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The Power of Natural Exfoliators

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Natural exfoliators are creating a unique self-care experience for consumers. Since COVID-19, consumers have expanded their skincare rituals at home, experimenting with various exfoliating products including body scrubs and exfoliating toners. Why? Continuous mask-wearing can trap bacteria on the skin, and exfoliating can help unclog congested pores. In addition, with many spas closed, at-home facials have become the new normal (Vogue, 2020).

There are two types of exfoliators - physical and chemical. They both work in slightly different ways. On one hand, physical exfoliation includes bead-like formulas to physically remove dead skin. On the other hand, chemical exfoliators do not have any tiny granules in them, but instead use chemicals that aid in your cell turnover.

Physical Exfoliators

When mixed with water, physical exfoliators form a low-friction scrub with just enough grit to disrupt debris without causing any damage to the skin. This type of exfoliation utilises physical friction, using small particles, for example silica, salt grains, sugar, jojoba beads or nutshell granules to remove dead skin cells.


Polyethylene-Free Exfoliators

From PQ Corporation

In 2018, we witnessed the UK ban of polyethylene beads within Personal Care and Cosmetics products due to their poor biodegradability causing bio-accumulation in lakes, rivers and oceans. As a result of this, and with consumers becoming more educated on ingredient functions and origins, we have seen a shift towards polyethylene replacements. An ideal natural replacement is the SORBOSIL™ range from PQ Corporation.

Advantages of SORBOSIL™ hydrated silica beads for exfoliators include;

Comparative Study

Two recent independent consumer trials (conducted with 246 female consumers aged 18-65) found that hydrated silica offers the same exfoliation benefits as PE beads, and a more effective exfoliant than both cellulose and polylactic acid.

Ingredient Description Suitable for:
SORBOSIL™ BFG 10 Small silica granule | non-breakdown Skin Care, cleansing products and shampoos
SORBOSIL™ BFG 50 Large silica granule | non-breakdown Skin Care, cleansing products and shampoos
SORBOSIL™ BFG 500 Large silica granule | non-breakdown Skin Care, cleansing products and shampoos
SORBOSIL™ BFG 501 Large silica granule Skin Care, cleansing products and shampoos
SORBOSIL™ CBT 60 S Fast breakdown silica granule Skin Care, cleansing products and shampoos

Silica-based exfoliators can also be used in conjunction with other natural exfoliator ingredients to achieve effective formulations.

From Sandream Specialties

Sandream exfoliating formulations - including walnut shell powder

Click here to find out more about the above natural exfoliating formulations.

Sandream also offer the following ingredients which are a natural alternative to PE beads.

Chemical Exfoliators

Chemical exfoliants remove dead skin cells via the use of chemicals to aid in cell turnover. Peels are chemical exfoliants and are not only great for smoothing but also for skin brightening. The below speciality ingredients are perfect examples of chemical exfoliators and help to enhance the versatility of age prevention formulations, helping to produce a healthier and smoother skin.

How Can Brands Tap Into This?

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For further information on our exfoliator ingredients, or to request a sample, please contact us or send us an email at

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Wednesday, 03 March 2021