How Do I Choose the Best Exfoliating Scrub?

Sherry Holetzky

We all want clean, fresh, soft, supple skin. Finding the best way to get it is the trick. By using an exfoliating scrub on a regular basis, you can remove dry, dead skin and reawaken fresh skin beneath it. There are a number of different scrubs and facial products available including some specialty formulas. There are also natural or organic exfoliating scrubs that may contain ground up seeds, sea salt, or other natural items that act as a mild abrasive.

An inexpensive and homemade scrub made with sugar is just as effective as some commercially available offerings.
An inexpensive and homemade scrub made with sugar is just as effective as some commercially available offerings.

Mild is the key word when exfoliating. It is important to make sure you do not damage your skin by using a product that is too harsh. It is also a good idea to avoid using scrubs too frequently or otherwise inappropriately. Exfoliating scrub can give you younger-looking skin but it won’t happen overnight. Using a scrub six times per day instead of for six consecutive days will not accelerate the process, but may actually cause harm.

Look for exfoliating scrub products that offer mild abrasives and perhaps those that come with other solutions such as a toner or skin cream to go with them. Using skin products that contain similar formulas and fragrances is a good idea to potentially avoid skin reactions. Doing so can help to avoid creating a mix of clashing scents as well.

Specialty products are also available. Some types of exfoliating scrub are designed especially for certain skin types. Others may provide extra moisturizing ingredients or treat specific conditions such as the appearance of stretch marks. It makes sense to select a specialized product that is designed for your skin type or one that treats a specific concern.

There are also different formulas available for different areas of the body. You may wish to choose a very mild exfoliating scrub for your face, yet a stronger one may be more appropriate for areas such as knees, elbows, or feet. As always, it is important to check the labels. Avoid ingredients that cause you concern in regard to allergic reactions or that may cause other irritations.

Ask your pharmacist, healthcare provider, or dermatologist for recommendations. Your stylist, cosmetologist, and your friends can be good sources of information too. A number of product lines offer coupons, free samples, or trial sizes, so you can obtain small amounts of exfoliating scrub to compare to others in order to find one perfectly suited to your needs. It’s a good idea to test each product on one small section of skin before treating the entire area.

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Discussion Comments


There is a type of exfoliating scrub called a peeling scrub. It's used like any other scrub but the difference is that there isn't a physical exfoliant in it.

It's used by applying the product on the skin and then scrubbing the skin with it in circular movements. The product basically turns into a peel at this time and picks up dirt and dead skin in the process. It's the mildest exfoliant I've ever used but surprisingly, it works very well.


@donasmrs-- Sea salt is best for troubled skin that is oily and acne-prone. People with normal to dry skin need something milder.

Try a sugar scrub or a scrub with cornmeal. From my experience, these are milder than salt and shouldn't irritate your skin. Make sure that the scrub has a moisturizing ingredient in it.

Also, remember that an exfoliating scrub can only be used once or twice a week at most depending on your skin's needs. Using it too frequently will cause irritation, even if you're using a milder product.


I just started using an exfoliating scrub with sea salt in it. I heard great things about it but I'm disappointed. The scrub is very harsh and irritated my skin. I used it only twice and my skin became red and dry afterward.

I have normal skin, what type of exfoliating scrub is best for me?

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