When it comes to celebrities there’s no shortage of crazy health and beauty trends, but an old admission from Jersey Shore cast member Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi deserves some revisiting. The tanned reality star once said her favorite skin exfoliation product was none other than cat litter.
Some exfoliants have rocks in them, and it makes your skin really smooth, she said in an interview with Conan O’Brien. Cat litter is like a substitute for that.
According to Snooki, cat litter replicates the texture of commercial exfoliation products at a much cheaper price, but not everyone is sold on the idea. According to Lezandra Berchik, an esthetician at Bliss Spa in Los Angeles, cat litter should stay in the pet industry where it belongs.
Berchik told Women’s Health the particles in cat litter are far too large and coarse for the face. This can result in micro scratches and inflammation that ultimately makes skin appear worse. What’s more, the silica in cat litter put there to absorb moisture will do the same on skin–but in a much more drastic way than appropriate for skincare.
The cat litter facial
As odd as Snooki’s beauty routine may be, she isn’t the only one out there using what is often called “the cat litter facial.” The Internet is full of videos and blogs advocating the deep pore cleansing ability of a facial mask made out of cat litter, with most users mixing their desired brand of litter with water and letting the mask sit on their skin for approximately 15 minutes.
Despite the support of a die-hard group of young women (and some men), experts still don’t advise the cat litter scrub as a viable option for clear skin.
“I would not put kitty litter on my face,” Rebecca O’Sullivan, an esthetician at Chicago’s Sine Qua Non Salon, told Cosmopolitan. “Some brands of kitty litter contain aluminium silicate, the same ingredient used in glass-making as well as housing insulation. Plus, it’s a known neurotoxin for humans. Facial skin is more sensitive and thinner than the rest of the body,” O’Sullivan said. “You may notice some skin tears, breakouts, and even premature fine lines. Any type of scrub that is not a ’rounded’ shape has a tendency to cause these issues.”
The best alternative to a cat litter facial? Try using a natural clay mask that won’t contain the chemicals cat litter does. If you’re looking for exfoliation and you want to keep it natural, try baking soda which has smaller, rounder particles and won’t be as harsh on your skin.