Thursday, November 24, 2011

Scrubs. Sugar versus Salt.

Exfoliation is the secret to glowing, healthy skin. The most popular form of exfoliation are scrubs. Two common types are sugar and salt. Each have their own benefits. Most people prefer one or the other. I personally like brown sugar scrubs. I find them to be a gentle but effective exfoliant. We will talk about both.

First of all, scrubs should not be used daily. They are effective if used on a weekly basis.

Sugar is a natural substance and has no harsh chemicals or negative side effects. It can be used on all skin types and effectively exfoliates and deep cleanses pores. Sugar contains alpha-hydroxy, a popular ingredient in commercial skin creams. Sugar scrubs are gentle and can be very soothing for people with skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis. Sugar is a natural humectant, meaning it draws moisture to itself. In addition to the sugar, these scrubs use some type of oil which also lends beneficial properties and  aids in skin health. (Refer to our previous post on oils to review beneficial properties of popular oils). Adding essential oils can further promote healthy skin.

Salt is also a natural substance and scrubs utilizing salt are prefered by some, particularly for facial exfoliation due to the minerals found in salt and their beneficial properties, particularly, Dead Sea Salt. The salt scrub is rougher than the sugar scrub, therefore should be used carefully to prevent irritation. Salt scrubs are more effective on caloused and dry, rough  skin. It is also good for those with acne, as it helps absorb excess oil.The salt scrub is reported to have therapeutic benefits that helps remove  toxins and impurities from skin. On a negative note, salt scrub is a bit irritating and stingy to skin and should not to be used on sensitive, irritated or cut skin.

For best results, use a scrub while in the shower. Apply a handful of scrub to wet skin and massage in a circular motion over the entire body. Rinse away.

Scrubs are easy to make at home, and, depending on the oils used, can be very inexpensive. Here are a couple of recipes to try.

Sugar Scrub
1/2 cup sugar (white or brown)
1/2 cup of oil of your choice (sunflower, olive, wheat germ, etc)
You can use more or less oil, depending on the consistency you prefer. You can also add fragrance if desired.
Mix the oil and sugar and you have a scrub. It's that simple! You can spiff up the scrub by adding a tablespoon of finely ground oatmeal and / or a tablespoon or so of honey. Lemon juice can also be added as it is a natural astringent. Play around with ingredients until you find the perfect one for you.

Salt Scrub
1/2 cup fine sea salt (dead sea salt is great if you have it)
1/2 cup of oil of your choice
Once again, use more or less oil according to personal preference.  Also, other additives can be included if yo prefer. (Refer to Sugar Scrub recipe).

Extra scrub can be stored for a short period of time in a sealed glass jar.

These recipes are very basic but  WILL do the trick. We will explore more"posh" scrubs in an upcoming post, including solid scrubs and scrubs with cleansing agents already incorporated.

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