if you’re lucky enough to have relatively problem-free skin, you still need to exfoliate regularly. You can use either a scrub or an enzyme-based exfoliator.


There are two main types of exfoliators:


  1. Chemical/Penetrating: These work by dissolving the ‘cellular glue’ that binds the skin’s surface cells together. The depth and penetration of how the glycolic acid achieves this depends on two primary factors: 
    1. Strength of the acid (40% concentration or lower percentages) and;
    2. Duration of time that the product remains effectively working on the skin
  • Rapid: 2 minutes (EllieGlow 40% Glycolic Acid Deep Renewal Rapid Exfoliator Bundle)
  • Extended: Apply daily to maintain an acid-based pH level (like EllieGlow Rooibos Exfoliating Cleanser or EllieGlow Charcoal Cleanser and AHA LemonGrass Toner)
  1. Manual: Fine granules dislodge the skin’s surface cells through friction (like EllieGlow Rooibos Exfoliating Cleanser or EllieGlow Charcoal Cleanser for your face and Rich Walnut Exfoliator for your body).

Exfoliation Methods: Mechanical Versus Chemical/Penetrating

Regular exfoliation helps prevent dull skin, clogged pores, and evens out skin discoloration as well as allowing skincare products to better penetrate the skin’s surface and provide superior results. This helps Anti-Aging products hit their targets much better!


Chemical Exfoliation

Chemical exfoliation uses Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and glycolic acids, citric acids, enzymes (Papaya – Papain), etc. to aid in cell turnover and cause the superficial epidermal layers to exfoliate without any friction.


Glycolic Acid

The best way to make sure your skin is turning over skin cells properly is to use the 40% Glycolic Acid Deep Renewal Exfoliator at least every week to 10 days. This chemical exfoliator is one of the best on the market.



Enzymes can be helpful in a much gentler way to exfoliate superficial layers of skin. Enzymes will help relieve the dull appearance of skin and may help with fine lines and mild discoloration. We use Papain and Mango enzymes combined with extremely lenient manual exfoliators, polishing jojoba beads in EllieGlow Rooibos Exfoliating Cleanser, and Charcoal Powder in the EllieGlow Charcoal Cleanser.


Mechanical Exfoliation

Mechanical exfoliation (also known as physical) involves using tools, like brushes, sponges, loofahs, or abrasive scrubs that create enough friction to loosen and slough away dead skin cells, debris, and oils. With mechanical exfoliation, it’s critical to use an exfoliator that won’t damage skin cells. Irritating the skin is always a bad idea!


If you are using exfoliating ‘tools’ please be gentle! Avoid abrasive sponges, pumice stones, harsh facial brushes and loofahs. If you have to, pick softer options – especially for your face, neck, and delicate skin. EllieGlow buffers and manual exfoliator like EllieGlow Rooibos Exfoliating Cleanser or EllieGlow Charcoal Cleanser for your face and Rich Walnut Exfoliator for your body containing small, smooth exfoliating agents. Why? Size and consistency is important. Larger, jagged pieces tend to be more abrasive and can cause micro-tears in the skin. As an example, in the EllieGlow Rooibos Exfoliating Cleanser we use gentle jojoba beads as a very gentle manual exfoliation element. Jojoba beads are gentle, non-jagged, and a small size. Perfect for manual exfoliation without damage.


Is Chemical exfoliation better than mechanical?

At EllieGlow, we believe that a combination of regular chemical exfoliation and gentle regular buffing beats out harsh and deep mechanical exfoliation hands down – especially for facial skin – and certainly for more mature skin. Harsh mechanical exfoliation like dermabrasion has its benefits but must be used only under a dermatologist’s or doctor’s care. Facial skin becomes more delicate over time and harsh and deep manual exfoliation using at home treatments can irritate and damage your skin, especially if you are too heavy-handed. Also, you can get better results with chemical exfoliation. For example, in most cases you can actually trigger better cell turnover and more improvement in wrinkles, even out skin tone, and improve discoloration.