It seems like every men's skin-care line has a scrub—is it because men like the feel of "scrubbing" their skin? Regardless of why cosmetics companies do this to men, this is one skin-care product both men and women should avoid. In terms of formulation, Clinique For Men Face Scrub is a real burn for the skin due to the irritants it contains.
Typically, irritants aren't as problematic in a rinse-off formula, but using a scrub and then shaving will make the skin more susceptible to any amount of irritation, which is why you should think twice before investing in this.
The main irritant in this scrub is menthol. A major component of peppermint oil, menthol is a frequent addition to men's skin-care formulas, and it's responsible for the tingling, cooling effect on the skin. While this may feel pleasant initially, its role in triggering dermatitis is well-documented (Sources: Dermatitis, 2010; and Contact Dermatitis, 1995). Stearamidoethyl diethylamine is a lesser-known irritant. It's a cleansing agent that, even in small amounts, also can cause contact dermatitis (Source: Contact Dermatitis, 1984)—we'll just take a guess that itchy, patchy skin isn't the result you're after when shopping for skin-care products.
If Clinique had omitted these two irritants, the fragrance-free Face Scrub would have been a decent option to consider because the abrasive agents are gentle, rounded polyethylene beads. For additional details on plastic microbeads in cosmetics, see the More Info section below.Instead, consider the better-formulated alternatives recommended on our list of Best Scrubs. When done right, a scrub is a good option for an extra-cleansing step (not unlike using a soft washcloth or Clarisonic), and those we recommend can certainly provide for a closer shave.
- Will smooth dry, flaky areas of the skin (albeit temporarily).
- Helps provide a closer shave.
- Contains a duo of irritants: menthol and the cleansing agent stearamidoethyl diethylamine.
- The combination of irritants in this scrub creates a much higher risk of inflamed, damaged skin, and it's easy to overdo it with scrubs like this.
Irritation, whether you see it on the surface of your skin or not, causes inflammation and as a result impairs healing, damages collagen, and depletes the vital substances your skin needs to stay young. For these reasons, it is best to eliminate, or minimize as much as possible, your exposure to known skin irritants, especially when there are brilliant formulas available that do not include these types of problematic ingredients (Sources: Inflammation Research, December 2008, pages 558–563; Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, June 2008, pages 124–135, and November-December 2000, pages 358–371; Journal of Investigative Dermatology, April 2008, pages 15–19; Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, March 2008, pages 78–82; Mechanisms of Ageing and Development, January 2007, pages 92–105; and British Journal of Dermatology, December 2005, pages S13–S22).
Plastic Microbeads in Cosmetics: This product contains polyethylene beads, which is an ingredient that has come under controversy in the recent past. In December of 2013, research published in the peer-reviewed journal, Marine Pollution Bulletin demonstrated that although polyurethane beads are non-toxic to humans, they are not filtered during sewage treatment and are accumulating in waterways. This means the beads have the potential to negatively affect marine wildlife who mistakenly consume them (Marine Pollution Bulletin, 2013).
Additional research published in December of 2013 demonstrated that polyurethane beads have the potential to absorb pollutants while in waterways. This research was conducted to establish the potential of absorption, however, and was not conducted using samples from actual waterways (Cell, 2013).
Beautypedia does not take an ideological stance in reviewing skincare products; rather, our reviews are based upon each product's potential harm or benefit to skin contingent upon what independent peer-reviewed scientific research has demonstrated. On issues like polyethylene beads in cosmetics or animal testing, we present the facts without judgment so that you may make your own decision whether or not this product is right for you.