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9 Exfoliating Facial Scrubs That Won't Tear Up Your Skin

Jojoba esters are a girl's best friend
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Popular thought on facial scrubs used to dictate the bumpier and more agitating the formula, the better it would deep clean skin. As it happens, we don't have to pulverize our complexion to clear out congested pores and sweep away dead skin cells. Thanks to innovative ingredients, today's most promising formulations do the job of deep cleaning... without leaving skin red and parched.

"Powders and formulations with jojoba esters are kinder to the skin because they tend to have geometrically smoother edges and are less likely to cause micro-tears and cuts than apricot pits and nut shells used in traditional scrubs," says Dr. S. Manjula Jegasothy MD, a dermatologist and clinical associate professor of dermatology at the University of Miami.

So, don't think gentler scrubs won't clean as well as more grainy formulations: According to Jegasothy, many also contain ingredients that are "more likely to dissolve and less likely to clog pores and cause blackheads, whiteheads or inflammatory pimples to form." Ahead, find 9 scrubs suited to deep clean skin, without roughing it up.

Image via Imaxtree

This exfoliator, verified by the Environmental Working Group, may be among the most expensive that we've tried, but it also delivers one of the most luxurious cleansing experiences (thanks in part to a lavender scent that transports us to a spendy day spa).

To start, it lifts mineral sunscreen residue and gunk without drying skin, compliments of a bevy of nourishing oils, including evening primrose, jojoba, avocado, apricot kernel, rosehip seed, carrot seed, and more. Meanwhile, jojoba esters provide a hint of soft texture and work to release grime, without creating microtears in our skin.

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You'd never know by the feel of it, but this polish taps all the heavy-hitting physical, enzymatic and acid-based exfoliators you'd expect to find in a grainy scrub. But thanks to more gentle ingredient choices — pomegranate enzymes, alpha hydroxy acid found in caviar lime extract, olive pit powder and spattering of bamboo spheres — your skin is left remarkably smooth without the irritation or intense abrasion that comes with some traditional scrubs.

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How, exactly, should we exfoliate when our skin is so dry, it's peeling? Try a rich and creamy cleanser that wields the teeniest amount of texture. This one uses sparse jojoba grains to achieve this balancing act and milk thistle and elderflower water to smooth and soothe the skin.

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Manuka honey may be most commonly known as a healthy way to sweeten tea and yogurt. But the popular New Zealand export is medicinally powerful, too, with research showing antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.

Those with the most sensitive skin can find a stellar exfoliator in this naturally-textured honey, which is rated for methylglyoxal content (the honey's star antibacterial compound) and UMF (the third-party verification system that ensures the quality of Manuka honey inside). Better yet, this brand of manuka honey is fully traceable: To see exactly where the honey originated, just scan the jar's microchipped tag with your phone.

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