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Should You Use a Face Scrub?

a woman wearing hair towel applying scrub on her face while looking at the camera

When it comes to skincare, there are many products and treatments to choose from, and it can be challenging to know which ones are necessary and how often to use them. One product that usually raises questions is a face scrub. 

So, is it necessary to use a face scrub? If so, how often should you use it? Here’s what you need to know so you can decide for yourself!

What Is a Face Scrub?

A face scrub is an exfoliant that helps remove dead skin cells and unclog pores. They come in different forms, including physical scrubs with granules or beads and chemical products with enzymes or acids.

Why Use a Face Scrub?

Face scrubs can help improve the overall texture and appearance while stimulating cell renewal, removing excess oil, and purifying pores. These effects make them great for reducing the risk of blackheads and breakouts or smoothing away rough skin.

Exfoliation can also help improve the penetration of other skincare products, such as serums and moisturizers. Apply hyaluronic acid or another deeply moisturizing product afterward to best take advantage of this.

a woman applying a cream on her face with her eyes closed
Photo by Polina Kovaleva on

How Often To Use a Face Scrub

The frequency with which you use a face scrub depends on several factors, including your skin type, the type of scrub you use, and your individual skin concerns. As a general rule, you should exfoliate one to two times a week, although those with sensitive skin may need to exfoliate less often or use a milder product.

Some types of scrubs meant for acne and other conditions are designed for more frequent use. These products contain gentler abrasives or only weak concentrations of chemical exfoliants such as salicylic acid, allowing you to use them several times a week or even daily to help eliminate pore blockages and reduce the risk of breakouts.

To maximize the benefits of a scrub while reducing irritation, always moisturize your skin after exfoliating. Use a lightweight moisturizer with glycerin or other oil-free emollients for oily skin or a heavier product for dry skin.

Signs You May Need to Exfoliate

Exfoliation can help your skin look and feel incredible, but it’s important not to overdo it. Luckily, there are some fairly obvious signs you can look for to gauge whether you need to exfoliate your skin:

  • Dull complexion: If your skin looks dull and lacks its natural glow, it may be due to a buildup of dead skin cells. Face scrubs help remove these cells and reveal brighter, smoother skin.
  • Clogged pores: If you’re prone to acne or blackheads, it’s important to keep your pores clear. Exfoliating can help unclog pores and prevent pimples from forming.
  • Flaky or rough patches: If you have any flaky or rough patches on your skin, this may indicate a need for exfoliation. Products with microbeads or particles work best to smooth out your skin.
  • Uneven skin tone: If you have uneven skin tone or hyperpigmentation, exfoliating with acid-based products can help brighten your complexion and normalize its tone.
  • Slow cell turnover: As we age, our skin’s natural cell turnover process slows down. Exfoliating can help to speed up this process and promote younger, healthier-looking skin. Try glycolic acid for mature skin, as it helps boost collagen synthesis and cell renewal.

Choosing the Right Product

When choosing a face scrub, it’s important to consider your skin type and concerns. For example, if you have dry skin, look for hydrating products with ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, glycerin, shea butter or coconut oil.

Oily skin often responds well to products with glycolic acid or coarser beads. These exfoliants help strip away the excess oil to make your skin feel clean and smooth without overdrying it.

Acne or psoriasis-prone skin benefits from a gentle ingredient such as salicylic acid. Not only is Salicylic acid great for unclogging pores, but it’s also superb at removing dead skin cells and easing inflammation. It helps prevent pimples and flaking for clearer, more comfortable skin.

massager brush
Photo by Nathan J Hilton on

Other Exfoliation Options

Besides face scrubs, there are also other exfoliators you can use if you prefer. One alternative is an exfoliating mitt. These are like a loofah for your face.

Another option is an exfoliation brush. These intensive exfoliators feature a rotating brush head that works with water or cleanser to help remove dead skin cells and other debris.

Overnight peels are the last common option, although there are more kinds of exfoliators, including deep techniques performed by dermatologists or cosmetic specialists. Overnight peels contain a low concentration of glycolic, lactic, mandelic or another type of alpha-hydroxy acid that can be applied like a skin cream and left on while you sleep before washing your face in the morning.

By understanding the benefits of using a face scrub and how often to use it, you can determine whether this type of exfoliation is necessary for your skincare routine. Whether you use a scrub or a different kind of exfoliant, it’s essential to listen to your skin and adjust your skincare routine as needed.

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