The Best Face Scrubs, According to Dermatologists and Facialists

The Best Face Scrubs, According to Dermatologists and Facialists

The Best Face Scrubs, According to Dermatologists and Facialists

Face scrubs are easily one of the most satisfying products in your medicine cabinet. They offer instant results — increased luminosity, brightness, and smoothness, for instance — and an unmatched clean, silky-soft feeling that’s slightly addicting. If you’re unfamiliar, the way they work is by physically exfoliatingdead skin with tiny granules (much like sandpaper would polish a piece of wood), or, in more scientific terms, “through physical debridement,” explains San Diego–based dermatologist, cosmetic surgeon, and assistant clinical professor at UCSD Dr. Melanie Palm. “They mechanically remove dead cells by rolling particles to lift them off.”

Exfoliation is important if you want your skin to look great, as dead skin cells tend to gather on the surface as we get older, leading to dullness, flakes, breakouts, and uneven texture. “Exfoliating speeds up the process of shedding dead cells and loosens keratin plugs so that new, healthy skin cells can replace them,” explains Dr. Deanne Mraz Robinson, a dermatologist in Westport, Connecticut, and co-founder of Modern Dermatology. “It also helps prevent clogged pores, milia, blackheads, and whiteheads.” More good things: The act of scrubbing boosts circulation for a post-run-esque glow, makes your makeup go on better (since your skin is more even after), and — in addition to getting rid of dead skin cells — buffs away any remaining gunk or sunscreen that your cleanser leaves behind.

What to look for in a quality scrub? Perfectly spherical beads (ideal because they’re less likely to micro-tear and scratch skin) as well as soothing ingredients like oatmeal and jojoba, says Joanna Czech, a celebrity facialist in New York and Dallas. Robinson and Palm also like the addition of chemical exfoliants like lactic acid and fruit enzymes for a two-pronged approach. A good place to start: our expert-approved picks, below.

Dr. Barbara Sturm Facial Scrub

According to Czech, “the best scrubs are ones that aren’t too harsh and leave skin soft and clean without causing any micro-tears.” That means choosing options with round granules and avoiding unevenly-shaped particles like “ground-up shells, fruit pits, and volcanic rocks.” One of her go-to’s is the refreshingly unscented Dr. Barbara Sturm Facial Scrub. Its impressive ingredient list includes purslane, an ingredient that she says “stimulates the production of collagen and helps to calm inflammation,” along with vitamin A, “which promotes cell regrowth and keeps skin firm and healthy.” Got sensitive skin? Spot-treat with your scrub, she advises, focusing on dry, dehydrated patches instead of using it all over your face.