The untold truth of coffee scrubs

Over the past few years, coffee scrubs have become a skincare mainstay. “They are great exfoliators, and just about everyone can use them,” dermatologist Papri Sarkar raved to Allure, pointing out that it’s one of the best ways to remove dead skin while giving your skin moisture. “It’s the combination of exfoliation, to remove dry skin, and potent moisturizers that makes these scrubs so moisturizing,” she explained. “It also helps that you’re applying it in the shower, so your skin is already wet when you apply it. That’s the only way to get a true, lasting moisturizing effect.”

Another reason coffee scrubs have become all the rage is due to the caffeine. There are even rumors it can reduce the appearance of cellulite. As dermatologist Mona Gohara explained to Good Housekeeping, “Caffeine stimulates dilation while the scrubbing motion increases circulation, plumping up the skin and making cellulite look less obvious.” She added that, thanks to the antioxidants contained in coffee grounds, the scrubs can pump up your body’s collagen production — which also can help smooth out cellulite. 

Sounds amazing, right? There are just a few more things you need to know about using the scrubs and properly disposing of them (hint: it’s not down your shower drain), before you embrace this beauty treatment.

Coffee scrubs also have a downside

If your skin is prone to breakouts, you may want to steer clear of coffee scrubs, according to Verywell Health). Breakouts are caused by pore blockages that are below the surface of your skin. These scrubs will not penetrate deep enough to help clear them up — and instead can irritate the already inflamed area. 

It’s also important to be aware that ground coffee can actually block your pipes. “Coffee scrubs are one of the worst things you can put down your drain,” Jim Steine, the president of Atomic Plumbing in Virginia, told Allure. “Even if you use a finely-ground coffee scrub just once a week, it will eventually mix with the oils in your pipes and coagulate.” And unfortunately, a quick shot of Liquid-Plumr won’t solve the problem. “Household chemicals can’t break down grounds, so if you get a blockage, you’re going to have to call a plumber,” Steine added. 

Your best bet when it comes to coffee scrubs? Wait until your skin is as clear as possible, and try to block your drain and scoop out the coffee grounds, before emptying your sink or tub.

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