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Peels v scrubs: How should YOU be exfoliating?

Peels v scrubs: How should YOU be exfoliating?

Exfoliating should be a part of everyone's skincare regime. By removing dead skin cells and buffing dry skin, you're left with a fresh and radiant complexion. But with so many products out there, it can be hard to know what to go for. We explain the difference between scrubs and peels and what they do for your skin.


Generally, these rely on chemicals like alpha hydroxy acids and beta hydroxy acids (AHAs and BHAs), but Cherry Woods, luxury facialist at the Cherry Woods Skin Clinic in Richmond, says you shouldn't let that put you off.

"They are mostly a gel or water like consistency which will cleverly exfoliate not just the surface of the skin, but also just below and down the sides of your pores too," she explained to Cover Media. "These are a much more smart way of exfoliating than scrubs, as they dissolve the bonds that hold the dead skin cells together, allowing them to shed. They also encourage a release of new skin cells to rise to the surface, removing dead skin cells, congestion and excess oil."

The beauty expert adds that the effects of a peel can last for weeks, which is great if you're after more than a quick fix.

"The depth of the peel depends on the type, strength and PH of the AHA or BHA," she continued. "Peels in a gel base often absorb more quickly, while those in a cream or oil base can help buffer the absorption so can be better for a dry or more sensitive skin."


You'll notice that scrubs rely on grains, beads and micronised shells to mechanically exfoliate the skin. But think carefully before you use them, as it could do more harm than good.

"Often this will only really target superficial surface areas of the face, and can cause micro surface tears and sensitivity in the skin," Cherry warned. "Scrubs are often favoured by beauty fans with younger, oilier skin types as they intuitively feel they want to physically scrub away the oil for an instant degreasing feeling. However this is a short term superficial gain, with little long term benefit. That said, scrubs can help improve micro circulation, so helping sallow skins that have poor blood flow. But never, ever scrub hard – be gentle with your skin at all times!"

The verdict:

Unless you have problems with blood flow, you'll probably find that a peel is the key to complexion perfection.

"Personally, I never use physical scrubs at the Cherry Woods Skin Clinic, as they don’t offer the long term benefits of a peel… plus it’s a nightmare trying to wash away the gritty bits left behind with a scrub!" Cherry concluded.

Cover Media