Cosmetic Scrubs: Advantages and Disadvantages, Types and Rules of Choosing and Using Them

Cosmetic scrubs are popular products for body and face care. Their benefits directly depend on how well you select and use them.

Key features

Cosmetic scrubs are a product with the following features:

  1. Has a soft base and abrasive components in its composition
  2. Enables you to take care of your skin on your face or body

The main function of a scrub is to remove dust, dirt and dead cells from the skin. The advantages of using this product are as follows:

  1. The skin becomes smooth and its color improves
  2. Cosmetic and personal care products used after scrubbing (creams, serums and emulsions) are better absorbed and show higher efficiency
  3. Collagen fibers are synthesized more actively and the elasticity of the skin increases
  4. Metabolism in tissues becomes faster and excess fluid is better removed
  5. The risk of cellulite and its external severity (if it’s present) are reduced

Along with the positive properties, cosmetic scrubs also have some disadvantages as well.

Firstly, they might injure the skin and provoke inflammation. This disadvantage is typical of products that contain very hard abrasive components. It’s especially dangerous to apply such scrubs on your skin that already has either wounds, pimples, acne or scratches.

Secondly, skin scrubbing can cause sunburn if you perform it before going outside in sunny weather. Scrubs reduce the protective barrier of the skin and it becomes more vulnerable to ultraviolet rays.

The third disadvantage is that the skin can become rougher than its usual state. This will happen if you rub the scrubbing agent too hard or too often- by literally removing the entire upper layer of the epidermis. In response to such actions, skin cells will begin to multiply intensively and a rough stratum corneum will be formed.

You can easily avoid these disadvantages if you choose the right scrub and use it correctly.

Types of scrubs

The main criterion by which scrubs are divided into different types is dependent on the scope of their application. Based on this, there are scrubs for the body and face. The essential difference between them is as follows:

  1. Size of the abrasive components
  2. Composition of the base emulsion

Due to their different compositions, typically face and body products are not interchangeable.

For the body

Taking into account the structure of scrubs for your body, they can be divided into several types:

  1. Classic. Its structure resembles a paste with solid inclusions. It’s recommended to be used no more than 2 times per week. It enables you to achieve deep cleansing of your skin and provides a toning effect.
  2. Soap. It looks like an ordinary piece of soap. Apart from abrasive particles, it contains additives with softening and moisturizing properties. It can be used for daily body care, too.
  3. Cream. It’s the softest type of scrub for the body, which is an analogy for shower gel. It guarantees a delicate cleansing of the body and implies daily use. Cream scrubs often contain oils that ensure extra softness and nutrition of the skin.

Another category of body scrubs includes products with anti-cellulite properties. Like the classic scrubs, they have a pasty structure. But the latter also contain fat-burning substances in their composition:

  1. Acids
  2. Essential oils

Scrubbing with an anti-cellulite agent is allowed to be carried out no more than 2 times per week. The specific frequency of use directly depends on the type of skin and its condition. Unlike a conventional scrub, such a product delivers its effect not immediately but within 2-3 months. It should be used as part of a complex anti-cellulite therapy treatment.

For the face

The varieties of facial scrubs include the following options:

  1. Classic. Just as is seen in the classic body scrub, it has a pasty structure. It should be used no more than 3 times per week.
  2. Cream. It differs from the classic one due to its softer creamy structure. It guarantees delicate cleansing, moisturizing and nourishing of the skin on your face. It’s recommended as a daily care product that replaces washing foam or gel.
  3. Mask. It resembles a cream scrub — but it is used as a mask that can absorb toxins, clean pores and nourish the skin with beneficial substances. When washing off the scrub mask, there is a light massage effect which improves lymphatic drainage and blood circulation. The frequency of using such a scrub is 1-2 times per week.
  4. Peeling. Scrub-peelings combine the effect of deep mechanical exfoliation and light chemical peeling. They aren’t recommended for frequent use because they contain glycolic or other acids in their composition.

A separate type of facial scrubs includes universal scrubs. There are products on sale labeled from 3 in 1 to 7 in 1. They can be used simultaneously as several different personal care products:

  1. Washing gel
  2. Scrub
  3. Face masks

Universal scrubs are good only for selected skin types. They are recommended to the owners of problematic or oily skin.

Recommendations for choosing a scrub

Depending on how well you select the scrub, it can be either beneficial or harmful to your skin. In the process of choosing this product, it makes sense to start with several important points.

The key point is the composition of the scrub. It’s directly related to the type of skin that you’re planning to cleanse with the scrub:

  1. Dry. A product containing salt should be suitable, which guarantees the restoration and disinfection of the skin. At the same time, it softens dry skin, by allowing creams and serums to be better absorbed. A useful property of salt scrubs is maintaining moisture balance.
  2. Sensitive. For this type of skin, sugar is considered a useful component. It’s less coarse, compared to salt, and doesn’t injure the skin. Sugar scrubs often have fruit particles and oils in their composition. Thanks to them, it becomes possible to solve such common problems of sensitive skin as itching, flaking and irritation.
  3. Oily. A scrub with coalin clay, which provides a good antibacterial effect, should be appropriate in this case. Thanks to this, the number of inflammations and pimples will decrease and the skin relief will be leveled.

For most normal skin types, scrubs with any composition are allowed. The main thing is that the natural components in them should prevail over the artificial ones.

The second point is the structure of the scrub. You should also select it according to your skin type:

  1. Scrubs in the form of soft creams and emulsions are recommended for sensitive and dry skin
  2. Classic pasty products suit normal and oily skin

It’s necessary to select the scrub not only for the face but also for the body according to your skin type.

Proper usage

As any other care product, a cosmetic scrub should be used correctly:

  1. Remove makeup from your skin
  2. Wash it with warm water (cold water won’t allow the pores to open sufficiently)
  3. Apply the scrub to your face or body, making gentle rubbing movements
  4. Leave it for a few minutes (the exact time depends on the type of scrub, indicated on the package)
  5. Wash off the product with warm water (at the same time, you shouldn’t rub the skin so hard as to prevent injury)

When properly cleansed with a scrub, the skin becomes able to absorb the maximum amount of useful substances. Therefore, after scrubbing, it’s recommended to apply a cream, lotion or another personal care product which is appropriate to your skin type.

If you plan to go outside after scrubbing, it’s better to additionally protect your face and exposed areas of your body with an SPF cream.


Even a well-chosen cosmetic scrub may have contraindications. People with the following skin conditions will have to abandon this product:

  1. Irritations
  2. Rosacea and brittle vessels
  3. Skin infections
  4. Hematomas
  5. Large scratches and wounds

In these situations, applying a product with abrasive components to the skin on your face or body will further aggravate the situation.

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