Author: Elza Birzniece | Reading time: 6 minutes

Elza Birzniece, MADARA Cosmetics

Exfoliation might be one of the most important, yet underrated step, in your skincare routine, often surrounded by misconceptions. Don’t let the word combination chemical peel scare you – exfoliating, when done right, is the secret to achieving a glowing complexion. Here, our certified beauty therapist Kitija gives a breakdown of different exfoliation practices.

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What exactly is

‘’Exfoliation removes dead cells from the skin’s surface, boosting cell turnover to reveal the newer, more radiant cells underneath,’’ Kitija explains. It also boosts the efficacy of other skincare products, since without the layer of dead cells they can penetrate the skin more easily.

Though most skin types can benefit from exfoliation, do be mindful of the intensity – overdoing it can be counterproductive. Exfoliating too often or using an exfoliator not suitable for your skin can lead to irritation, peeling and redness.


Exfoliating in
summer – yes or no?

Exfoliation can and should be done in summer – after all, sloughing off those dead cells makes space for a more even and smooth tan. However, Kitija recommends proceeding with caution: ‘’Exfoliation makes the skin more vulnerable, especially to sun exposure’’. Only exfoliate at night and always wear high protection sunscreen, like MÁDARA SPF50 Plant Stem Cell Ultra-Shield Sunscreen, to shield those new cells from damage.


Chemical vs mechanical

There are two main types of exfoliation – chemical and mechanical.
They both work towards the same goal, just in different ways.

‘’Chemical exfoliators slough off dead skin cells using acids such as AHAs, PHAs and BHAs to stimulate cell turnover,’’ Kitija explains. This helps achieve a brighter, more radiant and refined complexion that we all crave, enhancing skin hydration and unclogging pores. If you have very sensitive skin or are a newbie to acids, Kitija suggests starting with baby steps. Start by slowly incorporating them into your routine, only later working your way up to stronger active ingredients.

On the other hand, mechanical exfoliators – products containing small particles or bristles of a brush – are used to physically scrub away surface cells and dislodge dirt in gentle motions which also help boost circulation. Keep in mind mechanical exfoliation should only be performed on intact skin, and never during acute inflammation or breakouts.

Pretty clear so far?
Now, let’s explore the different types of exfoliants.

(alpha hydroxy acids)

AHAs work on the skin’s surface, dislodging and dissolving dead cells to reveal smoother, brighter skin – great for those who want to target uneven texture.

Suitable for: All skin types, especially mature, tired and lacklustre skin. Not recommended for fragile, hypersensitive skin.

Try: Formulated with lactic acid, MÁDARA AHA Brightening Peel Mask is a glow-boosting powerhouse that stimulates cell turnover, brightens the skin and breathes life into dull complexions.


(beta hydroxy acids)

They reach deeper into the skin that AHAs, unclogging pores and removing sebum build-up. Salicylic acid is the most popular BHA, best for those concerned with blackheads and large pores.

Suitable for: All skin types, especially congested, blemish-prone, oily skin.

Try: The perfect exfoliating toner for clogged and oily skin, MÁDARA Clarifying Toner contains salicylic acid which purifies, reduces shine, minimises the appearance of enlarged pores and blemishes.

(poly hydroxy acids)

PHAs such as lactobionic and gluconic acid can be thought of as the friendly cousins of AHAs – they function the same way but don’t penetrate as deeply, providing a gentler mode of exfoliation. PHAs also boast humectant properties, meaning they attract water to hydrate and soften the skin.

Suitable for: All skin types, especially sensitive skin.

Try: Formulated with lactic acid, MÁDARA Time Miracle Reface Sleep & Peel Overnight Serum with lactobionic acid exfoliates and supports skin recovery to resurface your complexion, improving skin tone, texture and appearance of fine lines.



These mechanical exfoliants effectively buff away the layer of dead skin cells to reveal a fresh, clean canvas. With scrubs, the real hero ingredients are tiny beads or grains which take care of the exfoliating action. But don’t go too hard – being too rough with your scrubbing can irritate the skin.

Suitable for: Normal, combination, oily skin. Not suitable for problem-prone and sensitive skin.

Try: The perfect alternative to the rough, gritty scrubs from the past, MÁDARA Exfoliating Oil-to-Milk Scrub contains natural wax microbeads to delicately cleanse and renew skin. Enriched with apricot and oat oils, the innovative formula transforms into milk for a gentle yet effective resurfacing treatment.

Now, choose your fighter and start exfoliating – your quest for a truly radiant complexion starts here.