Scrubs vs. Exfoliating Serums - Beach Beauty Bar and Acne Clinic

Scrubs vs. Exfoliating Serums

Using scrubs and exfoliating serums are a crucial step in the skin care routine.

Do you want clear skin?

Dead skin piles on the skin. This causes your face to lose moisture and appear dull. Failing to exfoliate will make your skincare less effective. This is because your skin care products will simply lay on top of the dead skin cells. That is why exfoliation is key! Buffing away dead skin allows skincare products to properly seep in.

Physical and chemical exfoliators serve the same purpose, but which method is best?

Non-Inflamed Acne & Scrubs

Before we get into how you should exfoliate your skin, it’s important to know if you have inflamed acne or not. We use scrubs only for non-inflamed acne or if you are clear. Facial scrubs are often too aggressive for blemished skin. Scrubs are very harsh on skin that is already inflamed due to acne breakouts.

Non-inflamed acne consists of blackheads and whiteheads (open and closed comedones) and occurs when the pores become clogged with sebum and dead skin cells. It can also appear as little pebbles under the skin that are hard to see and don’t extract (see our blog post about what Maturation Arrest is here).

When you’re breaking out, you may feel like you should scrub your face often, thinking it’s helping to get your skin really clean. But in actuality, vigorous scrubbing only increases irritation and redness, aggravating already inflamed skin, and exacerbating breakout activity.

Never use a scrub on inflamed/cystic acne. 

Exfoliating with a Scrub

The most common way to remove dead skin cells from your face is with a scrub.

You probably know the classic scrub as a gel or cream with abrasive particles, often based on ground rice, oats, sugar or salt. The polishing effect of these abrasive grains removes dead skin cells quickly and effectively. Exfoliating creams make your skin softer. But not every skin is happy to use them. Too coarse a grain can damage your face, especially if you have thin or sensitive skin. The finer the grain, the better. And always massage a scrub in gentle, circular motions over your damp skin. This is the least likely way to cause damage.

A gentle facial scrub is good for all skin types.  We just filled a small batch of our beloved Buffing Beads. We have 20 bottles currently in-stock. Get it before it’s gone!

It is made with fine hydrated silica beads to help exfoliate dead skin cells, improve skin texture, and hydrate the skin. Use of this scrub also allows active treatment products to penetrate better. Our Buffing Beads transform your skin from looking dry and dull to smooth and healthy.

Exfoliating with Serums

We love the gentle exfoliation of chemical serums, derived from lots of different acids like, glycolic, lactic, salicylic, mandelic, etc. An exfoliant is something completely different. This skin-polishing product in the form of a lotion or serum contains (fruit) acids and/or enzymes that loosen dead skin cells from your skin. Serums can give the skin a smoother, more even surface and in the long run can make wrinkles less noticeable.

This is because an exfoliating serum works deeper into the skin than a scrub, which works more superficially. Unlike a scrub or peeling, an exfoliant does not need to be rinsed off.

Physical vs Chemical Exfoliation

Physical exfoliants like scrubs, brushes, or procedures such as dermabrasion, exfoliate the skin differently that a serum can. This type of exfoliating is riskier for those with sensitive acne prone skin due to the adverse reactions because of the friction caused on the skin. This contributes to broken capillaries and redness.

Chemical exfoliants are considered safer and more effective than the physical type when used regularly. For example, an exfoliating serum like our A Plus Refining Serum — the star of our exfoliating serums (retinol plus mandelic 10%) brightens the complexion while calming acne using the active ingredient mandelic acid. This results in shedding of the dead skin cells in different cycles to reveal glowing and rejuvenated skin. Chemical exfoliants are often used in the form of cleansers and serums.

The Takeaway

Regular exfoliation is a component of good skincare and by default, good acne care as well. The ultimate reward for exfoliating is achieving your brightest inner glow! The natural glow you get from having a freshly exfoliated face adds life and youth to your skin effortlessly.

If over-the-counter treatments aren’t cutting it for your acne – give us a call and schedule your consultation today. Let us get you started on your clear skin journey!

Cheers to clear!


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