which exfoliating ingredient is right for you?

which exfoliating ingredient is right for you?

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When you exfoliate, you’re polishing away dead skin cells for brighter, healthier-looking skin.
Chemical exfoliants (like AHAs and BHAs), and physical exfoliants can be found in our range of exfoliation products.
Every exfoliating ingredient works a little differently - so choose the ones that are best for your skin..


When it comes to exfoliants, knowing your ingredient names is essential. Start with this roundup of top exfoliant ingredients, then talk to your Dermalogica skin therapist about finding the exfoliant that best fits your skin, lifestyle and personal preferences. And, take note: If you use medically prescribed exfoliating products, ask your doctor before adding more to your regimen so you don’t overdo it.

how do exfoliating ingredients differ across our products?

Our exfoliating products include a range of both physical and chemical exfoliants. The difference is pretty self-explanatory, but physical exfoliants make use of small, smooth particles that are massaged into your skin to help lift debris and dead skin cells off the surface of your face. Chemical exfoliants work slightly differently, using natural enzymes and acids (Beta-Hydroxy Acids and Alpha-Hydroxy Acids) to gently dissolve the natural "glue" that holds dead, dry skin cells together, and makes them slough away instantly, as well as gradually over time.

our favourite exfoliating ingredients

PHA (gluconolactone)

This plant-based Polyhydroxy Acid has a large molecular structure that limits its ability to penetrate the skin - allowing it to provide skin-smoothing and antioxidant benefits without sensitising side effects. Find it in Liquid Peelfoliant, where it works together with a blend of 30% acids and enzymes to produce visible results.

glycolic acid

Glycolic Acid helps to unclog pores, improve skin texutre, and decrease the appearance of fine lines. Glycolic Acid is an Alpha-hydroxy Acid (AHA). You can find it in a daily peel with Liquid Peelfoliant, or in a cleanser with Daily Glycolic Cleanser

tranexamic acid

This powerful active works to even skin tone and decrease the appearance of dark spots. It also has soothing properties, making it suitable for all skin types, including sensitive skin. Find it in  Liquid Peelfoliant for a daily at-home peel, safe enough for all skin types.

lactic acid

This Alpha Hydroxy Acid helps to smooth skin, and stimulate cell turnover and renewal without leaving skin dehydrated. Lactic acid is also an Alpha-Hydroxy Acid (AHA) Find it along with other AHAs and exfoliating fruit enzymes in Rapid Reveal Peel.


Retinol is a pure form of vitamin A, which is a common point of confusion. Pure Vitamin A is the gold standard for brighter-looking skin and fewer visible signs of skin aging, making it a popular choice. Find it in Dynamic Skin Retinol Serum and Age Reversal Eye Complex.

phytic acid

This skin-softening phytochemical found in Rice Bran, helps safely remove dulling surface debris from skin. Find it in Daily Microfoliant and Daily Superfoliant, where it’s pulverized into an ultra-fine powder that’s gentle enough for daily use.

papain extract

Harvested from Papaya, Papain Extract is a natural chemical (enzymatic) exfoliant that helps to resurface dull, rough skin. Find it with other AHAs and BHAs in Daily Milkfoliant.

prickly pear extract

Derived from a hearty Sonoran Desert succulent that’s able to thrive in adverse conditions, this non-acid blend helps accelerate the skin’s natural exfoliation process and reduce the appearance of skin aging. Find it in scrub form witMultiVitamin Thermafoliant.

salicylic acid

This skin-smoothing, breakout-friendly Beta-Hydroxy Acid (BHA) helps remove dead skin cells by breaking apart the attachments between cells, and clear debris from inside the pores. Find it in Daily Microfoliant, Clearing Skin Wash and AGE Bright Clearing Serum

The rest of your skin care regimen can also impact your exfoliation results. For more personalised advice, ask your visit your local Dermalogica Professional Skin Therapist or chat to an expert online now about how to incorporate peels and exfoliants into your regimen.

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