Face scrubs are risky; they can either damage your skin or completely revive it. There are ones with jojoba beads that are natural and soluble. Then there are others with dissolvable salt and sugar that are a lot sharper and more intense. And then there are some with ground nuts and particles that can cause serious damage to your skin.
So, you see, some face scrubs can be safe while others can wreak havoc on your beautiful skin.
Types of Exfoliation
There are two types of exfoliation – physical and chemical. Chemical exfoliation is a gentle, less irritating way to exfoliate the top layer of skin that prepares it to heal, although physical exfoliation is the most common form of facial exfoliation.
Physical exfoliation would be the use of a scrub or brush to buff away the top layer of skin. Think of a St. Ives Apricot Scrub or the Clarisonic. This may feel good in the moment and leave you with what feels like baby soft skin, but in the long run, you could be causing a lot more damage than you think.
How do scrubs damage the skin? Well, scrubs can contain harsh particles like rocks, pits, or shells that scratch the skins surface. This causes micro-tears that you can’t see with the naked eye, but with continued use, weakens the skin’s barrier.
What is better? Chemical or physical exfoliation?
Sure, scrubs may buff away the top layer which reveals brighter and smoother skin immediately, but they don’t actually break down the dirt and oils that are deeper under the skin – this is another reason a chemical exfoliate is often better. They take longer to do their work, but the results you see are genuine, not a facade.
Although there are some decent scrubs that use ingredients like jojoba beads or oatmeal, it is too easy to find a scrub that will damage your skin or give you misleading results.
So, is it safe to use a face scrub? If you are using one with gentle ingredients and applying it in moderation, then yes, it is safe, but, it is better to be safe than sorry. If you are in need of the smoothing effects of a scrub, look for an AHA or BHA chemical exfoliant treatment or serum. This will offer a better and safer result over time.