Many people use face scrubs in an effort to achieve soft, glowing, youthful skin.
These products often contain small particles or beads that get rid of old flakey skin cells to reveal the smooth skin underneath it.
However, this can backfire, and leave your skin dry and damaged due to harsh products and over-exfoliating.
Speaking with Daily Mail Online, experts explain how often people should exfoliate and they break down which facial scrubs people should be using.
Skin care specialist Julia Alekperova said people with normal or combination skin shouldn’t exfoliate more than once a week
There are different ways to exfoliate
Esthetician Julia Alekperova, of Paul Labrecque Salon and Spa in New York City, said the purpose of face scrubs is to renew and refresh the skin through a process called exfoliation.
Many facial scrubs contain tiny particles, like beads, sugar, salt or walnut shells, that will lift off dry and dead skin cells, removing the outer layer of the skin. This can also be achieved chemically, by applying an acid, like glycolic and salicylic acid, that dissolves those cells, or mechanically, by using a brush to physically remove the cells.
Dr Dendy Engelman, a New York City-based dermatologist, told Fashionista that chemical exfoliates don’t require repeated scrubbing.
‘Generally for the face, chemical exfoliants are the best option for ridding the skin of dirt and grime and not causing irritation,’ said Dr Engelman. ‘Physical exfoliation can be too harsh on the skin if not done properly or too frequently.’
How often should people use face scrubs?
Alekperova said that people with normal or combination skin should do this just once a week.
Exfoliating every two or three days could leave people with damaged skin, which those with dry or sensitive skin are more susceptible to when they use facial scrubs.
‘Regular scrubs contain small crystals that can scratch your skin,’ she said.
Face scrubs can also make people skin thinner, uneven, less shiny and look either ‘oily yet dry’ or ‘dry yet oily,’ according to Alekperova. It can also leave some people’s skin red or irritated.
Dermatologist Dr Michele Green, a RealSelf Contributor, said people can reduce their risk of skin damage from facial scrubs by knowing which scrub is right for their skin type.
Overall, people should pay attention to how their skin responds to a product so that they can determine how often they should incorporate a face scrub into their individual skin care routine.
What if I have dry or sensitive skin?
Dr Green said wouldn’t recommend facial scrubs for people with dry or sensitive skin because the act of exfoliating by itself can leave the skin feeling parched.
‘You’re just drying out already dry skin,’ she said.
However, Alekperova said people with dry and sensitive skin should try gommage, an enzyme-rich gel that contains ‘thinner particles.’
Meanwhile, Dr Green said people with oily skin can get away with using face scrubs two to three times a week.
When it comes to which types of facial scrubs people should use, many experts, opt for chemical exfoliates, like salicylic acid, as opposed to physical exfoliants like brushes or creams with beads in it.
This is because they are less abrasive and less likely to cause microscopic tears in the skin.
Dr Engelman explained that people who are acne-prone may want to stay away from physical exfoliants because they can make their condition even worse.
Experts said people with dry or sensitive skin should use face scrubs sparingly because they are susceptible to micro-tears
‘If your skin is acne-prone, reusable devices like a brush or cloth can harbor bacteria, which can actually make your acne worse,’ she said.
‘This type of skin reacts best to chemical exfoliants. Exfoliating helps with acne lesions and cleanses pores, and acids like salicylic, lactic and glycolic fight oil and remove pore-clogging dead skin cells.’
However, Alekperova said that there’s no such thing as the ‘best’ facial scrub or exfoliator, it’s all about what’s best for a person and their skin type.
How should I use facial scrubs?
Pay attention to how your skin responds so that you can determine how often you should incorporate a face scrub into your individual skin care routine. emphasized that facials scrubs should be used on clean skin.
That means people should wash their face before using a facial scrub, followed by serum and face lotion.
Board-certified dermatologist Dr Mary P. Lupo said people should proceed with caution when using these scrubs.
She added that people, especially those with dark spots, may have a higher risk of postinflammatory hyperpigmentation when they use aggressive forms of exfoliation, like sugar, salt or walnut shells.
Dr Green said that overall, people, especially those with dry and sensitive skin, should be wary of products with large irritating particles, like nut shells and ‘pick the product right for your skin type.’