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Beauty & Personal Care

How To Find The Best K-Beauty Exfoliator For Your Skin

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k beauty exfoliator

Did you know that we build up dry and flaky skin cells over the winter? And to get rid of those, you need to use a K-beauty exfoliator! Exfoliation not only un-clogs pores but it also boosts circulation and refines skin texture. 

There is no doubt that exfoliation is an essential part of any skin care routine including the 10-step Korean skin care routine. But, you might be wondering which type of K-beauty exfoliator should you use? Is there one that’s better than the other? There is no one-size-fits-all kind of answer to these questions. You need to know which one suits your skin better so we are giving you all the info you need to make the decision. 

You can check out our post on Best 5 K-beauty exfoliators that you can get your hands on for a soft and clean skin

Types of K-beauty Exfoliators

Physical K-beauty Exfoliators

Physical exfoliators are generally scrubs and gels that use some kind of granules to physically remove dead skin cells. These small granules can be sugar, walnut shells, salt, or even coffee grounds. 

If you are into skin care, then you probably know that a lot of usual exfoliators can be too harsh and can cause micro-tears in the skin. 

Chemical K-beauty Exfoliators

Chemical exfoliators contain chemical compounds that can speed up cell turnover. The most common compounds in these exfoliators are AHAs (alpha-hydroxy acids), BHAs (beta hydroxy acids), and PHAs (polyhydroxy acids). 

AHAs are water-soluble, so they don’t really get into your pores to clean them out. But, they can break down dead skin cells and improve skin texture and uneven skin tone. BHAs are oil-soluble, meaning they go deep down into these pores. They’re also anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial and especially great if you have blackheads and acne. PHAs are like AHAs but they have a bigger molecular weight. They won’t penetrate as deeply and are more gentle. 

Choose Ingredients that Target your Skin

If you have acne or blackheads, using a chemical exfoliant with BHAs is going to be your best bet. If you have dull and flaky skin, use a K-beauty exfoliator with AHA glycolic acid that can also help in treating fine lines and wrinkles. 

Supporting ingredients in a K-beauty exfoliator can also help you find the perfect formula. For example, if you have acne scars, you can use NEOGEN Bio-Peel Gauze Peeling Lemon Pads as they contain Vitamin C. You can use Klairs Youthful Glow Sugar Mask with moisturizing shea butter and jojoba seed oil if you have dry and flaky skin. 

K-beauty Exfoliators


NEOGEN Dermalogy Real Cica Pads

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Each pad in the exfoliator is textured to provide super gentle physical exfoliation. And these pads are soaked in a formula that contains PHAs. To make the formulation more nourishing and healing, it also contains several forms of soothing Centella Asiatica and hydrating hyaluronic acid. 


SOME BY MI AHA-BHA-PHA 30Days Miracle Toner

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It is a cult favorite Korean beauty product. There are three types of chemical exfoliants along with adenosine, niacinamide, and papaya extract. All of them work together to boost cell turnover to keep the skin smooth and bright. It removes excess sebum from the skin while removing dead skin cells. 


Klairs Youthful Glow Sugar Mask

k-beauty exfoliator

It uses fine sugar granules to gently buff the skin and kaolin clay to detoxify any impurities from the skin. The formulation also contains shea butter and jojoba seed oils which nourish and seal in the moisture. It also has some antioxidant and anti-inflammatory elements because of the grapefruit extract and raspberry seed oil. It’s a multifunctional K-beauty product that can be used as a mask, scrub, or even a cleansing balm. 


Then I Met You Birch Milk Refining Toner

It is a gentle daily toner with a 1% concentration of AHAs and PHAs. It also contains soothing marshmallow extract to calm, soothe, and hydrate the skin. The milky formula contains 76% birch juice that helps skin retain moisture. The hydrating toner can improve skin texture and prevent breakouts while being gentle enough for everyday use. 


Hanskin Pore Cleansing Balm (PHA)

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Olive, sunflower, apricot, and jojoba oils work together to lightly exfoliate, control sebum, and help remove and prevent blackheads for a clearer complexion. The PHAs are gentle in the skin and the lightweight plant-derived oils condition the skin without weighing it down. 


Benton Aloe BHA Skin Toner

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The toner is packed with ingredients like aloe and salicylic acid that hydrate and prep your skin for other skin care products. Aloe works on soothing and moisturizing your skin while salicylic acid has anti-inflammatory properties that will help in controlling acne. It also exfoliated dead skin cells and reduces sebum. 


How to Choose the Best K-beauty Exfoliator for Your Skin

Is your skin sensitive? 

It’s not uncommon to skip exfoliation if you have sensitive skin. You need to choose a formulation that contain nourishing and healing ingredients. NEOGEN Dermalogy Real Cica Pads are safe for sensitive skin and they combine both methods of exfoliation. 

Is your skin oily?

Working on an oily skin can be a delicate balancing act. If you use K-beauty products that are too drying, your skin may overcompensate by producing more oils. The secret is to find the right formulation that target the oil-producing bacteria while keeping the skin hydrated. Use SOME BY MI AHA-BHA-PHA 30Days Miracle Toner as it contains the right set of ingredients to remove excess sebum and remove dead cells. 

Is your skin dry?

If you have dry skin then you know that it can feel rough and flaky no matter how much you hydrate it. That’s why it is important to exfoliate so that dead cells are removed and serums and moisturizers can penetrate the surface. You can use Klairs Youthful Glow Sugar Mask, which is hydrating and gentle on the skin.

Is your skin type normal?

Even if you don’t face issues like oiliness, acne, dryness, or sensitivity, you skin still needs exfoliation. It will smoothen out the skin and tone it without stripping the essential oils. Use Then I Met You Birch Milk Refining Toner as it is a perfect blend of chemical exfoliants and soothing, moisture-boosting ingredients. 

Do you have combination skin type?

It can be difficult to find the right exfoliator for combination skin as it is possible that you can have both dry and oily patches. In such a case, you should find a K-beauty exfoliator that can remove the dead skin cells while controlling the oil production. You can use a K-beauty exfoliator like Hanskin Pore Cleansing Balm (PHA) that is gentle and light on your skin. 

Do you have acne?

You might be thinking that acne should not affect exfoliation, but that’s not quite correct. Acne is essentially an infection so if you use a harsh physical exfoliator when you have acne, you can spread the infection leading to more acne. Work with a K-beauty exfoliant like Benton Aloe BHA Skin Toner which is packed with many skin-benefitting ingredients. 

About Jinju Jeon

Senior Writer @KoreaProductPost

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