My Go-To Chemical Exfoliants

With all that’s been going on in my life + blogging world, I’ve started to get a bit stressed and with that of course means my skin starts to flare up and give me some not so lovely bumps.  Aside from just letting my skin be as much as possible, I also have a little arsenal of chemical exfoliators stashed away to help alleviate any breakouts that form.

Paula’s Choice Retinol – Oh, retinol. I’ve read of so many people’s testimonials and praise for you that I have to say I’m a bit bummed we aren’t as close.  I’ve tried to get through the awkward sloughing and tightness phase of using retinol regularly, but I just can’t.  I do, however, use this whenever I get a hormonal breakout.

This happens about a week before ‘princess week’ and I just make sure to switch out my regular exfoliators with a little retinol.  I’m interested in the difference of different retinols like I read on Future Derm’s post (my latest obsession) and might try my hand again, but for now I use retinol sparingly, hoping for the best pay off of anti-aging benefits I can get.

Kiehl’s Nightly Refining Micro Peel – My newest addition to my little chemical exfoliant line up! And quite truthfully it was love at first use.

One of my biggest loves of chemical exfoliants vs physical is that they don’t require harsh abrasions on your skin.  Now of course there are exceptions (à la my go-to micro derm scrub), but really I tossed all abrasive scrubs and this product confirms that decision.  It’s a beautiful serum like oil that ‘stingles‘ (a mix of tingling + stinging) once I first place it on my skin, but soon just feels like a rich, refreshing layer over my skin.  I also love that it combines powerful cell renewal ingredients, as well as, nourishing aloe ones.  A beautiful balance if you ask me!

Origins High Potency Night A-Mins Renewal Cream – Unfortunately, I’m waiting for this product as it’s currently sold out at Birchbox, so I’m clinging to ever little bit of my previous sampler and didn’t think a crumpled up sample bottle would make for a great photo.

This Vitamin C, E, and H packed moisturizer helps promote skin turnover and boasts a beautiful orange scent.  While it pairs absolutely beautifully with my favorite Pai oil, a few of my friends are unable to wear the cream as it causes slight irritation on their skin. I’m guessing this is due to specific skin sensitives to the active orange ingredients and would suggest a sample size first as it’s one of those products that depends entirely on your own skin.  But if works for you, I wouldn’t be surprised to find you clinging to every bit of sample as well.

Kiehl's Exfoliating Peel Gel

Skincare Chemical Exfoliators

Kiehl's Exfoliating Peel Gel

Skincare Chemical Exfoliators

Boscia Exfoliating Peel Gel – This is one of those products I often forget I own! And not for a lack of love or effectiveness, just because it’s not a daily treatment as it’s a touch too harsh on my skin for nightly use. However, it’s a really unique combo of a chemical and physical exfoliant.  It’s a touch gimimck-y in my opinion with the “clumps of dry skin” line, though any and all dry skin around a sensitive breakout is whisked away without overly irritating a bump even more.  (Whether it’s actual dry skin balled up or the gel itself, I’ll let you decide.)

Overall, this is a really fun skincare product to treat yourself to and watch your skin glow from the benefits of it.

Caudalíe Overnight Detox Oil – This little bottle has graced my blog so many times I think I’ve lost count of just how many posts I’ve mentioned it!  It’s a product I turn to almost daily, even though technically it’s supposed to be used overnight.  It’s a dry oil formulated to help support natural cell renewal and can be worn under makeup with the correct moisturizer.  I will say I think it’s most effective overnight or I notice my baby soft skin most in the morning.

Skincare Chemical Exfoliators

While I’m such a big fan of chemical exfoliants, I also make sure I have equally nourishing and caring products on stand by for my skin.  Exfoliating can do wonders for skin, but only if the skin is also allowed to recover. You can read some of my favorite suggestions here.

What are your favorite exfoliators?

xo Kelsey


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  • Ela

    I use Pixi’s Glow Peel Pads with glycolic acid, and CosRX’s Skin-Returning A-Sol with BHA. I honestly don’t think my regimen is enough, as I still have tiny bumps on my skin. Or maybe I haven’t been using them long enough yet.
    Ela |

    • Pixi’s Glow Peel Pads are doing wonders for me, I seriously don’t know why I haven’t picked them up earlier 🙂

  • I LOVE the Paula’s Choice products, but I’ve never tried this one! I’ll have to check it out.

  • This is such a fantastic round up of products. The Caudalie Overnight Oil sounds like a dream, I love waking up to baby soft skin.

    Keisha xo
    Chrysalis Gal

  • I ended up trying and buying the Caudalie Overnight Detox Oil after reading all your rave reviews, and it does not disappoint! I see a huge difference on the nights I don’t use it. I’m so happy to have found a blogger with a similar skin type to mine!

    I’m curious about the Kiehl’s Micro Peel – I actually haven’t tried any Kiehl’s products, but I hear such good things!

    Sarah //

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