Last Updated on October 12th, 2020
When acne first strikes, typically in middle school or high school, there are a few hugely popular products that young people tend to turn to. One of those is the St. Ives Fresh Skin Apricot Scrub.
It’s cheap, it smells great, and it uses natural exfoliants instead of all those crazy chemicals. What could go wrong?
Well, a lot, as it turns out.
We examined the ingredients of St. Ives Fresh Skin Apricot Scrub, compared it to the leading acne treatment on the market right now, analyzed the reviews, and took a hard look at St. Ives as a company, and compiled all of the information in this review. Before you use this product, read our review and make sure it can give you what your skin needs.
Article Table of Contents
One of the best ways to determine whether an acne treatment product actually treats acne is to compare it to products that you know work. So that’s what we’ve done with this face scrub. The chart below compares the St. Ives Fresh Skin Apricot Scrub with the Basic Kit from Exposed Skin Care and demonstrates how well each product addresses the main issues associated with acne.
As you can see, this face scrub doesn’t hold a candle to a truly effective acne treatment system. Proper acne treatment will address the four main causes of acne:
To find out why St. Ives Fresh Skin Apricot Scrub performed so poorly, we looked to the ingredients list.
According to the chart, the only aspect of acne treatment that this St. Ives apricot scrub can successfully manage is unclogging pores. This is thanks to the key ingredient: crushed walnut shell powder. St. Ives promotes this ingredient as the main reason their scrub is so great, but in reality, it causes far more harm than good.
It sounds good to say that this scrub uses “all-natural exfoliators” like crushed walnut shell powder, but in reality, chemical exfoliation is much safer than physical exfoliation.
Basically, there are two main ways to exfoliate the skin to remove excess oil and dead skin cells. You can use very small, physical particles to break up the clogged pores, or you can use chemicals that absorb into the clogged pores and break them up through chemical reactions. Even though it sounds safer to go the physical route, the truth is that physical exfoliation can irritate the skin much more than chemical exfoliation, which is very bad for acne.
When the skin is irritated, it becomes inflamed, which only serves to clog pores and trap acne-causing bacteria under the surface, effectively creating a pimple or even a cyst. If you are looking to treat and prevent acne, you want to avoid irritation and inflammation at all costs. Which is why this St. Ives scrub with its crushed walnut shells is a very bad idea.
Plus, it doesn’t contain any other ingredients that do anything for acne. The apricot fruit extract is used entirely for scent, it doesn’t contain any ingredients that can kill acne-causing bacteria, and because of the harshness of the walnut shell powder, the ingredients that might help reduce inflammation, like water, glycerin, and glyceryl stearate are effectively useless.
When a company makes a bad skin care product, it’s possible to be optimistic and hope that they don’t realize how harmful their product can really be. But in this case, St. Ives is definitely fully aware of the harm that can be caused by crushed walnut shell powder because they faced a lawsuit about it back in 2017. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit sued because they claimed the crushed walnut shells caused tiny tears in the skin which actually caused damage and inflammation, and because they claimed that the face scrub was not actually noncomedogenic (non-pore-clogging) like it claimed.
The suit got thrown out, but the claims that the walnut shell powder could cause skin problems were very legitimate, and St. Ives knows about these problems, but they continue to make and sell this product to vulnerable young people who are just looking for a way to get clear, fresh skin.
Taking advantage of high school students dealing with acne for the first time is hardly what we would call ethical business practices, which might be why St. Ives is not accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
Another factor to consider when choosing a new skin care product to use is the company’s customer service. Although St. Ives has a customer service number you can call, there is absolutely no information online about whether they offer good or bad customer service.
This is a huge red flag.
As we said before, the apricot St. Ives face scrub is hugely popular, and with that many purchases, there are sure to be issues at least every now and again where customers need to contact customer service. This means there should be information on whether their service is good or bad.
The fact that there is nothing at all is a sign that the company might be paying to get rid of any information regarding their customer service, which is never a good sign.
Another issue is that if you use this product and have a problem and decide you want to return it, you will have to adhere to the return policy of the retailer that sold the product. St. Ives as a company doesn’t offer their own return policy because they don’t sell their products directly to customers, only through other retailers like Amazon, Target, or Walmart. Most of these retailers have decent return policies, but the fact that St. Ives doesn’t back up their skin care product with their own policy shows a lack of confidence that the product actually works. Which makes sense, because based on their formula, the product doesn’t work.
Before deciding to use a new skin care product, it’s always a good idea to check out the 1-star reviews on several different review sites. While 5-star reviews can easily be manipulated by large companies, 1-star reviews provide a clear picture of the issues with the product.
To save you some time, we’ve done all the work for you. We have gone through 50 1-star reviews from Amazon, Acne.org, and Influenster and analyzed the top three complaints. Here are the biggest issues people have with this face scrub St. Ives has created.
The biggest issue we saw among the 1-star reviews was how harsh this scrub is on the skin. 19 out of 50 reviews said the product irritated their skin, caused dermatitis, or even made them bleed. This is due to the physical exfoliation, and it’s why we definitely do not recommend this product if you’re looking to get clear skin.
The next problem is definitely an issue if you’re looking to get rid of acne: increased breakouts. That’s right, 13 out of 50 reviews said that this apricot scrub actually gave them more acne instead of less. This is likely because of all the irritation caused by the harsh physical exfoliators.
Finally, some reviewers said this product dried out their skin. Even though this scrub contains water and glycerin, two ingredients that can actually help hydrate the skin, the harshness of the walnuts is so harsh that all of the typical moisturizing components aren’t capable of doing their usual jobs. 4 out of 50 1-star reviews said that this product dried out their face significantly. If you already have dry skin, you do not want to use this product.
Real 1-Star Reviews:
I got this to use as a body scrub & it still irritated my skin. People- PLEASE stop using this product, its really rough on the skin. Every dermatologist will tell you to not use it. If you want irritated skin with early on set wrinkles then buy it.
I would not recommend using this (or probably any scrub) if you have white heads sitting on the surface of your face. I bought this last week to try and scrub off some of the dead flaky skin on my face caused by another acne treatment, but it just caused a lot more white heads than before.
This does exfoliate well, and leaves skin smooth. However, after using i started to get indented scars and one day i think i scrubbed too hard (my own fault) and my face got a tear and began bleeding. The little apricot things are very harsh and it got stuck in my pores and created tiny clogged pores. I now use the old bottle on my body because i dont want to waste it, and it seems to do well with thick skin, however this also broke out my back.
This product started off well but as I continued to use it , it became very rough and dried out my skin.
Absolutely not. I would give this zero stars if possible. It is absolutely terrible and will ruin your skin. It’s been about four years since I have used this product and I’m still left with deep scars in my skin.
Even though St. Ives Fresh Skin Apricot Scrub has been recommended by several Condé Nast publications like Glamour, Allure, GQ, and more, it’s clear that you should not use it on your skin if you’re trying to get rid of acne.
Even though it’s tempting to use the most aggressive treatment possible, this product is proof that it’s better to go gentle when it comes to the skin.
If you want to get rid of acne and have clear skin for good, then Exposed is the only option. It will take a few weeks for the progress to be noticeable, but that is because Exposed is dedicated to avoiding the mistake this apricot scrub makes by going way too harsh. Instead, their products are designed to be gentle and effective through a unique combination of natural and scientific ingredients that address all of the causes of acne.
The Basic Kit contains a Facial Cleanser, Clearing Tonic, Acne Treatment Serum, and Clear Pore Serum, and each product contains a unique combination of natural and scientific ingredients that can actually give you the clear skin you want. For example, the Clearing Tonic uses green tea extract to reduce oil production, passion flower extract to prevent irritation, and azelaic acid to kill acne-causing bacteria. That’s a lot of acne-fighting power, all without the excessive harshness of walnut shells.
All Exposed products are designed to work gently, but effectively, and if you follow the skin care regimen laid out by the Basic Kit, then Exposed is willing to guarantee that your skin will improve. If you aren’t satisfied with your skin after a year, you can send your empty bottles back to Exposed for a full refund, that’s how much Exposed believes in their products.