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Everything you ever wanted to know about chemical exfoliation and why it works

If you’re not already on board with chemical exfoliation, there’s only one question: why?

A few years ago, a class of exfoliants known as chemical exfoliators came into mainstream attention. These liquids, also known as acids, arrived in the form of serums and treatments, tagged with codes like AHA, BHA, PHA and the like. Though skincare jargon is always overwhelming, a little poke into the beauty encyclopedia that is Google unveiled that chemical exfoliators are an indispensable part of any skincare routine, and if one has not yet discovered the magic, it’s never too late.

Chemical exfoliators are tagged with solving an array of dermatological issues, ranging from clogged pores, visible ageing, hyperpigmentation, acne…the list has no seeming end. Though the category seems to err on the side of “too good to be true”, there is a gamut of scientific backing to prove that chemical exfoliators work and that they do what they claim to (which seems like a lot to ask for in today’s overcrowded skincare universe).

While it may not be the elixir to eternal youth, chemical exfoliators have become a holy grail inclusion to many a skincare routine, including ours. To get you started on this product, we’ve put together a Chemical Exfoliation 101 guide, filled with resources breaking down what they are, when to use them, what our favourites are and more. Thank us later.

what is chemical exfoliation

An expert explains: what is chemical exfoliation?

We ask an expert to break down everything about chemical exfoliation, including the differences between AHAs and BHAs and how they help renew your skin.

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Our favourite chemical exfoliators

From serums to moisturisers, these are our tried-and-tested chemical exfoliation faves.

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How chemical exfoliation resolves hyperpigmentation

Chemical exfoliation can treat blemish scars and discolouration on your skin. Here’s how.

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Beatrice Bowers
Features Editor
Beatrice Bowers writes about beauty, drinks, and other nice things. When not bound to her keyboard, she moonlights as a Niffler for novels and can be found en route to bankruptcy at your nearest bookstore. Don't tell her boss.