The INSIDER Summary:
• A TMZ report says two women are suing the maker of St. Ives Fresh Skin Apricot Scrub.
• They claim the product’s ingredients cause harmful skin irritation.
• Lots of dermatology experts agree harsh scrubbing products are no good.
• There are gentler ways to slough off dead skin.
St. Ives Fresh Skin Apricot Scrub is the best-selling scrub brand in America, according to its manufacturer.
But it also could be damaging and irritating your skin, according to two women who are reportedly suing Unilever, the company behind the popular product.
On Wednesday, TMZ reported that two consumers have filed a class action lawsuit against Unilever for more than $5 million dollars. In the suit, the women reportedly allege that the product is like sandpaper to the skin and cite “dermatology research” that one of the scrub’s main ingredients, walnut shell, can cause irritation.
A Unilever spokesperson responded to INSIDER’s request for comment on the suit, saying: “As a general practice we do not comment on pending litigation. We can say that for over 30 years, consumers have loved and trusted the St. Ives brand to refresh and revitalize their skin. We are proud to be America’s top facial scrub brand and stand by our dermatologist tested formula.”
A $5 million lawsuit might be a bit of a stretch (how does one incur $5 million worth of skin damage?) but the women do have a point: The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) warns against harsh scrubs because of their potential to irritate, and in an interview with The Cut, dermatologist Dr. Dennis Gross railed against the products.
“Scrubs are a primitive way to exfoliate,” Gross told The Cut. “It’s like using sandpaper on your face. If you look closely at the sandpaper surface, you’ll see lots of scratch marks, and that’s what happens on the skin.”
Luckily, harsh scrubs aren’t the only way to slough off dead skin cells. Dermatologists generally say that chemical exfoliation — applying gel-like products that dissolve dead skin cells without any kind of scrubbing or rubbing — is actually gentler and more effective than something like St. Ives.
The bottom line, according to the AAD, is that no one exfoliating product will work for everyone, given our wide range of skin types. Here’s their quick guide to choosing the type of exfoliation that’s best for you.
This article has been updated based on information provided after the original publication.
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