Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Try for Skin Grits

Written by Allison

This skin grits trend is the weirdest, right?

Skin grits. Sounds gross, is gross, but is also hugely popular suddenly. Have you heard of this new life changing, face beautifying, pore clog destroying skincare technique? Skin grits, or skin gritting, or pulling out skin grits, is a not at all cute way of talking about cleaning the gunk out of pores. Some use the technique for blackheads, some for sebaceous filaments, and some for acne (ouch).

The routine to pull out skin grits goes a little something like this: cleanse skin, acid tone, clay mask, oil cleanse, and massage until the grits come out. It’s, um, as time consuming and icky as it sounds.

My Experience

I first heard of skin grits while browsing the SkincareAddiction subreddit several months ago. As the always testing weird skincare enthusiast, I had to give it a shot. I don’t really struggle with blackheads, but sebaceous filaments are no joke on the sides of my nose. They’re basically pre-blackheads if you want to think about it that way.

I did this whole skin gritting process over the course of one evening. I started by removing my makeup, and cleansing my skin with a gentle foaming cleanser. Then I applied the Pixi Glow Tonic all over my face. Using the acidic toner on clean skin at the beginning of this process is supposed to help get your pores open and ready to go for the pulling the gunk straight out. I let the Glow Tonic chill out on my skin for about a half an hour before applying the mask.

The back of the package literally says “FEEL YOUR FACE PULSATE”

I went for Aztec Secret because I’m a masochist, apparently. Applied only to the sides of my nose this mask isn’t too bad but all over the face? It’s like asking for redness and irritation. After letting the mask dry all the way I removed it with warm water and moved straight into the next step: massaging out those grits.

I took Jojoba oil and applied a few drops to my fingertips. Normally my skin loves jojoba oil. It drinks it in, even though my skin runs on the oily side. With my fingers oiled up and ready to go I gently massaged the affected area in light circles.

It only took a minute or so of facial massage to start feeling the grits. They literally pop right out of your skin and you’ll feel them immediately like a gross, homemade exfoliating beads. Because I suffer with sebaceous filaments (which are clear) I couldn’t see the grits on my skin, but I sure could feel them.

I kept on massaging for a few minutes then washed my face again to remove the skin grits and excess oil. I topped it all off a gentle moisturizer and went to sleep after an exhausting evening of poking and prodding my skin.

The next morning my skin did look more clear, the pores on the sides of my nose looked smaller which had a good bit to do with the fact that they also were so inflamed from their previous torture that they were downright puffy. After a day all the puffiness subsided and my skin still looked smoother than before. But, after just a few days my pores were back to their regular selves. So. Not. Worth. It.

Dermatologist Recommendations

The time it took, the inflammation I caused with my own two hands, the nasty feeling of the grits? Yeah, not a fan for a day or two of smaller (not small, not nonexistent) pores. Because this idea is basically the worst I had to have a quick chat with Miami dermatologist Dr. Jegasothy to ask what causes the irritating effects of skin grits and how to get rid of the gunk in your pores safely.

To put it lightly, Dr. Jegasothy does not recommend the technique. “Skin gritting, which requires rubbing and massaging your face for a long period of time, can lead to broken capillaries. It can also cause micro-cuts in the skin, and even inflammation, which can lead to hyperpigmentation.” Basically a whole lot of not-fun.

She suggests instead using products that include salicylic acid instead to keep your pores clear, and can even shrink nose pores. “Leave a 2% salicylic acid cleanser on the skin for 20 minutes. This helps bring up any surface debris even closer to the top of the skin and make it easier to be extruded.” Dr. Jegasothy explained that you should only try to do a home extraction if you are very careful and use only the pads of your fingers. “However, for best and safest results, please see a skincare professional for extraction.”

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About the author


Bio: She's a New Orleans based beauty writer, nail polish hoarder, and doughnut enthusiast. When she isn't camping out in her local coffee shop for hours on end, you'll probably find her taking selfies in front of every colorful wall she's ever seen. Follow along on Instagram @allisonmarieschmidt.

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