By Dr. Rohan Anand, Dermatology
Everybody is particular about how they look. Skin care has assumed great importance compared to a couple of decades ago. With skin care assuming so much, everybody talks of cleansing, scrubbing, toning, moisturising, what not! What we need to realise is that anything in excess is bad. Talking of scrubbing, it has been promoted as the perfect way to remove dead cells from the skin and keep the skin looking young and radiant. After scrubbing, the skin that is left behind is brand-new with fresh cells from the underlying layers, which glows out. While this is the intention, there are questions to ask in terms of – what to use for scrubbing, how often, ideal products, etc.
Scrubbing can be done chemically or physically. Chemical scrubs include products like salicylic acid, glycolic acid, lactic acid, or citric acid. These remove the dried, dead cells from the top and leave a radiant, fresh skin behind.
Physical scrubs use salts, almond, apricot peel, and tiny beads of microplastics. These microbeads are not just harmful to the skin, they are also not eco-friendly. Though not visible to the naked eye, these microbeads, as the name suggests, are small, tiny plastic beads which act as a physical scrub and help in removing the top layers of the skin. They get into the water as sediments and cannot be removed. When accumulated over a period of time, there is no way to get rid of them. Many products have been banned in Australia and the USA for containing these microbeads.
Another thing to consider when scrubbing is the type of skin. While oily skin can take a little more of the scrubbing load, dry, flaky skin should not be over-scrubbed. Exfoliating agents can be used once in a while, but if you ask a dermatologist if your skin needs daily exfoliation, the answer would be a big NO. Oily skin can benefit from gel-based scrubs, while dry skin can benefit from cream-based ones. If you have sensitive skin, use a mild exfoliating agent. There are multiple products being promoted as daily scrubs which are easy on the skin, but it is best to stay away from these for regular use.
Alternatively, there are multiple regular home/kitchen products which can be used as scrubs. Gram flour, milk cream, lime juice, sugar, oatmeal, ground coffee can be used periodically to get the same scrubbing effects. What is also important to note is it is not just the face that needs the scrubbing. Surfaces with thicker skin like the knees and elbows also benefit from occasional scrubbing.
The mantra is to not overdo it, but go with moderation and get the benefits of scrubbing with a glowing, radiant skin.