Aaaaahhh...a classic favorite query. Salty or Sweet. In my last blog, I expressed the importance of exfoliation to your skin goals. There are many different ways to exfoliate between mechanical or chemical but today I would like to focus on the more natural side of things. I'm sure you've been to a store or 200 with all different exfoliators and have slowly made your way over to the organic/natural section. You picked up a jar or bottle, read the ingredients and either purchased one or got overwhelmed, put it down and ran for the hills. Only to find yourself wandering into said aisle to, once again, give it a go. Do you really want to smell like a lemon or more like a lilac? Is this edible? Why are there 50 different types of salt scrubs and what is the difference? Sugar? Will I be sticky after this? What is the point of a shower or bath just to come out sticky? I just left the gym, why would I want to wash off salty sweat to just add more salt? So let's breakdown what the difference is and clarify the ever battle of Salt vs. Sweet.
Salt scrubs. They are most commonly used for sloughing off dead skin in the rougher parts of the body. Elbows, knees, bottoms of your feet and so on. Salt scrubs are commonly combined with natural ingredients or oils such as: lemon oil, orange peel, lavender, rosemary, etc. Salt scrubs particularly have more of a therapeutic benefit as opposed to sugar because of it's mineralization benefits. Sea salt is a common salt scrub which is a natural purifier that actually removes toxins that block pores. Salt scrubs help the skin breathe easier, increase circulation and improve the skin's texture. However, salt scrubs are more abrasive than sugar scrubs so they should only be used once a week (unless being used in a bath). Using salt scrubs will have a drying effect (think slugs and salt), so you want to make sure to use a rich, moisturizing body butter, oil or cream after. Also, there's this thing call a salt glow. Ever admired that perfect tan on an island body strutting down the shore? That. Is. The. Salt. Glow.
Sugar scrubs. These can be used on sensitive skin and all over the body. Sugar granules are round so they are not as abrasive as salt scrubs. This is the ONLY type of scrub that can be used on the face. Sugar scrubs lack in the mineral benefits that salt provide, but they are less drying and a natural humectant thanks to the glycolic acid content. Humectant? Glad you asked. A natural humectant just means that sugar actually draws moisture from the environment and draws it into your skin. Glycolic acid both conditions and moisturizes while protecting against harmful toxins. Sugar comes in three different forms: Fine, medium and course. Sugar melts from the heat of your skin so it easy to customize what size granule to use according to YOUR skin's needs. Sugar scrubs can be done twice a week and ESPECIALLY in the colder, more drying months. Why? Well using sugar scrubs when the weather has become a frigid, drying land of the chapped lips and pure ashy skin; this will exfoliate the top layer to help your moisturizers penetrate deeper and hydrate longer.
So what conclusion did we come to? Sugar is better for sensitive skin types and it's important to know what size granule you're using to determine if it's soft enough on your face. Sugar scrubs can be used all over the body but raw sugar exfoliators should only be used from the neck down. Brown sugar or something similar would be the best for facial use. Salt has minerals and therapeutic benefits but can be drying and abrasive so make sure to follow up with a great moisturizer and don't use too frequently. Too much of a good thing will backfire. A simple patch test can determine what your skin likes and doesn't like. So try it out and let me know some of your favorites!