The Huge Mistake Women Are Making With Their Face Scrubs

Women's Health |

By Amy Synnott D’annibale, photography by freestockcenter /

“I’ve had patients exfoliate to the point where I can see their blood vessels.” 

In this, the age of “if you didn’t Insta-story a photo of yourself wearing a glycolic face mask, it didn’t happen,” more and more women are game to experiment with lots of products—to their detriment. “I’ve had patients exfoliate to the point where I can see their blood vessels,” says New York City dermatologist Dr Dendy Engelman. While products like granular scrubs and clay masks have always been known to aggravate sensitive skin, a new generation of more potent at-home treatments (cosmetic-grade chemical peels, personal lasers) is ratcheting up the assault.

READ MORE: 11 Beauty Buys That Will Save Your Skin While You Sleep

Think moderation

If you’re prone to sensitivity, New York City dermatologist Dr Neil Sadick, says to avoid physical scrubs (which can lead to tears in delicate skin) and instead use a chemical exfoliant (these rely on enzymes or acids)—and no more than once a week. Try Nuxe Gentle Exfoliating Gel (R275 for 75ml, Woolworths), which is formulated with rose petals and designed to gently eliminate dead skin.

Restore moisture to dry skin with this homemade avocado face mask:

Build Up The Barrier 

Your skin’s barrier is all-important: It’s the shield that prevents irritants like makeup and dirt from getting beneath the surface and causing major drama. Overusing exfoliants chips away at this structure—which already loses strength naturally as you get older. Once a day, put on a treatment “made with ingredients like ceramides, cholesterol, and fatty acids, which fortify the barrier and fill in cracks that could allow irritants to slip in and cause trouble,” says Engelman. Elizabeth Arden Advanced Ceramide Capsules (R825 for 60 doses, contains all three ingredients.

Need more help figuring out which product to buy? Here’s how to tell which is the right face oil for your skin type, plus this is what happens to your skin when you don’t moisturize

This article was originally featured on

READ MORE ON: Beauty Beauty Tips Skin