Our skin is constantly exposed to daily irritants and environmental aggressors, from the build-up of dead skin cells, dirt, oil residue, weather changes, and even stress. All these factors work against and hinder our skin's natural radiance. Unfortunately, most skincare routines focus on restoring the glow in our faces, with skin cleansing solutions for the whole body- beyond body soap- getting fairly less traction.
Exfoliation is arguably the leading and best method of restoring the body's natural glow. This is where the tubs of sugar, salt or coffee grounds that promise smoother, brighter skin come into play. In this guide, we'll take you through how to use body scrub so that you can restore your glowing, supple and flawless skin.
So, What is a Body Scrub?
Body scrubs are mechanical exfoliants with thick yet spreadable particle-like textures, designed to physically remove dead skin cells from the skin's outer layer. The particles are typically abrasive ingredients such as sugar or salt. As much as the skin naturally sheds dead cells over time, using a body scrub helps to create softer-feeling more rapidly.
Using a body scrub stimulates skin cell turnover, bringing on smoother, brighter skin as well as potentially preventing future acne breakouts. Body scrubs also help prevent the emergence of ingrown hairs as the pores also get a thorough clean. This becomes particularly important if you shave frequently or wax since old skin cells can get trapped n the follicles where hair has been removed.
Using an exfoliating body scrub regularly helps make you feel your polished best, giving you a more even-looking and smooth-feeling stone. Exfoliation is a ravishing self-care ritual that creates a feeling of overall refreshment for the mind and body. But how did we get our hands on these soothing skin buffers?
The Origin of Body Scrubs
Ancient Egyptians, the perennial overachievers, are thought to be the first people to use body scrubs all those thousands of years ago. They used exfoliating body scrubs blended with perfumed oils to help keep their skins supple to counteract the dry desert heat. How about that for ingenuity?
And now it's time to scrub like an Egyptian, and maybe walk like one...
Types of Body Scrubs
Medical skin experts recommend using a gentle physical exfoliant with small soft particles, such as sea salt and sugar. Larger particles, like walnut and apricot, can cause micro-tears on the skin, leading to scarring, inflammation and infection. As such, it's also important to determine your skin type first before settling on your ideal body scrub.
a). Sugar Body Scrubs
Sugar-based scrubs are perhaps the most popular, and they mainly contain granulated sugar or brown sugar. These scrubs contain a sugar base with an oil or glycerin product to make the scrub paste-like. Sugar scrubs are a wonderful option for exfoliating, especially for people who prefer a much-less abrasive scrub.
b). Salt Body Scrubs
Salt-based scrubs are usually more popular with people who want a scrub that's more rejuvenating and vigorous. These scrubs can be blended using different grades of sea salt, depending on the level of purifier a particular skin can tolerate. Salt body scrubs are excellent for bringing toxins to the surface of the skin, hence also ideal for healing properties.
Adding essential oils to salt-based scrubs also brings with it soothing aromatherapy to the product. The scrubs can also be made to glow with some popular oils, like sesame or almond.
c). Coffee Body Scrubs
Coffee has recently become a popular additive in scrubs, thanks to its unique agents. For starters, it's a natural stimulant, making it great for cellulite-prone areas. More so, it's fairly easy to find coffee scrubs with vanilla, chocolate and other scents or oils that leave you feeling fully alive and well for an enjoyable experience every time you exfoliate.
d). Herbal Body Scrubs
Herbal scrubs offer numerous possibilities since there are several recipes to try out, depending on personal preferences. Orange peel and lavender flower are some of the more popular herbal scrub additives, each having a unique scent as well as a prime relaxing and healing agent.
e). Moisturizing Body Scrubs
Plenty of people suffer from dry skin, which can be an incredibly irritating problem. Moisturizing body scrubs are great for removing dead skin cells for people who lack moisture to any degree. The additive options are equally limitless, from oatmeal, ground almonds, aloe vera or aloe vera, and totally up to taste and preference.
How to Use Body Scrub Effectively
Using a body scrub is pretty straightforward and safe, as long as you follow the recommended steps. The following process should help you to restore your silky, soft and smooth skin:
- Soak your skin in warm water under the shower or in the bath. Warm temperature helps to open your pores as well as soften the surface of your skin.
- Put a dab of body scrub in your hand.
- Gently smear it on your skin in small circular motions. You can use your hand or an exfoliating glove.
- Scrub your skin gently for a maximum of 30 seconds.
- Rinse your skin generously with lukewarm water.
- Wash your skin using a regular cleanser.
- Shave, if necessary.
- Swab your skin dry.
- Apply your moisturizer.
How Frequently Should You Use a Body Scrub?
Using a body scrub shouldn't be an everyday thing. As much as the exfoliating ingredients are gentle, the process can be harsh on the skin when overdone. It's normally recommended to scrub two to three times a week, depending on your own skin's needs.
Like any other good skincare routine, exfoliating yields the best results when you're mindful of your body's changing needs, hence tailoring your products accordingly. For instance, if you have oily, blemish-prone skin, you might need to exfoliate a bit more regularly; if you have drier skin, you'll probably need to exfoliate less often.
All in all, your body skin is normally much less sensitive than on the face, so you can probably afford to step up things a notch.
What Are the Benefits of Using Body Scrubs?
1. Smooth Skin
An exfoliating body scrub clears away dry and dead skin cells, in return leaving your skin refreshed, brightened, soft and smooth. These body scrubs are so effective that they can also smooth out some of the annoying dry spots as well, like knees and elbows. The key is always to moisturize after exfoliating to lock in all the soothing ingredients in the body scrub and reap all the skin-smoothing benefits.
2. Moisturizer Booster
Most beauty experts agree that applying dry body oil or body lotion after exfoliation speeds up the effects of moisturizing. Exfoliating works to remove dead skin cells from the body, which enables the skin to absorb lotions and oils more readily and fluently.
An exfoliating body is equally a great addition to an acne-fighting regimen. Most body scrubs contain ingredients that can help prevent breakouts by minimizing pores. More so, exfoliating with a body scrub also helps to apply a self-tanner to your skin, helping you achieve a glow without the streaks.
3. Razor Bump Skin Relief
Understanding how to use body scrubs before and after shaving is normally an effective way to calm and clear the typically frustrating razor bumps. In addition, exfoliating body scrubs, particularly containing soothing ingredients, can help prevent the stinging feeling that often comes with shaving.
The skin-clearing benefits extend even further. Body scrubs also work to get rid of rugged calluses, help with the appearance of dark spots and even go as far as taming the devilish ingrown hairs after shaving or waxing. They achieve this by pushing the hairs up and out instead of allowing them to curl under hardened skin.
4. Long-Lasting Fragrance
Beyond the amazing skin-clearing benefits, the body-scrub experience also includes indulging in delicious fragrances. In fact, it's much easier to bask in fragrant heavens with body scrubs since scents tend to last longer on exfoliated skin. A longer-lasting fragrance, particularly if obtained from natural oils, can help soothe and relax the body and mind.
5. Decompressing & Destressing
Healthy skin has both external and internal benefits. Exfoliating your skin will more than likely leaving you feeling rejuvenated and invigorated. The tiny exfoliant beads and particles give the body a gentle and soothing massage, one that it usually requires to cast off stressful buildup, both inside and outside.
Cautions with Body Scrubs
Despite all the amazing benefits of using exfoliating body wash, there are a few exceptions to keep in mind:
a). Retinol or Benzoyl Peroxide
Mechanical exfoliants can cause the skin of people using prescription retinoid creams or products containing benzoyl peroxide or retinol to become more sensitive or more prone to peeling.
b). Skin Conditions or Injuries
People experiencing the following should avoid exfoliating skin unless under medical guidance:
- Active acne
- Skin infection
- Open wounds
People with dark spots on their skin, common after bug bites or burns, should avoid harsh scrubs as they can aggravate hyperpigmentation.
d). Sensitive Skin
People with sensitive skin should preferably use fragrance-free formulas, and spot-test to see how the product reacts with their skin first.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Body Scrubs?
1. What is the best way to use a body scrub? -Thymes
Ideally, you should use a body scrub in the bath or shower. It's pretty important to ensure your body is thoroughly wet and softened with warm or lukewarm water to avoid damaging your skin. Remember that overly hot water can conversely dry your skin.
2. Should I always apply body lotion after using a body scrub?
Applying a hydrating body lotion is generally the recommended after-scrub product since it helps seal moisture in your skin. Any product applied on your skin after a scrub is absorbed more rapidly, leaving you with clearer and softer skin.
3. Is it best to use a body scrub before or after shaving?
It's always recommended to use a body scrub before shaving to avoid the stinging sensation associated with irritated skin. As always, use a moisturizing body lotion after shaving to soothe the skin.