This Is What Walnut Face Scrubs Are Really Doing To Your Skin

PHotographed by Erin Yamagata.
No matter how diligent your twice-daily face-washing routine, sometimes you just want a deep cleanse that will slough away dead skin cells and debris, and effectively erase that congested feeling at the end of a long day. That's when you turn to a physical exfoliant, otherwise known as a scrub, to clear up all the buildup while sorting out dullness and uneven texture.
A good scrub used once or twice a week is a staple in any rigorous skincare routine, so it's no surprise that Kylie Jenner decided to include one in her new skincare brand, Kylie Skin. Now that the news is out, however, she might wish she hadn't: Jenner's claim that her Walnut Face Scrub is "gentle enough to use every day" has been met with major backlash on social media from fans who know better. "Why buy the walnut scrub when you could go scrape your face against tree bark for the same effect," one person tweeted in response. Even YouTuber Kathleen Lights wrote, "Aren’t those types of scrubs too abrasive for the skin? Don’t they cause like tiny scratches?"
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It's an excellent question, so we took it straight to the pros to get their input on whether walnut scrubs are safe. The verdict? In a word, no. "Walnut scrubs have traditionally been considered to be harsh for the skin because of sharp edges of the walnut powder," says dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, MD, director of cosmetic and clinical research at Mount Sinai Hospital. New York-based dermatologist Hadley King, MD, adds, "The problem with physical exfoliants is that if you use a product that has particles that are large and rough with sharp edges like walnuts, you can create micro-tears in the skin that can lead to irritation, inflammation, and possibly even infection."
Both dermatologists recommend looking into gentle exfoliants with finer particles, but if you have sensitive skin, steer clear of physical options altogether and opt for chemical, liquid alternatives to get the same job done without the abrasiveness. As Dr. King reminds us, there's still room for human error even if you do choose a gentler scrub. "It’s important to use only very light pressure to avoid damage to the skin," she says. Either way, it's best to keep walnuts in your snack drawer and out of your skin care. Your face will thank you.
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