- The main role of cleansers is to clear away excess oil and impurities from your skin.
- Face scrubs physically exfoliate your skin and buff away dead cells, using coarse granules.
- Use cleansers as part of your daily skin care routine, while limiting face scrubs to weekly use.
Face scrubs and cleansers are both popular products that leave your skin feeling clean and refreshed. Cleansers gently clean away oils and impurities, while face scrubs exfoliate and buff away dead skin cells to reveal a brighter complexion.
What Is a Face Scrub?
Face scrubs have a gel or cream-like consistency and are packed with small exfoliating granules. These granules are typically derived from fruit, seed and nut extracts, such as kiwi seeds and coconut shells.
Your skin regularly sheds dead cells, but sometimes they can accumulate on the surface. When this occurs, it can often leave you with a dull-looking complexion. Face scrubs work by physically exfoliating the upper layers of your skin. By buffing away dead skin cells, face scrubs leave your skin feeling softer, and looking brighter.
Many face scrubs contain added ingredients to hydrate and soothe your skin after exfoliation, such as aloe vera, coconut milk, and cucumber.
How to use a face scrub
Face scrubs are designed to be gently massaged into damp skin, allowing the exfoliating granules to buff away dead skin. To avoid damaging your skin, lightly massage the product into your skin for no longer than one minute. Over-scrubbing may damage your skin’s protective barrier, leaving it dry and irritated.
Rinse away the scrub with warm water and pat your sky dry. Follow up with a serum or moisturizer to keep your skin soft and hydrated.
Face scrub vs body scrub
As their name suggests, body scrubs are designed to be used on the rest of your body instead of your face. Body scrubs tend to have a thicker consistency and contain larger exfoliating granules. As a result, they can be too harsh for the more delicate skin on your face.
What Is a Cleanser?
Cleansers are products used to lift away dirt, oil and other impurities that have built up on your skin during the day and night. Most cleansers have a gel or cream consistency and are gentle enough to be used twice a day as part of your daily routine.
Cleansers contain a variety of active ingredients that differ greatly between products, depending on the type of skin type or condition they are formulated to treat. Some contain hydrating ingredients to treat dry skin, such as hyaluronic acid and glycerin. Others help to control acne by containing chemically exfoliating ingredients such as azelaic and salicylic acid.
How to use a face cleanser
Face cleansers should be used as the first step of your routine. Apply onto damp skin and gently massage into your face to lift away oil, impurities and makeup. After rinsing the cleanser off with warm water, follow up with a moisturizer or serum to lock-in the nourishing benefits.
Main Differences Between Scrubs and Cleansers
Cleansers are designed for daily use, to clear away dirt and oil from the skin. While exfoliants also help to clear away dirt, their main function is to buff away dead cells from the surface of your skin. The main differences between these two products are:
- Cleansers can be used as part of your daily routine, even on sensitive skin.
- Scrubs contain coarse granules to physically exfoliate your skin.
- Scrubs can be harsh on your skin and should only be used once or twice per week.
Should You Use a Scrub, a Cleanser, or Both?
Scrubs and cleansers provide benefits for almost all skin types. You can safely combine scrubs and cleansers, although scrubs should not be used daily.
Soap-free cleansers are gentle enough for dry and sensitive skin, and with the right ingredients, provide added moisturization and protection. For those with eczema or dry skin, face scrubs can help to clear away patches of rough, flaking skin – although it’s important to avoid over-scrubbing your skin. Limit their use to one per week or even fortnightly to prevent damage or irritation.
Oily and acne-prone skin types will benefit from the use of scrubs and cleansers. Both products help to control oiliness and prevent blackheads and breakouts by clearing away skin debris and excess oils that would otherwise clog your pores.
Scrubs may be too abrasive for those with sensitive skin, and therefore should be used with caution.
Which should you use first?
When using cleansers and scrubs in the same routine, begin with your cleanser. By clearing away any makeup, oil or dirt from the surface of your skin, you’ll have a clean base to apply a scrub. Using a cleanser first will enable your scrub to effectively reach into your pores.
How often should you use them?
Leaving dirt and oil to accumulate on your skin will lead to clogged pores and breakouts. To maintain clean and healthy skin, cleansers should ideally be used twice a day, as part of your daily routine.
Due to exfoliating properties of face scrubs, they should only be used twice per week to avoid damaging your skin.
While face scrubs and cleansers both leave your skin feeling clean and refreshed, they provide different benefits for your skin. Facial cleansers can be used by all skin types and should be applied twice daily to clear away dirt, oil and debris from your skin. Use face scrubs as a weekly treatment to exfoliate away dead skin cells and reveal a brighter complexion.
Those with sensitive skin should avoid using abrasive scrubs. Similarly, dry skin types should limit their use of scrubs to once per week, or fortnightly.
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