Some scrubs are best used on your feet
It’s been around for decades. Unilever’s St. Ive’s Apricot Scrub is cheap and very, very “scrubby.” This tends to be the reason why people use it, or at least that is the reason they give me.
Why am I quizzing people on their use of said scrub, you ask?
I’ll hearken back to 2016 when two women launched a lawsuit against Unilever stating the scrub had caused damage and inflammation on their skin because the sharp edges of the crushed walnut shells that are a main ingredient in the tube. This women said they were lead to believe the product was good for their skin, only to later realize it was too harsh.
Many users of the scrub don’t realize how harsh it is on delicate skin.
The lawsuit was no surprise to me or any professional skin therapist I’ve ever met. One of the first things esthetics instructors will tell their students is to stop using this scrub on their face — knees or feet maybe — but not your face.
The scrub is a favourite amongst teenagers. It’s inexpensive and feels like it is really scrubbing out all the dirt and makeup from your pores, hopefully preventing breakouts. Unfortunately the scrub can make breakouts worse. The sharp edges of the walnut shells cause micro-tears in the skin, including on top of pustules and whiteheads, they can break open from the rough texture, spreading bacteria, tearing open inflamed skin and causing further or new infection.
Since the scrub has been around for more than 30 years, there are people with mature skin who are still using the scrub years since they started as teens. It’s no better for mature skin. The same micro-tears cause inflammation in older skin as well, which can cause premature aging — the basis of the 2016 lawsuit (the lawsuit seems to be stalled, there are no further public updates on the case).
There are so many exfoliants on the market that improve your skin, ones that don’t cause damage to your face. One of my alltime favourite exfoliants and editor’s picks is Dermalogica’s Daily Microfoliant. It’s gentle, brightening and amazing for any type of skin including sensitive, mature and acne-prone (available at many salons and spas in HRM). Sephora carries Kate Som- merville’s Exfolikate, a stronger exfoliant with impressive results, but it’s best used on non-sensitive skin. La Roche-posay’s Ultra-fine Scrub is a beauty editor favourite for its gentle granules and effectiveness on dry skin without causing more flaking, and it’s found at your local Shopper Drug Mart.
If St. Ive’s Apricot Scrub is still sitting in your shower, use it up — but only on your feet where the skin is tough enough to handle the bits of shells — and find something safer for your face.
Abrasive face scrubs can cause micro-tears, which can also cause inflammation.