The OG scrubs (aka physical exfoliators) were introduced in the 1980s and ’90s they were extremely loved by the masses. Remember St. Ives Apricot Scrub? Sure, some of the products for smoothing skin felt like sandpaper however, the results were quick and addictive. A single sloughing can make skin feel more supple, smoother and more radiant.
The issue was that the radiant light could turn into chronic irritation and redness. “Formulas that contained sharp unbalanced nuts or shells affected the skin and led to little tears” claims Diane Berson, MD, a New York City dermatologist. and less irritating formulas due to the use of plastic microbeads were found to be detrimental in their own ways because they did not disintegrate and find in waters, fish, and even humans. The year 2015 saw Congress prohibits their inclusion in every rinse-off products for cosmetics.
Scrubs weren’t completely gone after that however, they have were no longer an essential ingredient in skincare, at least until the last few years. In the last few years there has been a new line of physical exfoliators have emerged with more gentle, biodegradable ingredients which promise to safely slough away. Burt’s Bees Gentle Face scrub uses the smooth carnauba wax beads. The Versed Day Maker Microcrystal Exfoliator employs uniform microcrystals as well as Coola Pacific Polish’s Gentle Sea Salt Exfoliator makes use of salt grains.
It’s still advisable, however it’s best to cleanse your skin with care. “Scrubbing with too much force regardless of the ingredients may cause trauma on the face,” Dr. Berson warns. Julia Tzu, MD, is a New York City dermatologist, advises her patients to not over-scrub three times per week. She also advises “Don’t do it too much. I aim to limit it to a minimum of 10 to 15 minutes.”