Why you need to exfoliate

Take yourself back to your summer holiday for a just a minute. Remember slathering on SPF, your bronzer brush working overtime, and topping up tan by night? It’s been a season of intense product build-up and your skin is screaming for a scrub. Right now, exfoliating might just be the most important step in your skin-care routine. Your skin needs to be exfoliated—it sheds around a million dead skin cells per day. After all, how can your luxury face oils or creams work their magic when dead skin cells are blocking their path?

But there’s a whole world of exfoliators out there, how do you choose the right one for you? To help you understand the different types of exfoliators around, and dispel a few myths (chemical exfoliators are not as scary as they sound), we’ve divided them into three categories below. And, matched the perfect products to common skin concerns. Happy, smooth skin awaits.

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Mechanical exfoliators: They work to physically loosen up stubborn dead skin cells that are sitting on the surface and help give that instant and satisfying smooth sensation. Our top picks: Goldfaden MD Doctor’s Scrub, and Omorovicza Refining Facial Polisher.

Enzyme exfoliators: Usually derived from fruit or rice, they digest dead skin cells in a pac-man-like action leaving behind new plump skin cells. The longer you leave them on, the deeper they’ll exfoliate. Our top pick: Kate Somerville Exfolikate.

Chemical exfoliators: This refers to an acid-based exfoliator, normally one which contains alpha hydroxy acid or beta hydroxy acid (also known as AHA and BHA). An “acid” may sound extreme but they are actually very gentle. They loosen the bonds between skin cells allowing them to shed faster. Our top picks: Dr Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Extra Strength Daily Peel and Kate Somerville Clinic-to-Go Resurfacing Peel Pads.




Tatcha Indigo Soothing Rice Enzyme Powder—this gentle exfoliant is activated by water and the enzymes do all of the work. Which means no friction or abrasiveness that would normally result in redness and inflammation.



Sunday Riley Good Genes—is a winner for dry skin. The power of highly concentrated lactic acid resurfaces, brightens and refines skin. An added benefit of lactic acid is that it binds water to the skin, plumping it out and keeping it hydrated.



Drunk Elephant TLC Framboos Glycolic Night Serum—a combination of tartaric, lactic, citric (hence TLC) and glycolic acid work together to resurface and reveal younger skin cells. In combination with each other, these gentle yet effective acids minimise irritation on the skin.



Dr Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Extra Strength Daily Peel—the two-step, easy peel combines exfoliators and resurfacers. Step 1 involves seven different acids including salicylic acid to clean out pores, reduce texture on the skin and aid the healing of blemishes. Step 2 is a combination of anti-oxidants, anti-inflammatories and hydrators to soothe any redness associated with breakouts.



Goldfaden MD Doctor’s Scrub—one of the worst kept skin secrets at MECCA HQ! The scrub is based on the Doctor’s in-clinic microdermabrasion treatment. A powerful mechanical exfoliant for those wanting instant gratification; micro-fine Ruby crystals polish away dead skin cells to reveal radiant, lit-from-within skin.



French Girl Sea Polish—Atlantic sea salt works hard to remove flaky, dull texture, leaving skin feeling super-smooth. And the delicious blend of shea, mango and cocoa butter, as well as coconut oil keeps skin feeling silky-soft. No post-scrub body moisturiser required.

Words by Lucy Simpson
February 2018


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