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What Is a Chemical Exfoliant?

What's a Chemical Exfoliant? A Dermatologist Breaks It Down

Should You Use a Chemical Exfoliant?

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Walk into any Sephora, Ulta, or department or drugstore and you're likely to see hoards of bottles that list a chemical exfoliant as an active ingredient in their formula. Words like alpha hydroxy acid, lactic acid, and glycolic acid can sound intimidating if you're unfamiliar, but here's why you shouldn't be.

To help you decide whether to work them into your routine, we consulted board-certified dermatologist Dhaval Bhanusali, MD, to explain and demystify the common ingredients. Ahead, he breaks down everything you need to know about chemical exfoliators — including what they are and how they can transform your skin.

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