Step Away from the Crushed Shell

Without naming names, we wanted to share our thoughts on products and brands that use crushed walnut or apricot kernel shells in their physical exfoliation products (as opposed to acid-based chemical exfoliation), i.e. scrubs. We completely understand the appeal of a freshly scrubbed face - feeling properly clean, your skin is smooth like a baby's bottom and seems to absorb the products better. Right?

Wrong! Whilst there is nothing wrong with gentle exfoliation, we would not recommend highly abrasive scrubs that essentially tear your skin. Yes, they remove dead skin cells and, along with them, expose and scratch the healthy skin, allow bacteria to penetrate deeper (because there is nothing there to protect it anymore) and cause inflammation.

Even if you use such scrubs only once a week, you will find that over time your skin becomes more sensitive, more oily and breaks out easier. That is because the highly abrasive action on the skin also removes the natural oils that you skin needs to maintain its health. So lack of oils, damage and inflammation altogether is a perfect breeding ground for bacteria, causing acne. Lack of oils means your skin will become easier dehydrated, since lipids in the skin help hold on to moisture. So what do you do when you feel oily, greasy, have breakouts? Yes, use more scrub to "properly" cleanse the skin!

Funnily enough, such products often contain "Natural" and "Dermatologist tested". Well, all those may be true. However natural does not mean good for your skin. Crude Oil is natural but you wouldn't rush to put that on your face. Dermatologist tested - again, yes, to make sure it doesn't melt your face. However, it does not mean dermatologists recommend it as an optimal way to exfoliate.

In fact, mild dilutions of glycolic or lactic acid are much better exfoliators. Alternatively, if you do enjoy a good scrub, better opt for spherically-shaped particles or exfoliators containing powders (nut, rice, oat bran, etc).

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