A face scrub can be a wise addition to your skin care routine as the air becomes cooler outside. Face scrubs aren’t for everyone though, and should be used with caution.
In this article, you’ll learn:
- What is a face scrub
- When to use a face scrub
- How to find the best physical exfoliant
If you have acne-prone skin, a lackluster complexion or you’re experiencing flaky dry skin, you could likely benefit from using a face scrub.
Fall is the perfect time to consider adding a physical exfoliant to your skin care routine because the dryer air has created a layer of dead cell buildup on our skin.
This, mixed with oil production from the summer, often creates increased breakouts. On dry skin, this layer of build up prevents important hydrating ingredients from penetrating and nourishing the skin.
Face scrubs can physically remove this layer of dead skin cells to renew your complexion.
WHAT IS A FACE SCRUB AND WHAT DOES IT DO?
Face scrubs are a type of physical exfoliant that contains little exfoliating pieces that are massaged across the skin to immediately lift dry, dead cells from the surface.
Face scrubs have many benefits:
- Prevents blackheads and congestion
- Brightens lackluster complexions
- Reveals clean, smooth skin
- Increases absorption of products
The key is using it properly, at the right time.
WHEN TO USE PHYSICAL EXFOLIANTS
In my professional practice, the best exfoliating results happen when a client uses both a physical and chemical exfoliant... but not necessarily on the same night.
They can be used on the same night the odd time if you're noticing a build up of sunscreen, makeup or dead cells. Using a physical exfoliant like a gentle konjac sponge prior to applying an AHA or BHA exfoliating serum will remove build up first and allow the acids to penetrate better.
Ideally, a physical exfoliant is used the evening after you've used an exfoliating serum to remove the dead cells that have detached from the surface.
HOW TO USE A FACE SCRUB MOST EFFECTIVELY
Apply your face scrub to damp skin and very gently massage it in circular motions to your entire face, neck and decollete for 60 seconds.
Avoid pressing hard on your skin as you massage as this will cause irritation, even if you’re working with round beads. Always use very gentle pressure!
If you think your skin could use more exfoliation, massage for 90 seconds rather than using more pressure. Rinse with warm water (never hot) and follow with your hydrating toner, serum and moisturizer.
WHEN TO AVOID USING PHYSICAL EXFOLIANTS
Like any exfoliating product, avoid using a face scrub if your skin is feeling tight, dry or sensitive. If you’re noticing that your skin is pink, red or warm to the touch - avoid exfoliating altogether.
You’ll also want to avoid using physical exfoliants on broken skin and inflamed acne lesions like papules, pustules and cysts. You can also choose to simply avoid these areas, and focus on ones that are congested with blackheads and comedones.
I’ll also caution the use of a face scrub if you have a dark skin tone. That’s because melanated skin is often sensitive to stimulation and friction. Stick to the most gentle type of physical exfoliants, like a konjac facial sponge, to benefit without the risk of unwanted pigmentation.
When it comes to exfoliation, remember that less is often more. For most clients, once a week is enough to benefit. For others, twice a week is their sweet spot.
Always pair back if you’re noticing more shine, redness, increased oiliness or patches of flaky skin.
HOW TO SPOT A GENTLE FACE SCRUB
When it comes to face scrubs, there are so many low quality formulations on the market, like classic St. Ives Apricot Scrub to Kylie Cosmetics Walnut Face Scrub. These fragmented parts are actually very sharp and will damage your skin even if you can’t see it with your naked eye.
- Check the ingredient list
Not all face scrubs are purely physical. Some contain enzymes like papain and bromelain or chemical exfoliants like salicylic acid, lactic acid or glycolic acid.
Purely physical exfoliants will be more gentle on the skin. That doesn’t mean that you need to avoid dual action exfoliants, but you just need to be aware of what you’re in for so you can adjust how you use it to best suit your needs.
- Feel the texture
When it comes to the physical exfoliating ingredient, avoid apricot kernels, most natural seeds and shells, which can cause irritation – especially for sensitive and acne-prone skin. Instead, choose formulas that use round jojoba beads, aluminum oxide or polyethylene grains.
The smaller the particle, the more gentle it will be. Always ensure the size of the particle is round and that you don’t experience a scratchy sensation. This is a sign that the physical exfoliating particle is abrading the skin and you’ll want to avoid using it even on your body.
A list of effective physical exfoliants, from most gentle to most powerful:
- Cotton rounds - these play a part
- Face towels - and so do these
- Zyderma Konjac Facial Sponge
- Glo Daily Polishing Cleanser
- Sorella Mint Poppy Seed Polish
- Sorella Grapefruit Polishing Powder
HOW TO GET MORE OUT OF YOUR EXFOLIATING PRACTICE
The key is noticing signs on your skin and adapting your skin care as a result! Don't hesitate to book your Intuitive Skin Care Package if you need personalized advice on your fall skin care routine.
Intuitive Skin Care Package
Get started on your journey to calm, clear skin with three one-on-one virtual appointments with a certified Skin Therapist. You'll discover what skin care products work best for you, how to use them most effectively and how to tap into your intuition to elevate your skin… Read more