Exfoliating your face in the olden days was just as delicate a operation as resurfacing your floors. But the newest product generation allows for clean, smooth skin without rubbing it raw.
There are 2 styles of exfoliators. Real ones use some kind of teeny-tiny grains or granules to slough off dead skin cells, whereas chemical ones do it with face acids. These will give you a smoother complexion, lighten acne scars and enhance the color of your skin without making you red or causing wrinkles. The business is getting a lot right now, and most of them we have already tried. Below are the best ones we have rounded up for smooth, velvety, bump-free skin.
THE ORDINARY Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution
To make exfoliation simple, trust the Ordinary — the sleek, direct-to-consumer Everlane of skin care. This is made of straight-up glycolic acid, one of the smallest forms of acid molecules, making it extremely powerful because it can so easily penetrate the skin. It is wildly affordable too.
Biologique Recherche P50 PIGM 400
This is an incredibly potent chemical exfoliator — so much so that it is referred to as “Jesus in a jar” by beauty editors. Seven different P50 brands are available, all with slightly different names. For sensitive skin the original is the strongest but may not be the best. The obsessive skin care on Reddit finds P50 PIGM 400 to be a holy-grail drug because it is gentle and robust — suitable for people with hyperpigmentation issues and others with skin tone challenges.
Pixi® skintreats Glow Tonic
Considered a more gentle dupe to P50, this has cultic status in the UK, where it is often sold out. It is strong enough to be effective but not irritating with 5 per cent glycolic acid. Ashley Weatherford, a former Cut beauty editor, swears by it. (It also comes in a more powerful form of pad.)
Sunday Riley Good Genes All-In-One Lactic Acid Treatment
This cultserum is another great chemical exfoliator at Sephora, with nearly 1,000 five-star reviews. If you wonder what gives the product its yeasty smell, that would be the star ingredient, lactic acid. A strong acid that is less irritating than glycolic acid, it comes from milk and has excellent moisturizing properties with humectant.
Paula’s Choice SKIN PERFECTING 2% BHA Liquid
Created by Paula Begoun cosmetic cop of Paula’s Choice’s, this may be the drug most used by Cut editors. This keeps the skin clear and light with a combination of beta-hydroxy acids (a group of acids popular for “de-gunking” or cleaning out pores).
TATCHA Rice Enzyme Powder
This very gentle physical Tatcha exfoliator comes in an easy to transport powder. Add a little water, and the solution transforms into a milky lather with soft Japanese rice bran grains. The grains are so fragile you might wonder, is it even working? However, the proof is that the skin should feel relaxed and not tight at all. It’s probably Meghan Markle’s favourite (she gave it to her baby shower guests).