Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Use Your Body Scrub on Your Face
Let’s be honest, from time to time, we all make skin-care mistakes. You go to sleep with your makeup on, you touch your face too much without washing your hands, or you try to make a body lotion work for your face. It happens to the best of us. One blunder in particular (and this one we see more than you think) is trying to turn your body scrub into a face scrub. The two may seem similar enough at first glance, but once you start massaging a body scrub into your face you may notice they aren’t quite the same. We’re revealing exactly why to steer clear of using a body scrub on your face and how to safely exfoliate your face instead. Plus, our favorite face scrubs for getting the job done.
WHY YOU SHOULDN’T USE A BODY SCRUB ON YOUR FACE
We’ve already explained that using a body scrub on your face is a total no-go, but let’s get into why that is. It’s certainly understandable how it could be appealing to reduce the number of products your skin care routine requires by having your body scrub masquerade as a face scrub, but it isn’t worth risking your skin. Consider this: one of the cardinal rules of good skin care is to only use products that are meant for your skin type. Doing so ensures that the formula you put onto your skin has the best chance of being effective for you personally and is unlikely to cause irritation. The same notion applies to products formulated to target one specific area of skin. You wouldn’t use foot cream on your face, the same way you wouldn’t put eye cream on your chest. Yes, they’re technically both creams, but they are designed for particular areas of skin. It’s always best to follow the advice on package labels and avoid making substitutions.
Now, think about your facial skin compared to the skin on your stomach and legs. The truth is, the skin on your face and body are different — hence why they necessitate different skin-care routines and products. Both areas need to be exfoliated, but the same product is unlikely to be a good fit for both. You can expect a product that’s formulated for your body to be too harsh for your face, as your skin is thinner and typically more sensitive there. The large, abrasive beads and grains in a body scrub, that are actually ideal for exfoliating before shaving your legs or smoothing on self-tanner, can irritate and damage the skin on your face. Facial skin requires gentler care with softer exfoliating particles that won’t tear at the skin or cause discomfort.
Body scrubs are typically thicker in consistency compared to facial scrubs.
Seeking a second opinion? We spoke with board-certified dermatologist, and Skincare.com consultant, Dhaval Bhanusali, MD, who also strongly advises against using body scrubs on your face. “Body scrubs are typically thicker in consistency compared to facial scrubs,” he says. “They also have stronger concentrations of acids, which can be too strong for facial skin and lead to potential breakouts and irritation.” Stick with using body scrubs on your body and face scrubs on your face.
4 RULES FOR EXFOLIATING SAFELY
Exfoliating with a product that’s meant for the area you’re using it on is a must, but it isn’t the only guideline for sloughing your skin.
RULE #1: Find the right frequency.
Not everyone should exfoliate the same amount. As with most things in skin care, there’s no guarantee that what works for one person will work for you. How often you should exfoliate will depend on what your skin can handle. Start slowly, exfoliating just once a week or so, and build up over time. If your skin becomes uncomfortable or irritated after exfoliating, that’s a sign to decrease the frequency at which you’re scrubbing your skin or find a gentler formula.
RULE #2: Keep your current routine in mind.
It’s possible that you’re already using products that could impact exfoliation. According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), certain products, like those containing retinol or benzoyl peroxide, can make skin more sensitive. Exfoliating when your routine includes such ingredients can lead to drier skin or even breakouts.
RULE #3: Consider your skin type.
There isn’t a foolproof form of exfoliation that works for everyone. The AAD states that it’s important to take your skin type into consideration when choosing your exfoliation method. Those with dry, sensitive, or acne-prone skin may prefer a mild option, while oily skin types may be better suited to stronger mechanical exfoliation.
RULE #4: Be gentle.
Even if the product you’re using is gentle, it’s essential that you apply it gently too. It’s all too easy to over do it. The AAD recommends applying your face scrub using small, circular motions for about 30 seconds. Then, rinse off with lukewarm water. And of course, skip exfoliating if you have open cuts or sunburned skin.
RULE #5: Follow with moisturizer.
Despite doing everything right, exfoliating can still be drying to the skin. After rinsing off, apply moisturizer directly onto damp skin to lock in moisture and stay hydrated.
Our Favorite Face Scrubs
Now that you’re equipped with rules to safely exfoliate your skin, you’re free to pick a product — as long as it’s meant for your face — and start scrubbing. Of course, there are nearly endless options for getting your scrub on. To help narrow it down, here are a few of our favorites:
Formulated with three different sugars (blonde, brown and white) and acai, monoi and grapeseed oil, L’Oréal Paris Pure-Sugar Smooth & Glow Face Scrub offers deep yet gentle exfoliation and an affordable price tag.
Garnier SkinActive Clean+ Blackhead Eliminating Scrub is perfect for oily skin types thanks to its gel texture. It cleanses, tightens pores and smoothes skin — a mutli-use gem you’ll want to add into your routine ASAP.
It can be tough for sensitive skin types to find scrubs that won’t irritate their delicate skin, but luckily this scrub from La Roche-Posay is designed to do just that. This formula exfoliates and purifies using ultra-fine pumice particles, which helps to remove excess dead cells.