Clear your complexion - exfoliators explained

If you’ve neglected your skincare routine over the winter and want brighten up your complexion for the sunnier months, try introducing an exfoliator into your weekly regime. It will help brush away impurities and maintain a healthy complexion. But… do you want a chemical or physical exfoliant? What if you’ve got sensitive skin? Should you opt for fine grains or larger beads?

There are different forms of exfoliator products – scrubs, masks and wipes. Scrubs contain particles that ‘brush’ at your skin to loosen dead skin cells, but there are also chemical-based exfoliators that use natural acids (AHAs or BHAs) to work on a deeper level and break the dead skin away from new cells. These might feel more like masks or creams than a scrub, and are also available as wipes.

If you have normal skin, look for exfoliators containing brightening ingredients such as fruit enzymes; papaya and pineapple are great options. Keep an eye out for scrubs with uniformly round particles such as jojoba seeds, which will buffer away dull skin without being too abrasive.

If your skin is dry, an exfoliator containing oil or butter based ingredients will ensure your natural oils are replenished and your skin softened while the scrub particles work their magic. You may also want to look for AHAs rather than BHA, they only exfoliate the very top layer of skin rather than inside the pores.

If you have combination skin, non-greasy exfoliators containing hydrating ingredients might be perfect for you. Keep an eye out for AHA based glycolic or citric acids, which break down old skin cells and help the skin absorb more moisture. Antioxidants such as grapeseed extract or honey will help protect your skin and also contain moisturising properties.

For those with oily skin, look for unclogging ingredients such as salicylic acid. Chemical based exfoliates, especially BHAs, can work to clean the skin on a deeper level.

Whichever product you choose, it is important not to over-exfoliate or you may irritate your skin. Once a week is usually enough, but depending on your skin type you may want to increase this to two times maximum. Try applying your exfoliator at night, after washing your face, as this will nicely cleanse away the day’s makeup and other pollutants.

Here are a few of our favourite exfoliators, tried and tested by the Spa Spies.


Carita Lagoon Scrub

Carita Lagoon Scrub

Perfect for dry to normal skin.
"The product perked up my dehydrated, tired skin." Read more >> 

Decléor Phytopeel Exfoliating Cream

Decleor Phytopeel
Perfect for sensitive skin.
"My skin definitely felt smoother."

Voya Love a Scrub

Voya love a scrub
Perfect for normal to dry skin.
"My skin was was definitely brighter and clearer." Read more >>


Spa Likes

"Beautiful interiors, luxurious swimming pools, being pampered, long massages, quality food."

Spa Dislikes

"Noisy echoes, overlooking facilities, thin walls in treatment rooms, cramped spa layout."