Is mechanical exfoliation still okay?

With beads being banned everywhere, is mechanical exfoliation still okay? Does our skin need it, or does chemical exfoliation work as well?

What's the difference?

Mechanical exfoliation (also known as manual or physical exfoliation) uses beads, shells or some form of crushed up textured substance to slough away dead skin cells physically. Chemical exfoliation uses enzymes and acids to disintegrate dead skin cells

Does our skin need mechanical exfoliation?


Technically, no. Chemical exfoliators can do just as good a job as mechanical ones. However, I know for myself, I do enjoy feeling like I'm cleansing my face mechanically, as much as I know a chemical does just as good a job.

Although I make sure to limit my exfoliation with mechanical scrubs - doing it too often, too hard or with too large an exfoliant (fruit pits and nut shells) can cause micro-tears in your skin.

Is chemical exfoliation as good?

Yes, absolutely. Acids, particularly ones like AHAs and BHAs, are really effective and deliver not only exfoliation but also a stunning glow to your skin.

Scrub love

If you do enjoy the feel of mechanical exfoliators, these are some I really enjoy myself - albeit on a limited usage basis...

Sugar scrub


This has sugar microcrystals that gently remove dead cells on your skin, and I’ve also been using it as a lip scrub because they say it’s okay for that. It contains wild mango butter which softens the skin, and the texture is a really soothing gel-to-oil one that I’ve loved the experience of trying.


Clarins Comfort Scrub with Wild Mango Butter

€30 from

Exuberant Verbena

I love this new one from L'Occitane - anything verbena for my body and I'm instantly interested. This one is also cooling on the skin thanks to a methol infusion, so the literal dream for hot summer skin.



L'Occitane Refreshing Exfoliating Pulp

€24, from

Shower cream

This YonKa beauty is a cream scrub that not only exfoliates with bamboo and apricot kernel powder, but also smooths using mango butter, sesame oil and vegetable glycerin. It exfoliates but you feel totally nourished afterwards.


Yon-Ka Gommage Doux

€36 from


Read more: Can we talk about... Pestle & Mortar's new glycolic acid, Exfoliate

Read more: Tried and Tested: this iconic exfoliating lotion will transform your beauty regime

Read more: I always thought I had great skin. Turns out, I was wrong

Photo from Pexels

The image newsletter