[message_box title=”Article Objective” color=”red”]The purpose of this article is to make rosacea sufferers aware that one of the most popular facial skin treatments available over-the-counter (OTC), at day spas and in medical treatment centers — Facial Scrubs — are harmful to most forms of rosacea skin.  In fact, in most cases, rosacea sufferers should completely avoid any type of facial scrub with beads or abrasive material embedded into the cream or gel.  One of the main problems is that estheticians, physicians and spa personnel don’t realize the long-term damage that these scrubs can do to thin/fragile/hyper-reactive rosacea skin.  More importantly in  a survey of OTC facial treatment products, almost 50% of all products were “scrubs”.  These are extremely popular because they have many benefits to normal, non-rosacea skin; especially for acne treatment, pore reduction, treatment of white heads and blackheads, skin-smoothing qualities and they help topical treatments absorb deeper into the skin.  Facial scrubs are at the very top of the “Buyer Beware” list for rosacea sufferers.[/message_box]


Facial Scrubs

facial scrubThere are so many benefits and reasons as to why you should incorporate exfoliating to your beauty routine. When you exfoliate regularly you help remove ingrained dirt, old dead skin, and improve the over all look of your face.

When you scrub away the old flakey skin, you reveal a more soft and smooth looking skin. One that looks revived. Not only will the texture of your skin improve but you will also help slow down the rate at which your skin ages.


On non-rosacea skin, daily facial scrubs have many benefits and weekly deep scrubs at spas or medical centers can work miracles on facial skin:

  • facial scrubs 2Facial scrubs will help you get rid of toxins and dead skin cells, thus stimulating the growth of new skin cells which leads to fresh and younger skin tone.
  • Using a facial scrub stimulates the skin which results in improved blood circulation. This leads to firm and healthy looking skin.
  • If you constantly battle with facial blemishes and dark spots, it is ideal to use the scrub regularly. This will remove the dirt on the face which reduces the skin imperfections and contributes towards flawless skin.
  • For people with dry skin who have flakes around nose and chin area, a scrub will help remove the dead layer of skin and make it easy for you to moisturize.
  • If you are tired and exhausted after a long day’s work, even your face would look weary. Facial scrub helps remove dirt, dust and grime making your skin look fresh, relaxed and beaming
  • Over time, facial scrubs increase the number of superficial blood vessels in your facial skin.  This allows more oxygen and nutrients to be delivered to the skin… which is central to healthy skin and growth patterns.
  • Repeated trauma by the beads (usually micro-beads made up of polyethelene) thickens the epidermis


polyethelene beadsOther forms of exfoliants used in facial scrubs:

  • microcrystalline wax beads
  • jojoba esters
  • sugar cane particles
  • oxidized polyethylene
  • peppermint leaf particles
  • ceramide beads
  • papaya enzyme beads
  • volcanic mineral beads
  • blueberry extract beads
  • alguronic acid beads
  • rice beads

The Dangers of Facial Scrubs on Rosacea Skin

While there is no doubt that facial scrubs are excellent for non-rosacea skin, it must be emphasized that daily use — and even weekly use — can damage  rosacea skin and those with pre-rosacea tendencies such as familial rosacea, frequent flushing and blushing, and hyper-reactive skin.  The problem is that almost half the skin care products in pharmacies, grocery stores, department stores and other sales venues contain abrasive beads of some form.  Additionally, almost all spas and medical treatment centers employ facial scrubs to start their facial treatment regimen.  Even more disconcerting is the fact that many are now marketing them as “Safe for Sensitive Skin”.  Let us assure you, there is no such scrub for rosacea sufferers.  One single use can cause a flush that lasts for three to five days, cause a rosacea flare that is followed by clusters of inflammatory papules, or tear the epidermis in half and leave the entire facial area highly susceptible to all external insults.


Rosacea Sufferers Must Avoid these Facial Scrub Treatments for a Myriad of Reasons:

  • Permanent Skin Damage: Facial scrubs are known for their strong ability to exfoliate normal skin… to the deepest layers.  They also bore hundreds of tiny holes in the epidermis which allows moisturizers and night time treatment creams to absorb 20% more deeply.  These actions are great for non-rosacea skin, but they will cause permanent skin thinning and structural damage to rosacea skin.  Rosacea skin does not thicken or adapt to repeated trauma — it just deteriorates due to genetic insufficiencies yet to be identified.
  • Increased Blood Flow:  Treatment with facial scrubs can often increase blood flow for three to five days.  This can cause many rosacea sufferers to progress to more severe stages of the disorder and increase the number of triggers they experience on a daily basis.  Clear superficial skin is not worth triggering rosacea progression.  It must be stressed that there is no technique at this time to limit these side effects.
  • Stimulates Growth of Many New Blood Vessels:  Uncontrolled growth of new blood vessels lies at the heart of rosacea pathogenesis.  Thus, stimulation of even more blood vessels not only cause flares, but it can cause progression to more severe stages of rosacea.  Facial scrubs stimulate the growth of new blood vessels as detailed above.
  • Increases Flushing Intensity and Duration:  Following a facial scrub many rosacea sufferers report that they flush more often each day and the intensity of the flush is greatly increased.  This is because the beads in the facial scrubs damage rosacea blood vessels, increase the number of blood vessels and made these blood vessels more hyper-reactive.  Often times, this side effect is not reversible.
  • Actions on Sensory Nerves:  These facial scrubs also damage and irritate sensory “burning nerves” and “itching nerves” located in the surface of the epidermis.  These uncomfortable sensations can last from a few hours to all day long.  This can be quite painful — mimicking a bad sunburn for many.


[message_box title=”Summary” color=”red”]While facial scrubs are an important part of most facials and facial skin care routines at this time and does show dramatic results on non-rosacea skin, these scrubs should not be used on rosacea skin or pre-rosacea skin.  It’s not worth the risk.[/message_box]


Comment Section – Please Contribute

Comments, feedback and online discussions below in the Comment Box help other rosacea sufferers understand their rosacea better and an informed rosacea sufferer usually finds more effective treatments… and in doing so, they may add a comment that helps you just as much.  Please contribute.

  1. Do you get facials at a spa and if so, do they use harsh facial scrubs with beads or other exfoliating agents?  If not, what other options do specialists offer rosacea sufferers that may be of help to your fellow rosacea sufferer who wants better clarity and smaller pores?
  2. If you did have a facial scrub at a spa or used a facial scrub or facial cleansing scrub at home, did this cause an adverse reaction?  If so, what was the reaction and how long did it last?  Do you have any tips on reducing this reaction?
  3. Do you have any advice for rosacea sufferers suffering from post-facial scrub side effects?


Thank you,

Team Rosadyn