Are Facial Scrubs Good For Your Skin?

Posted on: 15 January 2015

The promise of smooth, silky skin has helped facial scrubs to gain in popularity over the years. There are a variety of products on the market to help you get rid of dead, dry skin and regain the smoothness you had in your youth. But are these facial scrubs good for your skin?

How Facial Scrubs Work

Facial scrubs exfoliate the skin by removing dead skin cells and dirt that lie on the surface of the skin. There are a variety of types of facial scrubs. Some of the more abrasive types contain aluminum oxide particles and ground fruit pits to help remove dead skin. Milder facial scrubs contain smooth, round polyethylene beads that are gentler on the skin. They may also contain sodium tetraborate decahydrate granules that dissolve during use.

Why You Should Use Facial Scrubs

In addition to smooth skin, facial scrubs offer many benefits.

  • Scrubbing away dry skin can help increase the effectiveness of other products you may be using. Dead cells can block the absorption of wrinkle creams or acne treatments. Removing the dead skin allows these treatments to penetrate skin cells more easily.

  • The act of gently massaging the face can stimulate circulation, improving the flow of nutrients to the skin. The addition of these nutrients can help to get rid of sunspots, small scars, and fine wrinkles.

  • As you age, dead skin cells tend to get stuck to the outermost layer of skin as the mechanism of self-renewal slows down. The result can be a dull, patchy look. Regular exfoliation can help get rid of these dead skin cells and improve the appearance of your skin.

Why You Shouldn't Use Facial Scrubs

While most people want their skin to feel and look youthful, there are some reasons why you may want to stay away from these products.

  • When facial scrubs are used incorrectly, they can damage the skin. Too much pressure can cause small scratches in the skin. In fact, if the skin is scrubbed vigorously and scratched repeatedly, this could cause your body to increase the layer of dead skin cells as a measure of protection. It is best to scrub with less pressure for a longer period of time to protect your skin.

  • If scrubs are used too often, your face will start to feel tight and could lead to thinning of the skin layers. Ideally, you should only use a facial scrub once or twice a week.

  • Exfoliating can cause photosensitivity. For this reason, you should always wear sunscreen after using a facial scrub, unless you do it right before bed.

  • Facial scrubs can be very irritating for sensitive skin. They can also aggravate rosacea and acne.

What the Dermatologists Recommend

Facial scrubbing is a matter of dermatology so it is important to know what the professionals think about their use. The best thing you can do for your skin is to visit a dermatologist who can help you determine which products are most effective and safe for your particular skin type.

Because abrasive scrubs with granules can cause irritation and scratches to the skin, dermatologists recommend staying away from them. They do, however, support using mild facial scrubs.

Some people encourage good old soap and water as an alternative to facial scrubs. However, dermatologists do not recommend using regular soap and water for cleaning the face because of the high levels of fragrance molecules typically found in soap. These chemicals are generally okay for the body but they can be irritating to the more sensitive skin found on the face. Alternatively, if you wanted to stay away from scrubs, dermatologists recommend using a soap-free cleanser called a syndet.

Overall, the use of facial scrubs is a controversial issue. While they offer many benefits, there are also drawbacks to their use. Facial scrubs react differently for each individual. The best course of action is to ask your dermatologist, such as someone from American Dermatology, what they would recommend for your particular skin type.