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Facial scrubs can be an effective way to exfoliate your skin for a fresher look. That does not mean they are without risks, however. Harsh exfoliation is known to cause damage when overused. The question is just how likely you are to harm your face when you scrub it and how you can avoid any of these negative effects.
A facial scrub is a form of exfoliant applied to the skin of your face. Because this is one of your most constantly exposed areas of skin, it picks up impurities throughout the day and can be particularly in need of care.
When applied correctly, a scrub removes dead skin cells, which makes your face look younger and feel smoother. It can also help clear blocked pores and remove excess oils, reducing your risk of blemishes and blackheads.
Exfoliants are generally applied after cleanser and before any toner, serum or moisturizer. They may involve mechanical methods, such as brushes, or chemical products containing ingredients such as salicylic or glycolic acid.
The biggest danger of a facial scrub is that if you keep using it after you have removed dead skin, it will start to rub away the fresh, new skin as well. This could lead to the skin drying out as you remove too much oil, followed by inflammation, redness and irritation. Other signs you have been exfoliating too much include flakiness or peeling, an excessively shiny forehead, and a puffy, swollen complexion. You may also have more of a reaction to other products in your skincare regimen because your face becomes more sensitive.
Somewhat counterintuitively, while the correct amount of scrubbing reduces or removes blemishes, too much can cause breakouts, particularly of small but bumpy pimples because you are damaging healthy skin cells and preventing them from providing natural protection for your face.
If you experience these symptoms, you may need to immediately stop using your facial scrub altogether. Restrict yourself to the mildest cleansers that you immediately rinse and pat dry, followed by an effective moisturizer with no fragrances or common allergens, until your skin returns to its normal tone and texture; this could take a week, or even a whole month. When you do reintroduce the exfoliant, do so slowly. If the trouble persists, you may even need to consult with a dermatologist.
A burning sensation in your skin can be managed in the moment with a cold compress. Products like aloe gel are known for their soothing properties. Hydrocortisone cream can also be used in some circumstances to treat inflammation. It is also important to avoid other products known for being particularly drying or irritating.
In recent years, there has been increasing awareness of the risks of overusing exfoliants, including facial scrubs. Manufacturers have started trying to make softer versions that are just as effective but that will be gentler on your skin. Regardless of the type of scrub, you also need to be careful in how you apply it.
There are several ways to moderate the effect of a facial scrub. For example, applying it to skin that is already damp reduces the risk of drying out too much. Gentle, circular motions are better than rough up-and-down scrubbing. Once you have finished exfoliating, rinse your face again to ensure no product remains.
You must also ensure you do not use any exfoliant more than the recommended number of times. This will generally be two or three times a week, or maybe even only once. It definitely will not be every day. If you stick to that schedule, you should be able to protect your face while still benefiting from the exfoliating effects of the scrub.
One example of an effective facial scrub is the Scrub-All skin Types Facial Polish. It combines volcanic ash, jasmine and Tamanu Oil to smooth your skin, moisturize, unclog pores and prevent acne, but it is also only to be applied two or three times a week when your skin is already damp, and you must rinse it off afterward.
In short, it is possible to use a facial scrub too much if you're not careful. The general recommendation is to apply it two or three times a week; if you do it more often than that, you risk damaging your skin through dryness, redness and irritation. Luckily, these side effects can be avoided by choosing your products carefully and following usage instructions.