Facial Scrub Choices
Exfoliating with a quality facial scrub is essential for maintaining healthy skin. But with so many scrubs to choose from – which one is best for your skin?
Did you know that microbeads (made from petroleum-based polypropylene balls) in many manufactured scrubs are slowly being phased out? That’s because, while they are safe for our skin, microbeads are detrimental to marine life once they are drained away from our homes into lakes, rivers and oceans. In fact, the problem is so bad that many States are banning microbeads and manufacturers have agreed to phase them out. So now, it’s back to natural sources for face scrubs – here is what you should know about natural choices:
Sugar is an excellent ingredient for exfoliating the skin for a number of reasons. First, it’s a natural alpha hydroxy acid (AHA), a form of glycolic acid that breaks down and dissolves dead skin cells and promotes cellular turnover for a younger, healthier skin. Second, sugar is a natural humectant (meaning it draws moisture to the skin) leaving it soft and hydrated. Finally, sugar’s abrasive qualities are more gentle than many other natural exfoliating agent such as salt granules. Brown sugar scrubs are perfect for those with sensitive skin since it is softer than raw sugar which is naturally course and is more suited for the body than the face.
Make your own Sugar Scrub: You can easily make your own sugar scrub. You need 1 teaspoon of brown sugar, ½ teaspoon of honey and a few drops of fresh lemon juice. This easy scrub has powerful antioxidant and antimicrobial properties, and the lemon clarifies the skin.
Salt has hard edges and a course texture. As an exfoliant it not only removes dead skin cells, it is an anti-bacterial and stimulates blood circulation, making this ingredient ideal for those with acne-prone skin. Salt also contains important minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium for skin cell renewal and for reducing the signs of aging.
There are many types of salt, but many people prefer Sea Salt or Himalayan Pink Salt for their abundant mineral content.
Make your own Salt Scrub: Create a simple salt scrub by combining 1 cup of fine salt (your choice) and ¼ cup of olive oil or coconut oil. Add more salt if you prefer a drier mixture. This recipe can be stored in a glass jar and used over time – it will last 6 months if stored in a cool place.
The hardiness of grape seeds, walnut shells and apricot pits make these effective exfoliants for the skin. Seeds and shells do not soften in the product or break down over time. However, these are often considered too harsh for the face since they can leave microscopic scratches in the delicate skin – unless they are created with a fine powder formula. Because of the trend to more natural exfoliating agents, manufacturers are using more refined seed and shell powders – just be sure to test it on your own skin. Use a gentle touch when you wash and let the ingredient do the buffing.
Make Your own Seed or Shell Scrub: If you don’t want to use finely ground walnut shells, use the actually fruit of the walnut instead. These are packed with beta-carotene, Vitamin E, and a huge dose of alpha-linolenic acid (for soft, supple, smooth skin). Just mix 1 tablespoon of ground walnuts with ½ tablespoon of plain yoghurt and 1 tablespoon of honey.
Ground Coffee Scrubs
Coffee grinds make a good exfoliant, but it is a powerhouse when it comes to delivering antioxidants to prevent aging, reducing swelling and inflammation and diminishing puffiness. That’s because caffeine acts as a vasodilator – meaning it they constrict tiny blood vessels making this one of the skincare industry’s most popular ingredient.
Make your own Coffee Scrub: Simply mix 1 tablespoon of finely ground coffee with 1 tablespoon of olive oil or water. You can use the wet coffee grounds from your morning brew if you like. If you use the olive oil – no need to moisturize after since the oil will do the job for you.
Oatmeal scrubs are gentle and healing. A favorite with those who have inflamed skin, rashes or swelling. Ground oatmeal makes a wonder exfoliant. It also gently removes dirt and impurities to decongest pores. Oatmeal scrubs can be ideal for the body too – especially after a day in the sun to soothe and hydrate the skin.
Make your own Oatmeal Scrub: For a face scrub, mix 1 tablespoon of ground oatmeal with ¼ teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of water or olive oil.
Baking Soda Scrubs
By far the simplest, and most gentle, way to exfoliate the skin and keep it healthy. This handy ingredient not only polishes the skin, it helps clear acne-prone skin too. The texture of baking soda is perfect for exfoliating the face without damaging the skin. You can add a teaspoon of baking soda to your cleanser for daily exfoliation or make a simple baking soda scrub of your own.
Make Your own Baking Soda Scrub: For a very basic scrub, just mix 1 teaspoon of baking soda with a few drops of water and gently exfoliate for 5 minutes. Or add baking soda as a base scrub ingredient to any of your favorite oils, enzymes or ingredients (like yoghurt and honey) to make a nourishing, healing or stimulating scrub.