What is walnut face scrub, exactly?
In Kyle Jenner’s defense and in defense of all walnut scrubs. Let’s see some science on the subject!!!!
The name speaks for itself: Walnut face scrubs are formulated with crushed up walnuts (either the meat or shell). Their job is to physically exfoliate the skin by removing dead skin cells.
First, some skincare facts:There are two types of exfoliation: physical and chemical. Physical exfoliants—like walnut shells, sugar, coffee, bamboo and other granules—tend to be more abrasive (especially if you vigorously scrub at your skin). If you overdo it, this can cause inflammation and irritation. Chemical exfoliants—like salicylic, glycolic, and lactic acids—are typically found in toners, peels, and pads and work by gently sloughing away skin cells. As with physical exfoliants, using these products too often, and too vigorously, can cause redness, peeling, and dryness. A bit of judgement is required, as well as some discipline.
A little background on why people are so cautious of walnut shell scrubs in particular:
In 2016, two women filed a $5 million class-action lawsuit against St. Ives’s parent company, Unilever. The women claimed that the St. Ives Apricot Face Scrub (which is formulated with walnut shells) could cause micro-tears in the skin, spurring inflammation. The allegations were dismissed, as a judge ruled that neither of the women could provide evidence that that the product was a safety hazard or did said damage.
Is walnut face scrub bad for your skin?
“Walnut shell scrubs have traditionally been considered to be harsh on the skin,” says Joshua Zeichner, MD, director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. “The issue was that if the powder wasn’t finally ground up enough, sharp edges may disrupt the skin barrier.” It’s worth noting, however, that any physical exfoliant can cause this effect if you’re not careful. “To my knowledge, there is no real data showing that walnut shell powder is any more harmful to the skin than other forms of manual exfoliation,” he adds. In addition, the “created” microbeads have proven to be worse than the natural nut shells.
“The reason people are wary walnut shell scrubs - and there may be some controversy with Kyle’s product is that people may find that it’s too irritating,” adds Debra Jaliman, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City and the author of “Skin Rules.” “It depends on the size of the walnuts and how uniform the particle size is on the walnut scrub she’s using—and the other ingredients.”
The idea that all shells are bad because someone used an inferior ingredient give all the benefits a bad name, is not only unfair, but plain and simple bullying and bashing. It comes down to being “just too general instead of specific” based on opinion about some inferior product.
Jenner has released her product, but does anyone know that her walnut shell is harmful or inferior? Since we can’t really speak on what kind of walnut powder is in her face scrub and whether it can truly damage the skin, then why all the fuss, and bashing of her product without proof? Dr. Jaliman does note that other ingredients confirmed to be in the scrub are beneficial, like hyaluronic acid and squalene (both of which are moisturizing).
“It is unclear whether this new product contains walnut shell or the walnut itself,” explains Dr. Zeichner. “Moreover, it is unclear whether the process by which the powder was made is different than previous generations. Time and time again we have seen improvements in formulation of the same ingredients leading to better clinical outcomes and less irritation.”
So, what’s the best way to exfoliate your skin?
If you’re nervous about scrubbing your face with walnut powder because you have a sensitive complexion, the solution is simple: Don’t use one. But exfoliation is different for everyone—and some people may benefit from starting with a milder physical scrub. One example is a fine bamboo.
“I generally tell my sensitive skin patients to start with physical exfoliation, because you can control how much pressure is applied,” says Dr. Zeichner, adding that it’s a good start if you don’t have much exfoliation experience. “Chemical exfoliation uses hydroxy acids, like glycolic and salicylic acids, to dissolve connections between skin cells, so the dead cells can be shed. Once the hydroxy acid touches the skin it causes a reaction that is less easily controlled.”
The hard nut that creates naturally soft skin
There is nothing unfamiliar or startling about the walnut. But – despite their familiarity – walnuts can be used as an attractive exfoliating ingredient in any natural skin care range.
Walnuts are well known and loved as a food. They have associations for the western consumer of treats – cakes, Christmas holidays, luscious puddings, chocolate fillings, rich toffee sauces, and salad oils.
Walnut wood has associations of luxury and style with its deep richly colored patina and quality finish. The nut itself is visually intricate and appealing.
By taking these existing associations and using the shell of the walnut in a skin care product cosmetic scientists can create a different and more unusual marketing story.
Exfoliating has become an accepted fourth step in the cleanse, tone, moisturize mantra of modern skin care. Whether for the face or body women who are interested in the state of their skin now recognize that exfoliation should be an essential part of their skin care routine.
Exfoliating creams and scrubs help remove dead cells from the surface layers of the skin and prepare the skin to accept moisturization and anti-ageing treatments. Exfoliating is also an instantly rewarding activity – unlike much skin care the consumer doesn’t have to wait to see the results.
Regular exfoliation can almost instantly help skin feel softer, smoother, more moisturized, more even in skin tone, and appear brighter and healthier. Not only that but results get better as exfoliation is built into a regular skin care routine at least once or twice a week.
As levels of consumer understanding about the benefits of exfoliation have risen, so demand for exfoliating products has increased throughout the year and in all climates.
In the summer months exfoliation is essential as winter skin is suddenly exposed and consumers want to slough off blemishes or prepare their skin for self-tanning applications. In winter exfoliating is the first step in deep moisturization of the skin to protect it from the extremes of centrally heated interiors and cold weather.
Face vs Body Exfoliants
For body applications, walnut shells are ground to fine particles, and sterilized before packing. They come as light brown particles which are clearly visible in a cream and ideal as a superb body exfoliant. Walnut shells are extremely hard and do not break down or get soft in the product. Their hardness makes them a highly effective natural body scrub very efficiently coping with even thick deposits of dead surface skin.
These larger particle sizes are not recommended for the face as they can break down delicate skin around the eye area. Nonetheless walnuts can be used effectively in natural facial exfoliants when crushed to a fine powder.
Crushed walnut shell is a hard-fibrous material ideal as an abrasive. Walnut grit is extremely durable – in fact larger particles sizes are used as abrasives in engineering and stone polishing facilities.
The angular and multi-faceted minute particles of walnut powder retain the extreme hardness of the walnut shell – yet because of their fine particle size – they will act as a soft abrasive in a cream or lotion. The fine powder which is insoluble in water is ideal for use in a natural facial exfoliant or scrub where a polishing or refining action is required.
Walnut shells can be used in a wide range of natural skin care applications – facial scrubs, skin cleansers, peeling creams and lotions, and body exfoliants – giving an unusual twist to a familiar natural product.
Here at Private Label skincare Florida, use many types of exfoliants in our wide range of products, and suggest to all of you that you make one for face and one for body scrubs, as the face is more sensitive, and should be a finer grit. As above, the pressure you use, and the length of time you massage the grit in your skin can make a huge difference in how abrasive your scrub will be on your skin. Use good sense and judgement when scrubbing your beautiful face girls and guys! -