Regular exfoliation is essential for a bright, youthful complexion. It's best to look for a scrub with small beads rather than large abrasive particles, which can scratch the skin and do more damage than good. A well-formulated scrub removes dead skin cells that build up over time creating a dull complexion. Julyne Derrick, About.com's guide to beauty, says, "An important part of your weekly skin routine is exfoliation." David A. Colbert, M.D., a New York-based dermatologist recommends exfoliating two to three times a week depending on your skin type. He says, "You will be able to gauge how your skin reacts to scrubs and create your own exfoliating regimen."
Paula Begoun, however, says that "a scrub of any kind is not a skin-care essential -- not when there are well-formulated AHA or BHA exfoliants that do so much more for the skin." Furthermore, she says that a water-soluble cleanser, such as Purpose Gentle Cleansing Wash, with a soft washcloth is as effective as a gritty scrub and it costs less.
Pond's Luminous Clean Daily Exfoliating Cleanse (*Est. $6.50 for 5 oz.) is praised by reviewers for having a silky texture and being very gentle on the skin. Some users say they hardly noticed the microbeads in the formula, which made them wonder if it was really working. Others say they prefer Pond's over other scrubs because it isn't as harsh. Editors at Allure magazine agree, saying that Pond's Luminous Clean is delicate enough for daily use. Paula Begoun points out that the cleanser contains a small amount of fragrance -- not enough to be of much concern -- and says the formula doesn't contain any other "problematic" ingredients. She says it's best for those with combination or oily skin.
St. Ives Fresh Skin Invigorating Apricot Scrub (*Est. $3 for 6 oz.) is an old favorite among users at TotalBeauty.com and MakeupAlley.com. Many say they love the instant results it provides along with the fresh, natural scent. Paula Begoun, however, says the walnut shells and cornmeal it contains makes it much too abrasive. Users agree despite their high ratings. Many suggest using the scrub only once or twice a week and applying it gently.
Reviewers say that Philosophy The Microdelivery Exfoliating Wash (*Est. $26 for 8 oz.) does an excellent job of sloughing off dead, dry skin without stripping skin of natural moisture. Several users at MakeupAlley.com and TotalBeauty.com say that the formula is gentle enough to use on a daily basis. Users also like the convenience of cleansing and exfoliating in one step and say that Philosophy does a good job on both counts. Some users say that it isn't ideal for removing makeup, though, especially around the eyes due to the abrasive nature of the scrub. Paula Begoun warns that the cleanser contains clay, which can be "a bit drying" for all but oily skin. Still, many users say that they have been using the formula for years with nary an irritation.
We chose Pond's Luminous Clean Daily Exfoliating Cleanser as a Best Reviewed cleanser because it is reviewed more often by professional reviewers and receives high ratings in top-rated comparison reviews.