using body scrubs

Step-by-step Guide to Using Body Scrubs for Better Skin

Using body scrubs seems like no rocket science, and it isn’t, but that doesn’t mean we all know how to use them. However, one thing is for sure: we all love that fresh sensation of our newly exfoliated body after a shower. Especially if we used a body scrub infused with exceptional ingredients like lavender or citrus fruits. Your skin gets extra smooth and refreshed – what can be better, right?

In order for the whole experience to fully benefit you, there are some things you should know before using body scrubs. So, today, we are digging deep into how to use body scrubs and tell you all about it. 

First off, what is a body scrub?

Simply put, a scrub refers to a physical exfoliant. Physical exfoliation is one of the ways of exfoliating the skin, along with chemical exfoliation.

Usually, this would involve a scrub with particles such as sea salt, sugar, coffee grounds, or fruit pits (which should never be used on your face, but more on that later). They can be oil, water, or gel-based and you can find basically any scrub formula very easily.

So, what are the body scrub benefits?

Dermatologically speaking, the upper layer of your skin doesn’t always get the chance to shed dead cells in time, and this makes your skin look dull. But when you are having an exfoliation session, (with the scrub, yes) the renewed skin becomes velvety and radiant. And let’s be honest here, it does feel amazing.

When using body scrubs, you make sure you physically remove all the dead skin cells which help you achieve that glowy finish.

It also makes the skin super soft which can make you get addicted, so, beware 🙂

Here are the main body scrub benefits:

  • They free the skin from a layer of dead cells;
  • Scrubs stimulate blood circulation in the capillaries;
  • Plus, they provide tissue saturation with oxygen;
  • They also improve the skin’s ability to absorb other products better

Some other benefits of using body scrubs include:

  • evening out skin texture;
  • nourishing and moisturizing;
  • preparing the skin for the application of the cream, thereby increasing its effectiveness.

What are the main ingredients of a body scrub?

how to use body scrubs
Image by Monfocus from Pixabay

In general, the main working component of any scrub is abrasive particles. Most often, body scrubs contain abrasives of natural or synthetic origin such as crushed seeds of apricot, almond, kiwi, cranberries, or crystals of sugar and sea salt for example.

Some natural agents (oats, sugar) have a moisturizing effect, while some (coffee for example) are skin stimulators. You will find more gentle peeling formulas can be based on acids or enzymes. 

Just like containing different exfoliating agents, body scrubs differ in terms of their consistency – you have scrubs in gel, cream, oil, or clay forms. 

In addition, the formula of a good body scrub includes caring components, such as:

  • oils, vitamins, minerals;
  • plant extracts;
  • lipids;
  • active substances (caffeine, adenosine).

How do body scrubs really work? 

Whether you use a face scrub or body scrub, the main job of scrub is removing the top layer of dead skin cells, hence stimulating healthy skin cell turnover.

As a result of using body scrubs, you get brighter, younger, healthier skin. And that’s what exactly what body scrubs are made for.

What kind of body scrubs are out there?

using body scrubs

Cleansing body scrubs 

Any scrub does the cleansing, as it removes impurities, excess sebum, and dead cells from the skin. Formulations that focus on cleansing properties use a foaming base, sometimes with the addition of acids and a small dose of oils

Skin tightening body scrubs 

These scrubs will not exactly tighten the skin, but they can create conditions for ultimate care. Usually, they add caffeine to these scrubs. You might have heard how using body scrubs with caffeine reduced someone’s cellulite. While it doesn’t do much for cellulite, it stimulates blood circulation.

It is recommended to combine scrubbing with massage moves – that is, apply it with active circular movements.

Moisturizing body scrubs 

This is a scrub for all skin types. Usually, it is mixed with oils, and the granules are small and not coarse, gently massaging the skin. These body scrubs are able to add a moisture boost to your skin. Of course, actually using a body lotion or a body moisturizer will yield even better skin results.

How to use body scrubs? Step by step routine:

using body scrubs

#1. Step: Prep your skin, cleanse!

You have to cleanse your skin properly before putting on the body scrub. If you are in the shower, use your body cleanser of a body wash to get rid of all the dirt, sweat, and tears accumulated throughout the day.

And remember, lukewarm water is your friend, hot water will strip the natural oils off your skin. Cleansing your skin will lay the foundation for the next steps.

#2. Step: Apply the body scrub

After you have prepped your skin, it is time for the star of the show! Apply the scrub with your hands or a bath mitten, rising from feet to shoulders in a circular motion. Work your way up from down your toes and feet.

Don’t be aggressive with it and never rub your skin too much. Because new flash – it is not going to make it more effective, you are only going to end up with irritated skin. With light pressure, go over the problem areas with coarse skin (heels, elbows, knees) and cellulite areas (thighs, buttocks).

#3. Step: Rinse off the scrub

Once you got the scrubs all over your body, it is time for it to work its magic. Make sure you get all scrub particles washed up, so you won’t up with any leftover particles or something.

#4. Moisturize and moisturize!

Your skincare routine for the face ends up with moisturizing, so does your body routine. Pat dry your skin with a towel, then apply moisturizer or milk. A body lotion with hydrating ingredients like shea butter, jojoba oil, or aloe vera would be amazing.

One of the best drugstore options is of course Cerave Daily Moisturizing Body and Face Lotion with Hyaluronic Acid formulated with hyaluronic acid and three essential ceramides.

More on ceramides: Ceramides for Skin: The 5 Essential Benefits

How to choose a body scrub that is right for you?

The rule of thumb is the denser and rougher the skin, the larger the abrasive particles can be.

If you have normal to oily skin, using body scrubs with gel textures and clay will work for you. 

For thin dry skin – oil scrubs with small abrasives. After that, it is up to you to apply a cream. But some hydration party never killed anybody.

If you have sensitive skin prone to allergic reactions, exfoliants with smooth synthetic granules, plant enzymes, or pieces of loofah are suitable. However, I am a strict believer in NO physical exfoliants for sensitive skin. They can be harsh on sensitive skin and it is the last thing that sensitive skin needs.

Opt for gentle body cleansers if you experience any irritation on your skin after using a body scrub. Consult with your doctor if needed. Sensitive skin is very prone to reactions, (duh) so make sure to do the groundwork.

How often should you use a body scrub?

Use body scrub once a week, as overusing it can break the hydrolipidic barrier of the skin – the main shield that protects your skin from the outside environment.

Using body scrubs once a week would be the safest option. If you have sensitive skin, do a patch test on your skin first to see how it reacts.

On the other hand, if you have oily skin, you can start using it twice a week and see how it goes. Remember to always listen to your body, just do what works for you. 

FAQ: Can you use body scrub on your face?

how to use body scrubs
Image by Masha Belinson from Pixabay

The short answer is – NO. Facial scrubs are not suitable for the skin of the body – they are too delicate. At the same time, exfoliants intended for the body cannot be used on the face – it can be too harsh for delicate skin. It is no secret that these particles can lead to micro-injuries (microtears) in the skin.

There was an apricot scrub phase people were obsessed with. Yes, it is The St. Ives Apricot Fresh Skin Scrub I am talking about. I wouldn’t even wish that on my worst enemy!

when it comes to the skin on the face, go with chemical exfoliation (AHAs and BHAs) since scrubs can be harsh on the face.

FAQ: Homemade DIY scrubs: Are they worth it? 

The internet is filled with DIY recipes to make the quickest scrubs. While I completely understand the appeal that it’s easier to put things together and make your own scrub, most homemade DIY masks/recipes are not very effective.

Because they are not made in professional labs, unlike the skincare products that are tested before we use them. So, there are certain risks that come with them. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t make your own, but be aware of what might or might not work.

If you have made your own basic body scrub by mixing coffee grounds and coconut oil, and it works for you – who am I to judge? Just make sure to use it once a week or so. 

FAQ: Are there any side effects to using body scrubs?

Yes, as mentioned before, if not made with gentle ingredients, scrubs can be very rough on the skin. In case you have super sensitive skin, you gotta be very careful.

Stop using body scrubs if you experience the following:

  • a rash, burn, or irritation;
  • blood vessels get too close to the surface of the skin;
  • if you are going to get hair removal or sunbathed for a while.

Final thoughts: Always listen to your skin while using body scrubs

A friend of mine asked me the other day – Why is there controversy around using scrubs? The truth is – some particles in certain scrubs such as sugar, sand, walnuts, apricot kernels can scratch your skin and do more harm than good, especially if you have thin, sensitive skin.

It’s good to limit the use of scrubs or just use it on your body only if you love soft skin after a relaxing shower followed by a moisturizing routine. The body scrub benefits do outnumber its side effects.

For some people, it is safer to opt for chemical exfoliants,(and no, don’t be intimidated by the word “chemical”) however, at the end of the day you decide what is best for you and your skin.