St. Ives Apricot Scrub faces lawsuit for causing irritation


You might want to think twice before you use St. Ives Apricot Scrub again.

TMZ reports that two women have claimed using the scrub with crushed walnut shells "is unfit to be sold or used as a facial scrub."

Kaylee Browning and Sarah Basile say it is false advertising. The product says it's "dermatologist-tested," which is misleading, because it's not dermatologist recommended -- one even compared it to taking "sandpaper to the skin."

They are seeking $5 million.

A spokesperson from Unilever, the parent company, issued a statement to TODAY:

"As a general practice, we do not comment on pending litigation. We can say that for over 30 years, consumers have loved and trusted the St. Ives brand to refresh and revitalize their skin. We are proud to be America's top facial scrub brand and stand by our dermatologist-tested formula."

The lawsuit cites a New York magazine piece in which dermatologists disagree about the scrub -- one claims it can hurt your face, and others say it promotes healthy cell growth.

"When scrubs are used appropriately, they can remove keratin plugs associated with acne and boost collagen production, helping skin to look healthy and smooth," Dr. Apple Bodemer, assistant professor of dermatology at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, told TODAY.

Bodemer never recommends that people use the scrubs.

"I generally don't feel that anyone needs an exfoliant," she added. "I think that gentle cleansing by using your fingers ... helps the skin flake off."

Scrubs with nut or sugar in them can cause tiny, nearly-invisibly tears in the skin, which can make it easier for bacteria to enter the skin and cause infection.

"You are disrupting the barrier,"Dr. Adam Friedman, associate professor of dermatology at George Washington School of Medicine and Health Sciences, told TODAY. "Your skin is dry and cracked but you are breaking your skin down further with these scrubs."

Both dermatologists told TODAY that if people feel like they need to exfoliate, they should use a chemical exfoliant, which is safer.

Using a mild or neutral soap and lukewarm water no more than twice a day can make a huge difference. Be sure to apply moisturizer afterwards to keep your skin from drying out.

Read more about skincare alternatives: