Facial Scrubs: Are You Overdoing It?

Over-Exfoliated Skin. Are You Overdoing Facial Scrubs?

Facial scrubs can be soothing and can give your face a soft, healthy glow. They can also make your face raw. Too many women are overusing their facial scrubs, giving them red, irritated cheeks. Overdoing facial scrubs may cause over-exfoliated skin. Are you over-scrubbing?

For example you may have bright red, painful rash on your cheeks. You may think that this is due allergic to your new facial scrub.

But it might be not allergic. Scrub doing what designed to do: removing a layer of cells from your skin every time you use it.

This is a classic case of too much of a good thing in facial skin care. Facial scrubs can be an easy, rather inexpensive way to exfoliate the dull scaly cells on your skin’s surface leaving you with softer, more vibrant skin. However, exfoliating has gotten a little out of hand recently.

A lot of women’s magazines have articles touting the benefits of some apricot and citrus lavender dead sea salt micronized facial scrub. It’s too much.

Facial scrubs can exfoliate your skin chemically or physically. Chemical facial scrubs use salicylic, glycolic, citric, or lactic acid to chemically remove the dry dead scales on your skin’s surface.

Physical scrubs exfoliate physically by using ground apricot pits or almonds, sugars, salt, sand, or even tiny beads in microdermabrasions. These abrasives are often mixed in an oil base (such as olive oil if it’s homemade), and when you scrub the abrasive on your face, you physically remove the dull, scaly surface to reveal the healthy living cells beneath.

It is helpful to understand that although these dead cells can give you a dry, dull look, your skin puts those dead cells at the surface for a reason: to protect the delicate living cells below. A little exfoliating once in a while can be useful, making your skin softer and visibly brighter. But you must do this in moderation, that is once every two weeks (which is about how long it takes your skin to turn over).

Some people can tolerate scrubbing more frequently than this, but I suggest you start slowly and work your way to more frequent exfoliating if you so desire. You will notice at some point that using your scrub more frequently does not improve your complexion any further. That’s because there are no dead cells left on your skin’s surface. In this case, give your skin a break, and let it heal before you scrub it again.

Over scrubbing with physical or chemical facial scrubs will not clean your pores, reduce your skin’s oiliness, decrease your acne, or give you a permanent healthy glow. It will however make your skin red, irritated, and raw.

Your Comments


  1. Recently I’ve had really dry skin, and I’ve been getting blackheads at the tip of my nose. I decided to try some natural treatments on my face and have been extremely happy..

    The first I found was making a paste out of baking soda and water for the blackheads. Noticeable difference afterwards. It seemed I had more blackheads after using it, but I guess because it pushes them out. I’ve done this two days now, and have just a few more blackheads to go and they’re gone! It’s great for acne too. I had one pimple and the paste seemed to just force the stuff out.

    The second thing I found was a sugar scrub; 2 tbsp of sugar and 3 tbsp of warm water mixed. It lightly and gently exfoliates the skin. I’ve only done this once this week, and my skin looks and feels amazing! I love it.

    The third thing I used was a honey and yogurt mask. Literally mixed 1 tbs of honey with about 2-3 tbsp (can’t remember) of yogurt, and applied it to my face. Kept it on for about 10-15 minutes and washed it away with a very warm/steamy wash cloth.

    I’ve done the baking soda/water paste and the honey & yogurt mask twice now, and I am so happy with my skin!!! After washing away the face mask, I put on a moisturizer and by morning any redness is gone, my face is so soft and smooth, it feels refreshed and it looks great!

    I’m sticking with the natural stuff and I will not spend another dollar on a face mask, scrub, etc.

  2. I have permanent broken veins in my skin from scrubbing with a dermabrasion pad. I never use anything rough anymore. My skin does look dull tho. Perhaps a facial mask is better.

  3. I use Queen Helene Mint Julep Mask twice a week.. So refreshing.
    And also Queen Helene Oatmeal N Honey Face Scrub. Smells yummy and kind to my skin.

    I have an oily skin, easy for me to get acne. But since I’m on medication (the dermatologist gave antibiotics, vitamin C and antihistamine), my face is in the best condition ever.
    The Queen Helene scrub (Oatmeal N Honey) is gentle to me I believe because it contains ground walnut powder (not totally crushed ground walnut). As for the mask, it contains sulfur and bentonite, which are good =)

    I try not to get over-excited with the scrub and mask. Scared that I’ll overuse them. Haha.. But seriously, they are cheap and effctive.

  4. Hi! I’m wondering what’s the best way to cleanse my face in the morning or whenever I take a shower. I use a facial wash everyday, instead of a facial scrub. Is that a good choice? I do use scrubs, but only around 1-2x a week.

  5. I suffered from acne for almost my entire life – I was using proactiv, which I love. But after running out of their face scrub before my next shipment, I bought some clean and clear benzyl peroxide face wash to use in the meantime. It has 10% benzyl peroxide, but no “scrubbies” – I found that after using it for about a week, in conjunction with my regular proactiv lotion (I also quit using the toner except in the summer), my face cleared up. It’s been about 2 years and I have great, super smooth skin. I get a zit about once a month (hormones), but that’s it. I exfoliate about once a week now using a mask, biore pore strip, or a light scrub. I think like other posters, the scrubbing was causing the breakouts by irritating my skin. I also use plain old lemon juice as a toner a few times a week at night – just dab on, let dry, and apply regular routine of lotions (or potions as my husband calls them)!

  6. I hate to admit this because i should be able to solve this on my own but i have tried everything in the book. white heads! i use a particular line and it was the cause of it and i curse that brand, but i refuse to bash. i know people who love that line of products. anyway, i cant get rid of them. would you comment please

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