Manual exfoliation, sometimes known as physical exfoliation, is one of the two major methods of exfoliation. We typically see it take the form of the scrubs, dermabrasion techniques, and pumice stones we use to keep various parts of the skin of our bodies healthy. They work well when dealing with the overall thicker skin of the body. Our other major option is chemical exfoliation. These products are our cleansers, acne fighting products with salicylic acid, and chemical peels we all rely on to keep our skin looking healthy. Chemical exfoliation is generally regarded as gentler thanks to it not physically rubbing against the skin. That’s why most people recommend using such products over physical exfoliation options, but the truth is there are clear benefits to them. It is simply a matter of figuring out how to properly weigh the benefits against our skin care goals and seeing if they match up appropriately. With that in mind, let’s take a quick look at some of these often overlooked benefits.

Boost to Blood Flow
Your skin, as one of your largest organs, is as dependent on good blood flow as the rest of your organs. It tends to end up lagging behind the others on the overall priority your body gives it though. This leads to fewer nutrients being available to your skin as well as a lack of the healthy glow that comes from good circulation. Manual exfoliation actually counteracts this. Most methods of manual exfoliation require you to gently massage the product around on your skin. This simple act of massage actually helps to boost your skin’s overall blood flow. This stimulates your skin in various ways including giving its natural healing process a boost. That’s an important point to remember given most of us don’t go and regularly get massages a couple of times every week thanks to a lack of time. The boost will be minor compared to a professional treatment, but it will be present.

Highly Controllable
One of the things that tend to disturb some people about chemical exfoliation is that it uses acids. It doesn’t matter that the products are carefully engineered to ensure everything is at skin friendly levels either. The word acid is simply embodying an unnerving concept to have on your skin. Admittedly, it doesn’t help that we can only keep those products on our skin for so long before running the risk of hurting our skin. This is worth remembering for many of us thanks to the simple fact that manual exfoliation ends the moment you stop. It doesn’t require you to remember to rinse or neutralize a product to ensure that your skin doesn’t get hurt. This makes manual exfoliation comforting for many of us as it means we can still get the skincare we want without any worries. Admittedly, the fact that manual exfoliation tends to be better for thicker skin often keeps us from considering it an option more often than it should.

Woman scrubbing skin in bathtub

Variable Roughness
Despite many kinds of manual exfoliation favoring the body, there are plenty of options available for the face as well. Rice powders and similar manual exfoliation products have long been used in Korean skincare and are still comparatively new to Western skincare. These products tend to be finely ground enough that they won’t harm the skin and serve people even with sensitive skin well. Additionally, the konjac sponge trend shows that there is such a thing as an incredibly gentle method of manual exfoliation. It isn’t necessarily as effective as more potent methods, but it does remain a good option for people with highly sensitive skin. These gentle options are paired with the rougher options meant for your body as well. Salt scrubs can do wonders due to their roughness actually supporting healthier skin around the body. Pumice stones and similar products tend to be the only things strong enough to tend to thick skin on the feet after a while. This ability to easily vary the roughness of the product makes manual exfoliation highly flexible and reliable.

Manual exfoliation tends to get less credit than it deserves simply due to the fact that many such products are best used on the body. The ability to reliably vary the roughness of these products combined with their potential to boost blood flow through their use makes them a good option for supporting your skin though. It doesn’t hurt that most of these products also have immediately visible results in many cases. Whether you use manual or chemical exfoliation is up to you, but remember to fairly weigh your options when deciding.

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