Natural Alternatives: How to Exfoliate With Natural Facial Scrubs

Reader Contribution by Ariel Tilson
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If you’ve been exfoliating daily or using certain natural facial scrubs, you may have been doing your face more harm than good. Although skin exfoliating products can unclog pores, stimulate circulation and smooth your skin, the scrubbing granules found in some, such as the apricot pits in St. Ives Apricot Scrub, can also damage capillaries and cause breakouts to spread. 

The Problem with Conventional Exfoliants

It’s important to examine your natural facial scrub to see what exactly does the scrubbing. For instance, even natural exfoliants, such as nuts and seeds, need to be finely ground. Otherwise their sharp pieces can cut and damage your skin.

Photo by Rishi B/Courtesy Flickr 

Microbeads, such as those found in Dove’s Gentle Exfoliating Foaming Facial Cleanser, have become a common alternative to harsh scrubbers. However, even though they’re gentle on your skin, they’re often detrimental to the environment. In the Orion Magazine article “Polymers Are Forever” Alan Weisman discusses how polymers, often listed as “polyethylenes”, are regular ingredients in exfoliating microbeads. Long after you scrub and rinse your face clean, these polymer fragments are washing up along shores and harbors around the world, including Plymouth Harbor in England. 

Natural Exfoliation Solutions

Don’t give up on exfoliating just yet. There are plenty of ways to exfoliate without harming the environment or your skin. Simply adding a little sugar to your face wash and then GENTLY scrubbing your face no more than a couple of times a week is one way to go. 

Also, natural exfoliant enzymes found in papayas and pineapples, as well as alpha-hyrdoxy acids from citrus fruits and sour milk, can help with your natural exfoliation routine.

Photo by Leeno/Courtesy Flickr

5 Natural Exfoliation Recipes

Try out some of our natural exfoliation recipes and get started on a path toward glowing, healthy skin. 

Oatmeal Facial Cleanser
Rose Petal Yogurt Scrub
Comfrey and Oatmeal Facial Scrub
Pineapple Sage Face Mask
Oats and Eucalyptus Scrub 

For more information on how to exfoliate naturally, check out Laurel Vukovic’s article, “Skin Deep: Natural Exfoliation.” 

Have you had problems with facial scrubs in the past? What do you use to exfoliate? Leave me a comment and let me know.

Ariel Tilson was an editorial intern for The Herb Companion magazine. 

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