Handmade cosmetic ingredients - coconut and shea tree butter, olive oil, round coffee and sugar. Organic scrub and body cream. Toned picture
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Salt Or Sugar Scrubs: When To Use Which

Want smooth, glowing skin? Your answer is to use a regular exfoliator. That way, you’ll be scrubbing off dead skin cells, unclogging pores, promoting quicker cell turnover, helping skin absorb moisture and nutrients, buffing skin and balancing out the skin’s oil production. Exfoliation can truly do it all.

And the great news with exfoliation is that there are plenty of cheap, easy and all-natural solutions. The most popular option is to use salt or sugar scrubs. But what’s the difference between the two, and when do you use which? The best way to know is to look at the pros and cons of each.

Salt Scrub Pros

Salt scrubs in general are more abrasive, meaning they’re great for buffing stubbornly dry and calloused skin. They also offer beneficial minerals for the skin, like magnesium, which can promote circulation and detoxify. Sea salts in many scrubs can also rid the body of toxins and purify the pores. Salt is a natural purifier and antiseptic in general.

Salt Scrub Cons

One of the pros to salt scrubs is also one of the cons: the high level of abrasion. This means that salts scrubs are best used on calloused areas like feet and elbows. Salt scrubs can also be very drying, so it’s not recommended for dry skin types, and you’ll need to use a moisturizer afterwards. Plus, if you have a cut, you’ll be in for some pain. And since they are so harsh, it’s recommended you use them only once a week.

Sugar Scrub Pros

Sugar scrubs are much more gentle, since they consist of a smaller, softer granule. They’re wonderful for sensitive skin, and work great for exfoliation on the face. They are far less drying, and when combined with enough olive or coconut oil to form a paste, they are a great option for dry skin. Sugar also acts as a mild chemical peel, thanks to the glycolic acid it contains.

You can also find commercial sugar scrubs in fine, medium and coarse consistencies for differing skin types, making it a more versatile option. If you’re making a natural product at home, opt for brown sugar for the softest granule if you have sensitive skin.

Sugar Scrub Cons

One of the biggest cons of sugar scrubs is that most do not have the mineralizing benefits of a salt scrub, though unrefined sugar cane scrubs pack many of those same nutrients back in.

You’ll also need to be careful in selecting and experimenting with sugar scrubs. Many sugar scrubs come labeled as body scrubs, for instance, and using them on the face will be too harsh. You may also end up experimenting with medium to fine sugar scrubs to see which agrees better with your skin type. Plus, if you’re dealing with some seriously calloused skin, your best bet is the salt scrubs.

Michelle Lovrine Honeyager is a freelance writer living in Southeastern Wisconsin. You can find out more about her at https://www.clippings.me/michellelovrine.