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Women Are Suing St. Ives Over Claims Its Apricot Scrub Causes Skin Damage

They call the product "completely worthless.”

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If you're a person who loves to have baby-butt-smooth skin, chances are you've rubbed this stuff on your face a few times.

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St. Ives Apricot Scrub has been a cult favorite since the ’90s.

It has won Allure Readers' Choice Awards almost every year for over a decade, was extolled by Gigi Hadid, and garnered thousands of adoring reviews wherever skin care products are sold.

But not everyone is so hype for the scrub.

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As Slate reported, the product has become the subject of great outrage on the subreddit /r/SkincareAddiction, where many people say it's "too harsh" and has "ruined" their skin.

Some have called it the "Devil Scrub" that is "on par with uttering Voldermort's name."

Now, two women are suing Unilever. They claim the crushed walnut shells in the scrub "damage the skin in a way that makes it completely unsuitable for use in a skin care product."

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Plaintiffs Kaylee Browning and Sarah Basile cited multiple dermatologists in their lawsuit, one of whom claimed the scrub causes "micro-tears" in the skin that make it "more vulnerable to environmental damages, pollution, and sun damage.”

They say "they never would have bought St. Ives facial scrub if the defendant had disclosed that it causes skin damage."

Browning and Basile also take issue with the product's claims of being "non-comedogenic," meaning it does not clog pores.

They are also challenging advertising claims that it is "dermatologist tested" since "it is not actually recommended by dermatologists."

“Accordingly, St. Ives is unfit to be sold or used as a facial scrub,” the plaintiffs claim in the suit. “The product is completely worthless.”

A Unilever spokesperson responded with the following statement to BuzzFeed News:

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.

Dr. Joshua Zeichner, a New York–based dermatologist, told BuzzFeed News that the "qualities of a skin care product and the way that they are used are two separate issues."

"Over-exfoliating with any type of scrub or chemical exfoliator like salicylic acid or glycolic acid may result in skin inflammation," he said. "If you have dry or sensitive skin, you may want to steer clear of exfoliators all together."

Zeichner said the scrub would have had to pass certain tests and "demonstrate that it does not block pores" to be labeled as non-comedogenic.

"There are many different scrubs on the market, ranging from coarse to fine particle physical exfoliating scrubs. It is important to select a product that best suits the specific needs of your skin," he said. "If you've any questions, you can certainly touch base with your dermatologist for advice on the best product for you."

Julia Reinstein is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Julia Reinstein at julia.reinstein@buzzfeed.com.

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