The Best Face Peels and Exfoliators



Unfortunately it is a fact of life that as soon as we hit our early to mid 30’s, our skin starts to show its age. Skin cell turnover decreases, lines and wrinkles start to form, we may start to see the first signs of sagging, and dullness and pigmentation start to show. According to Robyn Hutch, Nivea Skincare expert, exfoliating your skin helps with retaining a youthful healthy glow. Not only does exfoliating remove the dead skin cells, it can also help to reduce any visible skin discolouration and pigmentation, fine lines and wrinkles, and if you are using a manual exfoliator, the circular motions can help improve blood circulation.


There are two types of exfoliation, manual and chemical. Robyn Hutch says “manual exfoliation is all about what you physically do to your skin, whereas chemical exfoliation is all about using a product to do the exfoliation for you. In more detail, manual exfoliation is when the skin is being physically scrubbed with a loofah mit, washcloth or any exfoliating product. Chemical exfoliation is when exfoliating chemicals such as benzoyl peroxide, alpha hydroxy acids or retinoids are applied to the skin which generally sheds the dry skin faster. This can also be in the form of a chemical peel which is usually applied by a specialist.”



Which type of exfoliator should you use? According to Robyn, manual exfoliation is best for all skin types except for problem and sensitive skin. Manual exfoliation gives you the choice to use any type of product suitable to your skin type in order to remove any dry, flaky skin. Always apply in circular motions to your face. Chemical exfoliation is the best option for problematic skin types such as those prone to acne, eczema, rosacea, dryness or sensitivity as it will not break the skin as a more abrasive scrub may, instead it exfoliates deep inside the pores for a quick result. Generally, these are performed by a skin specialist who can get the mix of ingredients right for what is happening with your skin. NB – If you suffer from any skin conditions, we recommend consulting a dermatologist or skin specialist before any exfoliation or chemical peel, so you do not further irritate inflamed skin.


So now we understand face peels and exfoliation a little better. We love both manual and gentle chemical exfoliators for at-home treatments – let’s have a look at some of our picks of the best on the market.

The Best Manual Exfoliators



We love a good manual exfoliation. Is there anything more satisfying than scrubbing your face to remove impurities and sweep away dullness and rough skin cells, to reveal softer, glowing skin underneath? To keep our skin in tip top condition, we love the Nivea Clean Deeper Daily Wash Scrub, which is brilliant for oilier skin types. Enriched with Ocean Algae & Hydra IQ, the clever 2 in 1 Wash & Scrub deeply cleanses your pores with purifying micro scrubs to reduce and prevent impurities, whilst the purifying formula helps to reduce excess oil and prevent shine, all the while respecting your skin’s own moisture balance. 150ml RRP $9.97. Another favourite of ours (in fact this was one of our first posts on Beauty Over 40, and it’s still a fave) is the Nutrimetics Micro-Dermabrasion Kit, a 2-step kit featuring a Resurfacer, with Scandanavian Mineral Polish to resurface the upper layers of your skin, and Tasmanian Berry Extract to help sooth and calm skin, and a Serum with Royal Peptide and Kakadu Plum, which help to stimulate skin regeneration, and work on pigmentation and age spots. Resurfacer 60ml & Serum 25ml. Kit RRP $99.00. If you’re after an organic based exfoliator, we love the Raww Polish-ME Face Exfoliator. The lightweight formula is infused with Superfoods, such as Wildberry Harvest mix and Coconut Water for hydration, Goji Berry to help fight free radicals, Cocoa Butter to help skin firming, Jojoba Oil to help improve the suppleness of your skin, and Coffee Extract to provide antioxidant protection. The formula not only smells absolutely amazing, it gently buffs away dry skin patches and impurities to reveal glowing skin. 100ml RRP $19.99. Rounding out our list of favourite manual exfoliators is the L’Oreal Paris Glow Scrub Sugar Scrub (there are actually 2 other scrubs in the range – Purifying and Nourishing, but for our needs, we love the Glow). Featuring 3 fine sugars, and grape seed oil to help brighten your skin, the Glow Scrub gently exfoliates your skin to slough away dry dull skin cells and impurities, revealing soft, glowing skin underneath. The scrub can also be used on your lips, to gently buff away rough skin. 50ml RRP $19.95.

The Best Chemical Exfoliators



The beauty of a chemical exfoliation is the product does the hard work for you, and like a mask, you get to enjoy some me time while it goes to work. Chemical exfoliators, or face peels, are applied to your face as you would a mask, and the actives such as Lactic Acid, AHA’s, Benzoyl Peroxide and/or Retinoids go to work to dissolve dry, dead skin cells and impurities. Want to know a secret – I applied one while I was writing this post – another piece of multi-tasking genius. Our favourite chemical exfoliators are Ella Bache Resurfacing Peel, with a blend of 3 Alpha Hydroxy Acids and Apple Vinegar Gel, the AHAs cause the cells of the epidermis to gently lift away, allowing the dead skin cells to slough off, leaving you with fresher, newer skin underneath. 50ml RRP $85.00. Another peel which is great for mature skin is the Dr. LeWinn’s Reversaderm Skin Peel. The facial gel is used overnight, and contains a 15% Alpha Hydroxy Acid Complex of Glycolic, Lactic and Mandelic Acids for a micro–cellular exfoliation to help resurface the upper layer of your skin, remove dead skin cells, unclog pores and help to diminish skin imperfections. Awaken to more radiant skin in the morning. 30ml RRP $39.95. The new Lancome Visionnaire Crescendo™ is a clever leave-on overnight progressive peel that works over 28 days in 2 parts, to help fight multiple signs of ageing, including fine lines and wrinkles, enlarged pores and lack of luminosity. The first phase, used for 14 days contains AHA’s from Fruit Acids to help stimulate skin cell renewal, and Quinoa Husk Extract to gently exfoliate. The formula for the second phase, used for the second 14 days, contains a powerful combination of Salicylic Acid that works to help even out skin tone and Glycolic Acid that helps smooth the surface of your skin. Your skin texture feels smoother, pores look smaller, wrinkles & fine lines appear reduced and your appears to glow. 30ml RRP $130.00.

The Best Manual & Chemical Exfoliators



Some exfoliating products are clever enough to be the best of both worlds – a manual exfoliator and chemical face peel, as they contain ingredients to do both. The are great for people who like both types of exfoliation. Two of the best we’ve found are the Priori Skin Decoded 2xFoliant Peel + Scrub, which as the name suggests, is both a peel and a scrub. The formula contains Lactic Acid for a mild chemical peel, as well as biodegradable spherical beads to gently manually exfoliate your skin, delivering 2 gentle exfoliations at once. It can also be used on your face or body (the clever adaptive skincare technology allows your skin to draw as much exfoliation as it needs, so it’s gentle enough for your face, and strong enough for your body). 200ml RRP $79.00. We also love the Peter Thomas Roth Pumpkin Enzyme Mask, which contains Pumpkin Enzymes to manually exfoliate your skin, and AHA’s to dissolve dull skin cells for a mild chemical peel. The powerhouse mask leaves your skin smoother, more vibrant, and radiant. 150ml RRP $80.00.




After any exfoliation or chemical peel, especially one containing retinoids, your skin could (and probably will) be more sensitive to the sun, and prone to sunburn. We recommend always using a sunscreen at all times, and especially (especially – we can’t say this enough) after a chemical peel. Look for a gentle sunscreen, which you can wear alone or under makeup, as you prefer. We love the Nivea Sun UV Face BB Cream SPF 50, a light, non-greasy, non-sticky sunscreen, which not only provides a Broad Spectrum UVA and UVB protection against the sun, it’s also tinted (and adapts to suit all skin tones), so you don’t have to wear makeup over your fresh, smooth skin. It’s so light, you won’t even know you’re wearing it. 50ml RRP $12.99.


There you have it – how exfoliators work, which suit your skin types, and our picks of best of each type of exfoliator/chemical peel. Do you use any of these? How do they work for you? We welcome your comments below.


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