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Three Types of Exfoliation

Three Types of Exfoliation | Photo by Eloise Ambursley via Unsplash.com

Our skin is constantly turning over—shedding skin cells in order for fresher, younger cells to push their way to the skin’s surface. But as we age, this turnover process slows, forcing us to find new solutions for sloughing away dead skin that can build up and dull the complexion. Enter exfoliation: the best way to resurface fatigued, dull skin. 

Whether physical, chemical or enzymatic, the right exfoliator will help unclog pores, smooth skin’s texture and reveal a brighter, more refined complexion. The key to finding your winning formula all depends on your concerns, your skin type, and sensitivity level. 


The most traditional of the exfoliation methods, physical exfoliators use small granules—or bristles in the case of body brushing—to manually scrub away dead skin cells. (Think microdermabrasion.) This type of exfoliation can be irritating for sensitive or highly reactive skin types, including those who are prone to acne. 

We like to reserve our physical exfoliators for the body as the skin on our arms, legs and torso tends to be more resilient against abrasive formulas. Our Coco Rose Body Polish uses sugar combined with highly moisturizing virgin coconut oil for skin that is buffed and hydrated with the light scent of coconut and rose petals, while our Amethyst Exfoliating Body Polish uses real amethyst crystal powder and the divine scent of Jasmine Sambac oil to reveal calm, luxuriously soft skin.


Among the most common types of chemical exfoliators are alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs), beta-hydroxy acids (BHA), and poly-hydroxy acids (PHAs), which work by combining with the lipids in the outermost layer of the skin and dissolving them so that the dead skin cells break away. AHA’s, BHA’s, and PHAs break down the “glue” that holds dead skin cells together.

AHA’s are the most common types of acids for light facial peels and natural AHA’s, like fruit acids, are excellent exfoliators for all skin types.

Prism Exfoliating Glow Potion is a rainbow of natural fruit acids—bilberry lactic, sugar cane glycolic, orange peel citric and apple malic acids—natural AHA’s that work together to brighten and smooth skin. This super lightweight serum is highly effective, but gentle enough for everyday use, even for sensitive skin types. For a skin-softening nighttime treatment, try Moonfruit Superfruit Night Treatment, also brimming with fruit acids to gently exfoliate and brighten skin by morning, or Bakuchiol Retinol-Alternative Smoothing Serum, a formula that includes PHAs, which are gentle and safe enough for everyday use.


Enzymatic exfoliants are a more mild exfoliating option and the best for sensitive skin types. Enzymes come from natural sources like fruits, and work like chemical exfoliants to break down keratin in skin, but at a much slower pace, for more gentle and safe turnover process.

Both Brighten Instant Glow Mask and our Blue Tansy Resurfacing mask contains pineapple and papaya enzymes to gently exfoliate the skin to reveal a softened complexion that glows. Additionally, Brighten Mask contains rice powder, a gentle physical exfoliant for twice the buffing power! Blue Tansy Mask is an excellent exfoliating treatment for acne-prone skin in particular because it contains white willow bark: a natural BHA high in anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, clarifying Salicin.