I Tried It: Chemical Exfoliation

By: Samantha Klaassen

Scrubs have always been one of my favorite parts of my — admittedly extensive — skincare routine. And as a long time devotee to physical exfoliants (Dermalogica’s Daily Microfoliant and goop’s Exfoliating Instant Facial are my go-to’s), I was hesitant to try a chemical exfoliator.

But over the holidays I started to break out more than usual and found that over-exfoliation was probably the culprit. This isn’t to say exfoliation itself makes you break out — it’s actually the opposite. Exfoliation clears the old skin cells that can leave your skin looking dull and dry, and the buildup of these skin cells can lead to excess oil and clogged pores (a.k.a. acne). But too much exfoliation can actually get rid of the healthy skin cells protecting your skin’s natural barrier. The result? The exact thing you’re trying to prevent. As I became hypersensitive to physical exfoliants, I became the cause of my own acne.


Since chemical exfoliants are often gentler, I thought it was worth a shot. I picked the cutest, pinkest chemical exfoliators out there: Glossier Solution and Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial. Glossier Solution is meant for daily use after cleansing while Babyfacial is a peel, meaning it’s stronger and should only be used once or twice a week.

Initially, I didn’t see a huge difference, but after just a few weeks, I have glowier, even-toned skin. Am I completely cured of my acne? Of course not, but the residual redness left by blemishes is significantly diminished and my skin is smoother than ever.

Samantha Klaassen

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