Scalp Scrub

Can I Use Face Scrub on Scalp

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Many people who are looking for a quick solution to get rid of dandruff or oily scalp have pondered the question of whether they can use face scrubs on their scalp.

The thought of using the same product on the face and scalp is often tempting, but is it safe to do so? Let’s dive into the topic and find out.

Experts Weigh In on Face Scrub for Scalp

Dermatologists have expressed their concerns regarding the use of face scrubs on the scalp. Although face scrubs are meant to exfoliate dead skin cells from the face, they are not formulated for the scalp—which is a delicate area that requires special care.

According to Dr. Joshua Zeichner, director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, “I would not recommend using a face scrub on the scalp because the skin on the scalp is thinner than the skin on the face and is more easily irritated.”

However, some experts believe that if chosen wisely, face scrubs can be used on the scalp.

Dr. Debra Jaliman, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City, advises that you can use a face scrub on the scalp if it contains gentle exfoliating ingredients, such as glycolic acid, salicylic acid, or fruit enzymes. She also suggests that you should avoid scrubs that contain large and rough particles as they can cause irritation and inflammation.

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Pros and Cons of Using Face Scrub on Scalp

Using a face scrub on the scalp can have both benefits and drawbacks. Here are some pros and cons to consider:


  • Exfoliation: Face scrubs can exfoliate dead skin cells from the scalp, which can help to unclog hair follicles and improve hair growth.
  • Cleansing: Face scrubs can remove excess oil and dirt from the scalp, which can prevent dandruff and other scalp conditions.
  • Convenience: Face scrubs are easy to find and are often cheaper than specialized scalp products.


  • Irritation: Scrubs that are too harsh or abrasive can cause irritation, redness, and itching on the scalp.
  • Over-exfoliation: Over-exfoliating the scalp can strip the skin of its natural oils, which can lead to dryness and flakiness.
  • Unsuitable Ingredients: Most face scrubs contain fragrances and other ingredients that are not suitable for the scalp, which can cause allergic reactions or irritation.
ConvenienceUnsuitable Ingredients

Understanding the Science Behind Face Scrubs

Face scrubs contain physical or chemical exfoliants that work by breaking down dead skin cells and other impurities. Physical exfoliants contain small particles (e.g., sugar, salt, or ground nuts) that physically scrub away the dead skin cells. Chemical exfoliants, on the other hand, use acids (e.g., glycolic acid or salicylic acid) to dissolve the dead skin cells.

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The main difference between face scrubs and scalp scrubs is that the latter usually contains larger particles that are gentler and less abrasive than face scrubs. Additionally, scalp scrubs often contain moisturizing and soothing ingredients to counteract any potential irritation.

Alternatives to Using Face Scrub on Scalp

If you’re not comfortable using a face scrub on your scalp, there are other alternatives that you can try. Here are a few options:

  • Use a specialized scalp scrub: Scalp scrubs are specially formulated for the scalp and contain ingredients like sea salt, charcoal, or kaolin clay that are gentle on the scalp.
  • Use a scalp brush: A scalp brush can help to exfoliate the scalp without the use of harsh scrubs. It also stimulates blood flow to the scalp and promotes hair growth.
  • Use a clarifying shampoo: Clarifying shampoos contain ingredients that can help to remove buildup and excess oil from the scalp.

How to Safely Use Face Scrub on Scalp

If you decide to use a face scrub on your scalp, it’s important to do so safely. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Choose a gentle scrub: Look for a scrub that contains gentle exfoliating ingredients and avoid scrubs that contain large, rough particles.
  • Test it out: Before applying the scrub to your entire scalp, test it out on a small patch of skin to see how your scalp reacts.
  • Use a light hand: Be gentle when applying the scrub to your scalp and don’t rub too hard.
  • Rinse thoroughly: Make sure to rinse your scalp thoroughly after using the scrub to prevent any residual particles from causing irritation.
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Tips for Choosing the Right Face Scrub for Scalp

When choosing a face scrub to use on your scalp, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Look for gentle ingredients: Choose a scrub that contains gentle exfoliating ingredients like glycolic acid, lactic acid, or salicylic acid.
  • Avoid harsh particles: Avoid scrubs that contain large and rough particles like walnut shells or apricot kernels.
  • Check the pH: Look for a scrub with a pH of around 5.5, which is the same as the pH of the scalp.
  • Choose a moisturizing scrub: Look for scrubs that contain moisturizing ingredients like aloe vera, honey, or glycerin to prevent dryness.

Final Verdict: Should You Use Face Scrub on Scalp?

The decision to use a face scrub on your scalp ultimately depends on your hair and skin type. If you have sensitive skin or a dry scalp, it’s best to avoid using face scrubs on your scalp. However, if you have an oily scalp and are prone to dandruff, a gentle face scrub may help to exfoliate dead skin cells and remove excess oil. Just make sure to choose the right scrub for your scalp and use it safely.