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Body scrubs have been around for a while, but a slew of scrubs have emerged over the years, including those made from coffee, salt, and sugar. There may be a few hanging in your bathroom cabinet right now.
Whether you’ve tried one or not, you may be wondering what are the benefits associated with body scrubs.
Aside from making your skin feel super smooth, body scrubs have a few other benefits.
Board-certified dermatologist and aesthetics expert Kavita Mariwalla, MD, FAAD, says body scrubs are “a good thing in your skincare wardrobe, especially during the winter months when skin can get very dry.”
First, let’s look at how our skin works.
Desquamation is the natural process of skin flaking and takes place in a constant regeneration cycle. The effectiveness of this process depends on a number of factors including age, skin type, the products you use, and your environment.
However, the process is not 100 percent perfect and can lead to the formation of dead skin cells on the surface of the skin. This is where body scrubs come into play.
Body scrubs remove dead skin cells and thus offer several advantages:
- They allow your skin to absorb moisturizer better. By building up dead skin cells, any subsequently applied moisturizer penetrates the skin more thoroughly.
- They clog pores and prevent ingrown hairs. Using a body scrub regularly will clog your pores, which can help prevent razor blades and ingrown hairs.
- They make your skin smoother and more even. If dry skin is not removed, it will feel rough to the touch and have a dull, cracked texture and a dull appearance. By removing the dead, dry cells, you should have smoother, more even skin.
Using a body scrub is relatively easy. Here is a quick step-by-step guide (including some tips):
- Rinse your skin with warm water.
- Apply the scrub with your fingertips.
- Scrub your hands and feet in circular motions and move inward.
- Rinse thoroughly with warm water.
- Shave if desired.
- Pat the skin dry and leave it slightly damp.
- Apply moisturizer. If you apply a moisturizer while your skin is still damp, the moisture will become trapped.
Pro type: Don’t overuse it. Too much good can be true when it comes to body scrubs. Find out why below. Use no more than twice a week.
Here are two timing considerations to consider before using a body scrub.
How often should you use a body scrub?
In general, you don’t want to use a body scrub on your skin every day or even every other day. This can lead to dry or irritated skin.
How often you should use a body scrub (or an exfoliator in general) depends on your skin type. But in general, you don’t want to use a body scrub more than twice a week or you’ll be drying and irritating your skin, according to Mariwalla.
If you have sensitive skin, you may only want to use a body scrub once a week.
What about body washing and showering?
It’s best to use a body scrub while you’re still in the shower, but right after you wash, so your skin is clean and ready to be exfoliated.
We asked Mariwalla if all body scrubs are essentially the same. The simple answer is no, they are not.
“The ingredients in them determine the grain, and that in turn affects how much exfoliating it gives the skin. Remember, just because you can do a hard peel doesn’t mean you should, ”she explains.
In the past, we mostly only heard of sugar or salt peels. There are now a variety of different body scrubs on the market. It may take some trial and error to find the ones you and your skin love the most.
Here are some of the most common types of body scrubs:
Salt body scrub
Sea salt is a natural exfoliant. Its abrasive texture easily removes dead skin cells.
Buy Lush Ocean Salt Face and Body Scrub online.
Sugar body scrub
While too much sugar isn’t great to put into your body, it is actually great to put into your body.
Sugar is a humectant, which means it draws water into your skin and leaves moisture behind while removing any dry and dead cells.
Coffee body scrub
Coffee has many benefits, and these carry over to body scrubs. Not only does it have natural exfoliating and anti-inflammatory properties, but it can also improve blood circulation and smooth skin.
Buy the 100% natural Arabica coffee scrub from First Botany Cosmeceuticals online.
Lavender body scrub
Lavender-based body scrubs can be great for soothing irritated skin, healing inflamed skin, and calming and relaxing your senses. Just before bed is a great time to use a lavender body scrub.
Buy pureSCRUBS lavender and sea salt scrub online.
Charcoal body scrub
Charcoal has become a preferred ingredient in many beauty and hygiene products. Charcoal is very absorbent, which means it soaks up all of the dirt, grime, and dead skin cells and removes them with ease.
Buy Dark Angels Face And Body Cleanser online at Lush.
Korean body scrub
If you’ve been to a Korean spa before, you may have experienced a Korean-style body scrub. Instead of scrubbing off a cosmetic product, dead skin is scrubbed off with scrubbing gloves. With just a simple soap, you can use these gloves to soften your skin.
Buy Korean Italy Towels Online.
Would you like to try something different? Dry brushing is great for exfoliating dry skin. It also increases blood flow and lymphatic drainage, clogs pores, and stimulates the nervous system.
Using it to exfoliate also has the added benefit of not removing moisture from the skin.
Buy a dry brush online.
If you are interested in doing your own body scrub, you will be pleased to know that it isn’t too difficult.
Not only are there a few ingredients required, but you can save money by making your own body scrub.
Recipe # 1: coffee peeling
- 1/2 cup of coffee grounds
- 2 tablespoons (tablespoons) of hot water
- 1 tbsp warm coconut oil
- Mix the coffee grounds with the water.
- Add the warm coconut oil.
- If necessary, add additional coffee grounds or oil until you get the right consistency.
Recipe # 2: salt scrub
- 1/2 cup sea salt
- 1/2 cup oil (olive, coconut)
- Mix the sea salt and oil together.
- Add essential oils if needed.
- Add extra salt or oil if needed until you get the right consistency.
Recipe # 3: sugar and lavender scrub
- 1 cup of sugar
- 1/2 cup oil (olive, coconut, almond)
- 1/2 teaspoon (teaspoon) of real vanilla extract
- 15 drops of lavender essential oil
- Mix ingredients thoroughly.
- If necessary, add additional ingredients to achieve the right consistency.
Excessive use of body scrubs can lead to overdrying of the skin. Therefore, Mariwalla recommends applying a lotion immediately afterwards to lock in the moisture and avoid skin irritation.
According to a 2016 study, physical exfoliation can help maintain visible radiance, but it can also temporarily disrupt the skin’s barrier.
Therefore, body scrubs and other home exfoliating products may not replace the need for professional peels or other professional treatments.
To keep your skin healthy, take the following precautions after you exfoliate.
Do not sunbathe
After exfoliating, watch out for extreme sunlight. Mariwalla shares that our skin can be a little more sensitive to the sun after the peeling. So wait until the next day to lie by the pool.
Also, skip the scrub if you are currently sunburned.
Do not continue peeling
Body scrubs are peelings, so no further peeling is required after application. This leads to drier skin and skin irritation.
Don’t go to the steam room
Using a sauna or steam room after exfoliating can cause skin irritation. It is best to skip these.
Always be gentle when exfoliating your skin and watch out for overuse.
Body scrubs are a great tool for almost every skin type. Whether you buy one or make your own body scrub, these scrubs effectively soften and nourish your skin while removing any dead, dry skin cells that build up on your body.
Ashley Hubbard is a Nashville, Tennessee-based freelance writer focusing on sustainability, travel, veganism, mental health, social justice, and more. With a passion for animal rights, sustainable travel and social impact, she seeks ethical experiences, whether at home or on the go. Visit her website wild-hearted.com.