What are Facial Scrubs?

Facial scrubs can be the best exfoliators

In this article we will look at exfoliation, the different methods of exfoliating your skin and why it is an important part of your beauty routine.

Then we will look at some of the best exfoliators or facial scrubs, those that you can make at home and those that you can buy over the counter.


What is exfoliation?

Exfoliation is the removal of dead skin cells form the surface of your skin. Performed correctly, the benefits of exfoliating are a healthier looking skin, and a smoother and younger looking complexion.


The benefits of exfoliating your skin

Young woman applying facial scrub.In general, there are 6 benefits of exfoliating, not all of them may be important to you, but there will be at least one or two benefits that you will appreciate. 

Also, some of these benefits will depend on the type and the strength of the exfoliator you use.

So as we progress through this article, and the next three articles in this four part series, I will tell you the benefits of each type of exfoliator and the type of skin conditions which respond best to them. So let’s look at the benefits of exfoliating your skin.


6 benefits of including a face exfoliator in your daily beauty routine:

  • Large pores are reduced in size: When you exfoliate your skin, you not only remove all of the dead skin cells on the surface of your skin, but you also the dirt and debris that has become clogged in your pores. Removing this dirt and debris reduces the size of your pores and also helps to remove the source of any unsightly blackheads, leaving your skin with a healthy, clean and fresh appearance.
  • Acne and breakouts are less frequent: Removing dead skin cells, dirt and debris from your skin also helps to reduce the occurrence of acne and breakouts. This is because you are also reducing your skin’s excess oil at the same time, leading to fewer spots and blackheads.
  • Your skin texture improves: Exfoliating your skin removes all those dead cells from the surface of your skin, which helps to speed up the cellular renewal process. Healthy skin is then exposed and your complexion looks and feels softer and smoother, instead of dull and tired.
  • Skin absorption and hydration are maximized: Exfoliation is essential for tired, dry skin because removing the dead skin cells helps your skin better absorb your moisturizer. This means that your skin is more hydrated, resulting in a healthier appearance.
  • Lines and wrinkles are reduced: As your skin becomes more hydrated, the dryness that causes fine lines and wrinkles is abolished and your skin looks more youthful and radiant.
  • Hyper-pigmentation, age spots and sun spots reduced: Exfoliation can also help to minimize pigmentation on your skin, giving you a more even skin tone.


How to exfoliate your skin

There are generally four ways you can exfoliate your skin – using natural exfoliants, facial scrubs, chemical peels or microdermabrasion.

Which method you choose depends on a number of factors ranging from your skin type, whether you have fine lines, deep lines or wrinkles, whether you have skin pigmentation, blemishes, acne or acne scars, the sensitivity of your skin and whether your skin is oily or dry.

The best exfoliator will be the one that gives you a ready solution to your skin problems. In general, each of the four exfoliating techniques uses different methods and produces different results.


Natural exfoliants – homemade facial scrubs

Best exfoliators for face - Organic Facial Scrub by HoneySkin OrganicsPeople have been using natural exfoliants for many years, long before dermatology and skincare became available commercially.

Natural exfoliants include honey, yogurt, baking soda, seeds and ground nuts, sugar, oatmeal, lemon juice, papaya, pineapple and sea salt.

These luscious sounding ingredients act as natural exfoliators either because of their abrasive action on the skin or because they naturally contain AHAs (alpha-hydroxy acids) which help to remove the top layer of dead cells from your skin.


What are the benefits of using a homemade facial scrub?

The obvious benefit of using a homemade facial scrub is that you know exactly what goes into it, so you can be 100% sure that it is all natural.

The other benefit is that a homemade facial scrub can be much cheaper than the alternatives, such as over the counter facial scrubs, microdermabrasion or chemical peels performed by a medical professional.

The disadvantage is that some of the ingredients might well cost more than you anticipated, because you want to use all natural, organic ingredients. When you compare the cost of buying all of these ingredients, a homemade face scrub might not be cheaper than one bought over the counter or even an exfoliating peel, both of which you can also perform at home.

The cost of over the counter facial scrubs and chemical peels varies, but those that you can do at home will be quite comparable in price, if not actually cheaper than buying a tonne of organic ingredients to make your own homemade facial scrub.


Exfoliating facial scrubs – over the counter exfoliating products

Era Organics microdermabrasion scrub and maskFacial scrubs are skincare products that are designed to exfoliate the skin on your face and neck area. 

They are generally very mild in nature and are designed to gently exfoliate the top layer of your skin, removing any dead skin cells.

A facial scrub will consist of an exfoliating gel, lotion or foam which may or may not include a moisturizing ingredient, fragrances and essential oils.

They are the most affordable of the three options (facial scrubs, chemical peels and microdermabrasion) and can be readily bought over the counter and easily used at home.


How does a facial scrub work?

Facial scrubs exfoliate your skin by using the mechanical abrasive action of the scrub against your skin to remove any dead skin cells. You can apply the scrub to your fingertips and massage it into your skin, use an exfoliating face brush or exfoliating pads.

There are many different exfoliating products on the market, making home exfoliation an easy option for many men and women.


What are the benefits of an over the counter facial scrub?

There are numerous benefits of exfoliating with a facial scrub, including:

  • Removing dead skin cells and toxins from your skin, which stimulates the growth of new healthy cells, giving your skin a fresher, cleaner look.
  • Improved circulation in the skin, resulting in a healthier looking complexion.
  • A reduction in blackheads, because you are removing the build-up of dead skin cells and any surface dirt on your skin.
  • Dry flaky skin cells are removed, exposing healthier skin cells underneath.
  • These facial scrubs are designed to exfoliate your skin safely.
  • It is much easier to use a shop bought facial scrub, than having to prepare all the ingredients and mix up a homemade one.

The results of a facial scrub are only transitory, so you need to use them at least once a week. Too often and it can annoy your skin, so once or maybe twice a week at most.


When is a facial scrub appropriate?

Woman after shower in bathroom mirror using a facial scrubA facial scrub is best used when you want a quick pick me up or you want to keep your skin feeling clean and refreshed on an ongoing basis.

 If you only have a few blocked pores or blackheads, then a weekly exfoliating facial scrub might be all you need to keep your skin looking bright and healthy.


What are the side effects of a facial scrub?

These depend on the ingredients, your skin’s sensitivity and how often you use a facial scrub. Also, everyone will have different reactions (if any), and most side effects from facial scrubs will be mild and temporary – so we can only talk in generalities.

The following are a few side effects found by customers using facial scrubs:

  • Irritated skin can be caused by scrubbing or massaging your skin too vigorously.
  • Dryness, redness, flaking and itchy skin can be caused by overusing the facial scrub.

So make sure that you gently massage your skin with the facial scrub, moisturize well afterwards and don’t use a facial scrub more often than once or twice a week.


What are the best exfoliators/facial scrubs?

Facial scrubs in a cream base are great for people with dry skin, so look for creamy facial exfoliators, whilst an exfoliating gel is best for people with oily or combination skin.

Exfoliator pads are meant to be perfect for most skin types, whilst people with sensitive skin could benefit from the gentlest of exfoliators with few abrasive ingredients.

ProX by Olay Advanced Cleansing System with exfoliating face brush

Olay Pro X Advanced Cleansing System - best exfoliatorThis face exfoliator comes with both the facial scrub and an exfoliating face brush to deliver superior cleansing on hard to remove makeup with a gentle exfoliating action – your face is left clean and ready for your moisturizer.

With 2 speeds, you can control the speed of the exfoliation and it is even water resistant so you can use it in the shower! A great exfoliating system scoring high with customers and in a very affordable price bracket as well. Read my full review.

Oz Naturals Facial Scrub – Dermafoliant

Best exfoliator - OZ Naturals Facial ScrubAnother highly rated exfoliator, the OZ Naturals facial scrub contains bamboo, lactic acid, alpha lipoic acid, green tea, rice enzymes and pro vitamin B5 to give your skin a superior clean. 

Made from all natural ingredients and free from parabens, this facial exfoliator leaves your skin looking squeaky clean, fresh and healthy. Read my full review.

Blueberry Cranberry Oxygen Facial Scrub

Affordable facial exfoliants - Blueberry Cranberry Oxygen Facial ScrubThis luscious sounding exfoliating face scrub not only contains blueberries and cranberries, but also is packed full of pomegranate, rhubarb and dandelion. 

With 70% organic ingredients, this exfoliating face scrub is designed to gently exfoliate and detoxify your skin leaving it looking smoother, fresher and simply glowing. Read my full review.

Organic Facial Scrub by Honeyskin Organics

Organic Facial Scrub by HoneySkin OrganicsRated very highly by Amazon customers, this Organic Facial Scrub contains fruit acids, Manuka Honey, Aloe Vera and Botanicals – there are no harsh chemicals to irritate your skin in this facial scrub.

At a pH 5.5, it is designed with biodegradable micro-beads for sensitive skin and leaves your skin silky soft with a healthy glow. Read my full review.


Read more facial scrub reviews, here.

There are  4 parts to this exfoliation series:

Part 2: The chemical peel process

Part 3: Are chemical peels safe?

Part 4: Chemical peel vs microdermabrasion

To pop back to the Facial Scrubs category – click here