True Grit: Benefits, Ingredients, and Best Practices of Facial Scrubs

Written by MaryJo Reeves, L.E.

Exfoliation is a vital part of every skin care regimen with numerous benefits. Granular exfoliation (scrubs) provides a tremendous difference in the health and beauty of the skin. Today’s aesthetic market offers an abundance of facial scrubs making refining and retexturizing to reveal younger-looking skin effortless.
Clients may already have a preferred regimen, including a cleanser, serums, eye cream, masks, moisturizers, and sunscreen. Visible improvement can be attained by adding a facial scrub to the homecare routine. Additionally, scrubs are a great homecare treatment between professional procedures that keep the skin vibrant, radiant, and baby soft.
Professionals can add value to services by educating clients on various types of scrubs, how to use them, what to expect from them, and what solutions they provide.

BENEFITS OF SCRUBS
Exfoliation aids in microcirculation, which is a system of transporting blood cells and oxygen to and from tissues known as nutritive flow. This process stimulates blood flow through the capillaries, boosting the production of healthy, new cells.
Exfoliating has excellent antiaging benefits as it stimulates collagen synthesis, improves skin tone and texture and restores a natural, youthful glow.
Blemish-prone skin can improve significantly from a granular exfoliant, especially for grades one and two acne. The right scrubs will unclog pores, creating a more even texture and making the pores appear smaller and tighter.
It is best to recommend a scrub with calming and nourishing ingredients. Aloe vera, lavender, and chamomile are good choices.
Acne-prone clients should refrain from using harsh scrubs or ingredients that aggravate blemished skin, such as ground up shells and fruit pits.
Regular exfoliation assists the skin in absorption and efficacy of other products, which maximizes a client’s investment in professional treatments and homecare products.
Facial scrubs can be used in the treatment room as a mini-facial treatment or in lieu of chemical peels and other forms of physical exfoliation with tools or machines.

INGREDIENTS TO LOOK FOR
Walnut shell: Cosmetic-grade, finely ground walnut shell is a widely used ingredient in soaps, scrubs, and personal care formulations. Walnut shell is an all-natural and biodegradable ingredient.
Diatomaceous earth: This is sand made from fossilized algae. Diatomaceous earth can be used to help promote healthy skin as an exfoliator that removes microscopic deposits of dirt, oils, and dead skin cells.
Bamboo powder: High in silica and minerals, the finely ground powder acts as a gentle exfoliant, efficiently removing dead skin cells without damaging delicate tissues. It is a non-irritating, soothing exfoliator that is rich in minerals, provides superior nourishing properties to skin cells, and contains antioxidants that help minimize wrinkles and give a natural, youthful boost to skin.
Raw sugar cane granules: Sugar makes an amazing abrasive ingredient in scrubs. It is a natural humectant, so it retains moisture and ensures skin is kept hydrated, making it ideal for sensitive skin because it melts away upon contact with water.
Crystals and Gemstones: These unique ingredients have antimicrobial, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties. The precious minerals found in crystals and gemstones are believed to tone, firm, and promote regeneration in the skin. Some gems used in scrubs include ruby, diamonds, amethyst, citrine, quartz, sapphire, tourmaline, and rock crystal.
Guarana microbeads: The Amazonian guarana seed exfoliates and its natural caffeine content stimulates and brightens the complexion.

OTHER INGREDIENTS
It is also important to soothe, nourish, protect, and prevent transepidermal water loss when providing assisted desquamation (cell turnover in the epidermis) by means of skin scrubs or other exfoliants. Skin friendly ingredients with additional benefits include oils (coconut, olive, safflower, crispus), tea, botanicals, hyaluronic acid, minerals, vitamins, aloe vera, and chamomile.
Marine-based ingredients are valuable in skin care products, adding nutrients to facial scrubs. There are two types of marine-based ingredients to look for: macroalgae (kelp and seaweed) and microalgae (microscopic, single-cell organisms). Marine algae have emollient, antioxidant, and antibacterial properties.
These aquatic elements are rich in vitamins and minerals. They hydrate the skin while detoxifying and tightening. Red algae are acclaimed for their healing properties, while green algae promote collagen production and support elastin health.

BEST PRACTICES
Involving the client in the scrub selection and decision-making process is essential. Find out what medications the client is taking, including over-the-counter products, prescription retinoid creams, or products containing retinol or benzoyl peroxide. The final decision may be to eliminate the use of scrubs at the present time, as exfoliating while using these products may worsen dry skin or even cause more breakouts. Remind clients to refrain from using a scrub for seven days after a chemical peel, facial waxing, or other forms of exfoliation, to avoid irritation or pigmentary issues.
When recommending any product, education is key. It is a good idea to show clients how much product to use, how to apply and distribute, how much pressure to use, and the removal process.
Those with dry, sensitive, or acne-prone skin may find mechanical exfoliation too irritating, so it may be best for them to use a mild non-exfoliating cleanser.
Incorporating a facial scrub into a regimen can be a very rewarding step in a client’s quest for smooth, glowing skin.

Scrubs are a great addition to any regimen to encourage collagen production, while polishing and buffing the skin by removing the buildup of dead skin cells that impede the natural process of cell turnover revealing a healthy, radiant, smooth complexion.

MaryJo Reeves 2019

 MaryJo Reeves, L.E., national education manager at Obagi Medical Products, is a beauty industry leader, aesthetician, and education manager with over 14 years' experience in the medical aesthetic field. She graduated from Northern Arizona University with a bachelor's degree in advertising. Reeves shares her passion for clinical education and business development with fellow aestheticians, physicians, and skin health providers nationwide. She also acts as a facilitator and trainer at industry events across the country. As a published author, her works include "Primp Queen Fairy Tales - We're Just Like Everyone Else Only Prettier" and "Primp Queen Career Girls - We'll Have the Business Women's Special." This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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