Why You Should Avoid Scrubs (And What To Use Instead)

Who doesn’t love a good scrub? It’s so satisfying to see all those dead skin cells leave our skin. It makes us feel like its really working, and we haven’t wasted our money on yet another doubtful product. And afterwards, our skin is so soft! But did you know they are not the best way to exfoliate skin? I’m sure we’re all guilty of buffing away our skin with a good scrub but there are alternatives! Here’s a break down of why you shouldn’t use scrubs and what you should try instead!

Why you shouldn’t use scrubs!

A scrub is an exfoliating product that uses some particles – such as apricot kernels, sand, seashells or sugar, to name a few – to manually remove dead skin cells from the surface of the skin. But they aren’t often as gentle as skincare brands would have us believe. These particles can have rough, uneven edges that can scratch your skin, causing small tears that aren’t always visible to the naked eye.  Apricot kernels are the worst offenders. Stay away from them!

But what if you’re using scrubs with gentle, even-edged particles that don’t hurt skin? They still don’t perform as well as you might think. Scrubs rely on you to do most of the work. You have to spread them and rub them on your skin to remove dead skin cells. But are you using the same amount of product and spending the same amount of time on each area of your face (and body?). Chances are you’re not. The result? Uneven exfoliation. Some areas will be better exfoliated than others. Some may even be all red and flaky. Who hasn’t spent a bit way too much time rubbing a scrub all over their face, only to realize they overdid it? A red, painful face is no fun to deal with. So, what should you use instead? Chemical exfoliants.

Why you should switch to chemical exfoliants

The world chemical evokes all kinds of nightmares these days, but chemical exfoliants are good for your skin. There are two types: alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs). These acids work by dissolving the “glue” that holds your skin cells together, thus allowing them to slough off. All you have to do is apply them all over your face, and let them work their magic. Although you can’t see it happen, your skin will be exfoliated, and a lot more evenly too! So, which type should you use?

Oily or acne-prone skin? Opt for salicylic acid

If you have oily skin that’s prone to breakouts and acne, you must try salicylic acid. A type of BHAs, salicylic acid is oil-soluble. Why is this important? Because it allows it to penetrate inside the sebum clogged pores of your skin, exfoliating them from within. Of course, it can exfoliate the surface of your skin as well. And keep oil production under control too. Can your scrub do that? Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant is one of the best and safe to use at home.

Dry or sun-damaged skin? Choose glycolic acid

Derived from sugar cane, glycolic acid is a type of AHAs. Glycolic acid is a multitasker. It doesn’t just exfoliate your skin. It hydrates it too. But best of all, it boosts collagen production, thickens skin, and helps fight the premature signs of aging caused by sun damage, like wrinkles and dark spots! No scrub can equal that! We love Ren’s Glycol Lactic Radiance Mask. The mask is free of parabens, sulfates, synthetic fragrances/dyes, and petrochemicals and is recommended for use once a week.

Sensitive skin? Lactic acid is your friend

If you have sensitive skin that gets irritated really easily, glycolic acid may be too strong for you. Instead, you should opt for lactic acid, another AHA.  Although less powerful, lactic acid is more moisturizing and gentler than glycolic acid, giving you similar benefits without any nasty side effects. Yay!

Are you ready to ditch the scrub and switch to a chemical exfoliant?

By Giorgia Guazzarotti

  1. I stopped using scrubs probably 2 years ago because they always irritated my skin. I’ve been using a konjac sponge and loving it.

  2. I definitely prefer chemical acids, they do the job perfectly and you feel like you’ve really covered each area of the face without over-scrubbing

    Lauren x
    Britton Loves | Lifestyle Food Beauty

  3. What a great article, you’ve totally convinced me to switch over to AHA’s. I’ve always been very wary of scrubs and now I know why. Thank you so much for sharing this with us.

  4. Eli, you’re welcome. Glad I convinced you to switch to AHAs. You’ll love them!

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