Is Physical Exfoliation Bad for Your Skin?

There’s a lot of buzz around physical exfoliation, but rest-assured, it is an effective way to safely exfoliate your skin when done correctly!

Physical vs. Chemical Exfoliation – What’s the Difference?

Physical exfoliation involves using physical particles to help speed up your skin’s natural skin renewal process by removing dead skin cells. Chemical exfoliation has the same effect on skin by removing the “glue” that holds dead skin cells together by using chemicals like AHAs. Both are a safe and effective way to remove old, dull cells and reveal glowing skin.

Types of Exfoliators – Gentle, Moderate, and Deep

St. Ives offers three levels of physical exfoliation (gentle, moderate, and deep), which is based on (1) the level of exfoliators in the formula and (2) the size of the exfoliators. Different options means there is a scrub for everyone to use in their skin care routine!

Are the physical exfoliators in St. Ives scrubs bad for skin?

St. Ives scrubs contain 100% natural walnut shell powder, which safely and effectively polishes away dead skin cells and reveals glowing skin. There is no evidence that St. Ives scrubs or walnut shell powder can be linked to ‘micro-tears’ or any other injuries to the skin. We take pride in ensuring the walnut shell powder in our scrubs is finely milled and polished.

Once removed from trees, our walnuts are transported from the orchard to our processing facility to undergo an intensive process where they are washed, inspected, and dried to ready them for use in our scrubs. After storage, the walnut shells are passed through “the cracker,” which removes the meat from the shells. The shells are once again cleaned, then milled and carefully polished to ensure a smooth surface. This ensures our scrubs only provide exfoliation to the outer layers of dead skin cells and do not damage your skin.

How to safely exfoliate your face effectively

Squeeze a dime-sized amount of scrub on to your fingertips and massage into damp skin. Spread in small circular motions to wake your skin’s natural circulation. Be gentle with your fingers and let the scrub do the work! When you’re done, rinse and glow!

How often should I exfoliate my face?

We recommend using our scrubs up to 3-4 times per week. If you are using a scrub for the first time, use less frequently at first. Increase usage over time as your skin becomes more accustomed to the product. We recommend cleansing your face prior to exfoliating with one of St. Ives daily face cleansers, and follow up with one of our daily moisturizers.

Check out more details on the importance of exfoliation and which St. Ives Scrub is best for you.

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    The Benefits of Physical Exfoliation

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Face CareFace Care

Let your face have a little good, clean fun. Our scrubs are made with 100% natural exfoliants and our cleansing sticks are made with 100% natural coconut oil. Leave your skin feeling alive, fresh, and glowing! CHECK IT OUT 


Body WashBody Wash

Suds up, recharge, and glow out! Made with 100% natural extracts & exfoliant, St. Ives body washes cleanse skin with a sudsy sumptuous lather.CHECK IT OUT 

Hey! You made it! Welcome to the bottom of the page. Not everyone makes it down here, so we’re guessing you like us. Hooray!

We spend most of our time down here talking about what inspires our skincare. Oh, and how to get glowing skin—specifically, how to make your skin glow. So let’s get started, shall we?

Our products were all made to bring the joy of nature to your skin while making it glow—all without crossing into shiny skin territory (not cute). That’s why our entire lineup features 100% natural moisturizers, exfoliants, and extracts! We also just really, really love apricots.

Think of St. Ives as your go-to for great-smelling cleansers, lotions, masks, and body washes you can use on the daily to get glowing skin that feels super-hydrated and oh-so-silky smooth. Did we mention we’re America’s #1 Scrub brand*?

Thanks for stopping by. Keep on looking around!

St. Ives