By Suki Kramer
Founder of Suki Skin Care
Exfoliation should be a part of every skincare regimen. If you’ve never done it (with the right exfoliate, one that actually does something – not the usual cream with a few seeds or synthetic molecules thrown in to the mix but a real scrub), you will be amazed at how effective this product is for unclogging pores, promoting healthy, speedy turnover of skin cells, balancing our oil production, purifying the pores of toxins and dirt and smoothing skin tone, creating a radiant, fresh overall look and feel.
My scrub is one of my “can’t live without products.” Both salt and sugar scrubs are different forms of exfoliation—sloughing off dead skin cells to allow the skin underneath to become hydrated and rejuvenated. Combined with pure natural ingredients like lavender, rosemary, orange peels, lemon, ginger and herb blends, these scrubs are invigorating, spirit-lifting experiences. While the natural granules of both sugar and salt make excellent body scrubs, which type to use depends on different skin conditions and characteristics. Here’s a quick rundown of when it’s best to each use scrub:
Salt scrubs are generally more abrasive because of their sharper edges and, therefore, do a better job at smoothing the rough skin of the body. What really separates salt scrubs from sugar scrubs is that they offer therapeutic, mineralization benefits. Most salt scrubs use sea salts, which are natural purifiers that remove the toxins that block the pores of the skin. It helps the skin breath easier, promotes better circulation, tightens the skin and improves skin texture. There are many sea salts used in scrubs including Himalayan, Mediterranean, Hawaiian and Dead Sea Salts from Israel. These various salts have different trace minerals, which include calcium, magnesium, potassium, copper and iron. The minerals help to promote circulation, reduce the inflammatory response, and act as a detoxifying agent and general muscle relaxant
Coarse salt scrubs are good for removing dead skin like on your feet and elbows, and are the ideal treatment for skin detoxification. Since the salt granules work a little harder than the gentler sugar scrubs, salt scrubs are a good choice for where skin can get especially dry and calloused. However, balance is important, so after any salt scrub has been applied and washed off, apply a rich, moisturizing body butter, oil or cream to replenish the skin’s moisture. While salt scrubs are wonderful, they are abrasive, and they are not meant for daily use—once a week is all I would recommend unless you are putting that salt in your bath, where the detoxification properties would work really well internally too! Of course, salt scrubs should not be used on irritated or cut skin because of sea salt’s stinging properties.
Sugar scrubs are gentler than salt scrubs because the granule is round and therefore doesn’t have any ability to “cut” the skin. It’s a far better choice for sensitive skin types and the only choice for the face. Sugar granules dissolve more easily in hot water, and they are less abrasive than salt scrubs. While sugar scrubs don’t have the mineral benefits of salt scrubs, they are less drying, and many natural scrubs now use natural sugars which contain the nutritive properties of sugar cane. Because of the smaller, finer granules, sugar scrubs make a gentle exfoliant that is suitable for next to all skin types and conditions. The glycolic acid content of sugar is another plus, helping to protect skin against harmful toxins. Vital for the maintenance of healthy skin, this acid works to both condition and moisturize. Even for seriously rough and dry skin, sugar scrubs are great because sugar sizes come in fine, medium and course. But choose your scrubs wisely. Do not use a body scrub on your face – it’s too rough. Sugar also has the benefit of melting as you use it, from the heat of your skin, so you can customize the product based on your personal skin type and need. For all these reasons, sugar is my personal favorite as scrub hero!
Whether one chooses a salt or sugar scrub, used regularly, the skin will become much healthier in function and appearance—better circulation and with a more even skin tone. Once dead skin cells are removed, the largest organ of the body works more effectively to remove toxins and absorb nourishment. Best of all, because both are pure products, there are few, if any side effects, so the natural glow is exactly that… natural!
About the Author
Suki Kramer is the founder, president and formulator of suki, inc. skin care as well as a skin care expert for assorted media.