Why Does Dirt Come Off When I Rub My Skin? (We Have the Answer!) 

Why does dirt come off when I rub my skin

Achieving a flawless skin is a dream of many out there, but few are able to make this dream come true since it requires investment of time and effort to exactly figure out what your skin type needs. If you haven’t been sticking to your skincare routine lately, you might have been noticing ‘dirt’ coming off when you rub your skin.

Perhaps that is what prompted you to search ‘why does dirt come off when I rub my skin?’ on Google – and rest assured, you’ve come to the right place. We’ll provide in depth information regarding how you can nourish your skin if you’ve been noticing this particular skin problem lately.

Why Does Dirt Come Off When I Rub My Skin?

If you’ve been noticing dirt coming off your skin, what’s important to know is that it isn’t ‘dirt’ per se but a combination of dead skin cells and oil build up. This usually happens as a result of an improper or irregular skincare and hygiene routine.

In mild cases it can be easily fixed by having more regular skincare sessions while in severe cases you may have to use over-the-counter medications.

Read below to know more about why you see ‘black stuff’ come off when you rub your skin, how do you get rid of built-up dirt on skin and what home remedies you can make use of to thoroughly clean your skin.

When I Rub My Skin, Why is There Black Stuff?

This usually happens in cases when an individual does not pay attention to skincare or hygiene for an extended period of time.

If you are noticing black flakes or scales coming off your skin as you rub it, you may have developed a skin disorder called dermatitis neglecta. The black flakes that emerge as a result of it are accumulations of dead skin cells and secretions such as sweat and oil.

Dermatitis neglecta comes in levels. For some people, simply resuming to a regular showering routine can help get rid of the black flakes. At most, they might have to use certain over-the-counter products recommended by a dermatologist to spot treat the areas of your skin that are more prone to flakiness. Apart from that, dermatitis neglecta is nothing to worry about and can be easily treated.

The symptoms of dermatitis neglecta include the following:

  • Flaky scales sticking to the skin
  • Hyperpigmentation
  • Rashes or any form of redness
  • Certain patches/parts of the skin covered in tiny flakes or pigmented.

How Do You Get Rid of Built-up Dirt on Skin?

The best way to get rid of built-up dirt on your skin depends on your individual skin type and current hygiene routine. If showering daily does not do away with the flakes or scales you’re experiencing on your skin, it’s a sign that you may require a deep cleaning to thoroughly nourish your skin.

We have laid out some general tips for you to follow in order to achieve a clear skin.

  • Invest in a good-quality facewash and bodywash that matches your skin type. If you have dry skin, go for hydrating face washes with natural ingredients and avoid those with heavy chemicals. If you have oily or acne-prone skin, go for cleansers that have anti-inflammatory ingredients such as salicylic acid and tea tree oil.
  • After cleansing your face, use a moisturizer or lotion to nourish your skin. Again, go with products that align with your skin type. Moisturizers for dry skins may not be suitable for oily skin since it already has excess moisture.
  • Use warm or lukewarm water to wash your face and body. Warm water is effective at unclogging pores and removing excess oil or dirt. 
  • Use a clean towel to pat your skin dry after cleansing. Avoid using a dirty towel or one that is being used by other people.
  • Use a natural exfoliator or scrub once a week. Some facewashes are marketed as a ‘cleanser + scrub’ combination but you should avoid using them on a daily basis as they can be harsh on your skin. 
  • After showering, scrub your skin gently with a towel to wipe off the areas with black flakes and scales. 

Are There Any DIY Methods to Get Rid of Built-Up Skin Dirt?

Apart from investing in good-quality cleansers, you can also make use of home remedies to get rid of accumulated dirt on your skin. Bear in mind that these may or may not work depending on case to case.

If the black flakes you’re experiencing are not occurring as a result of poor hygiene or skincare, it might be possible you have some other disease that you need to consult a doctor or dermatologist for.

With that aside, below are some popular home remedies you can try to get rid of built-up skin dirt:

  • Baking soda is effective at alleviating, if not curing, a variety of skin problems such as dandruff, flakiness, oiliness and so on. You can add a bit of baking soda in your cleanser or even use it as a scrub once a week.
  • You can make an exfoliant for yourself out of lemon juice. Squeeze out a bit of lemon juice in a cup and dilute it with water. Using a cotton ball, gently apply it on the problem areas of your skin. Leave it like so for 10-15 minutes and then wash the area with cool water. Moisturize at the end.
  • After showering, dab a cotton ball in alcohol and apply it over the areas you feel are more prone to flakiness or dirt.

It is important to be gentle with your skin during the whole process since scrubbing your skin hard will only aggravate the situation. Take your time while cleansing, exfoliating, and cleaning – your patience will pay off.


It can be annoying and almost grotesque to see dirt coming off your skin, but fortunately, it is nothing to be worried about as it can be treated easily through a regular skincare routine. If, despite having regular showers and using cleansers, exfoliators, home remedies etc. fails to solve the problem, it might be a symptom of a skin disease. In such a case, don’t delay consulting a doctor or dermatologist to get your skin treated.

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