Exfoliating Facial Scrubs Explained

Ingredients To Look for in a Gentle Exfoliating Facial Scrub

Here is a quote that I found from Christine Chin who owns a spa in Manhattan: "Dead skin cells are like plaque on the teeth, and we produce more plaque as we get older."  Eeek. I never thought of it that way. But now that I do it kind of makes sense. Plaque on our teeth is not good for us, that is why we brush our teeth and try to take care of them. So it is with our skin. Is your skin dull looking? Maybe it could be the dead skin cells that are the culprit.

So what is the remedy for a build up of dead skin cells? How about an exfoliating facial scrub. Actually the definition of exfoliating (in cosmetics anyway) means to get rid of these dead skin cells. But there are so many ways to exfoliate the face. I need to be using a gentle exfoliating facial scrub for my sensitive skin. Which one is best for me? Well lets examine the different types of exfoliating facial scrubs and see which methods would be gentle.

Exfoliating facial scrubs can be broken into two categories: chemical or mechanical

First let's look at exfoliating using the chemical method. Chemicals used to exfoliate your face use ingredients like glycolic acid, salicylic acid, alpha hydroxy acid, trichloracetate acid... Get the acid theme here? Some of these acids are so harsh that you need to have a prescription from your doctor to use them. Many acids can be absorbed through the skin. After using other acids you have to avoid the sun after use and it may take a while for your skin to heal after use. My thought is that chemical exfoliating might not be such a good idea for my sensitive skin.

So lets now look at the mechanical way of exfoliating your face - and there are many.

  • You can use just a wash cloth or a facial brush. These can be OK for your sensitive skin but the tendency for people who use them is to scrub too hard, too long and too often. Patricia Allison Beauty has never promoted using a wash cloth with any of its products or in addition to its products for this very reason. Both of these products tend to be too harsh and remove more than the dead skin cells.

  • Microbeads are tiny plastic beads used in many products, including facial scrubs, to exfoliate the skin. Effective? Maybe. Environmentally sound? No. These beads are made of plastic and are not biodegradable. Something that is biodegradable can be broken down when consumed by organisms. Microbeads can not be. After you use a product with microbeads in it the microbeads flow down your drain, through your pipes and eventually into our waterways where they are consumed by fish. Microbeads in our lake and rivers has been described as “ground up plastic bottles.” Patricia Allison Beauty was one of the first cruelty free cosmetic companies, which means we do not test our products on animals. Our founder was an animal activist and I am very fond of animals myself. I also think that it is man's responsibility to care for our environment and to me putting “ground up plastic bottles” in our waterways is not very environmental friendly. So for me microbeads are out.

  • Ground up walnut, pecan or almond shells, apricot seeds, bamboo: I'm sure effective, but maybe a bit too harsh for a gentle exfoliating facial scrub.

  • Sugar, salt: Sugar can be an effective exfoliate but has a tenancy to cause rashes in people with sensitive skin. Salt can also be an effective exfoliate but it can cause dermatitis.

  • Corn meal, ground almonds: corn meal is a gentle abrasive and stimulant that is rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Almond meal has gentle abrasion qualities and is also rich in vitamins and minerals

Some other great ingredients to look for in a gentle exfoliating facial scrub are:

  • Honey and molasses: both of these ingredients un-glue dead skin cells along with the added benefit of protecting the skin.

  • Vegetable glycerin: softens the skin

  • Talc: absorbs moisture and oil

  • Flax seed: skin conditioner

  • Sea Kelp: draws out the impurities in the skin.

Hey, I think we've come to the end of the list on how to find a gentle exfoliating facial scrub. One really good scrub is called Swedish Scrub. It is has wholesome ingredients in it like corn meal, ground almond and flax seed for exfoliating, added ingredients like vegetable glycerin, talc and sea kelp - all held together by honey and molasses.   Swedish Scrub is a fragrance free facial scrub and also contains no added dyes - two ingredient that are not going to benefit your skin. Just ingredient that will work on getting through and removing that dead skin layer. 

One final thought about using a gentle exfoliating facial scrub. The whole purpose in exfoliating is to get rid of dead skin cells on the outer layer of the skin to thoroughly clean pores and make your skin more vibrant looking. You need to be careful about which product that you choose. You do not want to take off more than the dead skin cells and cause damaging the healthy skin cells. This damages the lipid barrier, which is the protection layer of the skin. Then you get into inflammation. If you have sensitive skin, no matter which method you use, only exfoliate one a week. This is plenty to keep those dead skin cells at bay.

And always follow up your gentle exfoliating facial scrub treatment with a high quality gentle face moisturizer.

Article by Pam Carpman for Patricia Allison Beauty llc: 955 original words