Dry, flaky, or oily skin is a major bummer. And while you can find a rejuvenating treatment at the spa, you can also score smooth skin in the shower with a sugar scrub. Applying one properly (and frequently) can help exfoliate your body and remove dead skin cells, leaving skin silky soft.

EditChoosing a Sugar Scrub

  1. Look for a scrub with fine particles. A coarse sugar scrub can irritate and even tear sensitive skin. Smaller sugar granules are gentler and less abrasive.

    • Brown sugar is one of the softest sugars and works well on your face and body.[1]
    • Turbinado sugar (also known as raw sugar) tends to have larger particles so if you see it as an ingredient, be aware that itís a rougher scrub.[2]

  2. Pick a hydrating scrub if you have very dry skin. While sugar is naturally a humectant (meaning it locks in moisture), some scrubs are more moisturizing than others.[3] Choose one with skin-replenishing ingredients like hyaluronic acid, coconut or avocado oil, glycerin, or essential oils if your skin is prone to dehydration.
  3. Select a scent based on aromatherapy properties. Look for scrubs that include essential oils to match your needs. For example, if you're stressed out, a lavender scent is calming. And if you're feeling fatigued, lemon or peppermint scents are energizing.[4]

    • Other popular aromatherapy scents include eucalyptus for clearing your sinuses, patchouli for soothing anxiety, and rosemary for increasing concentration.[5]

  4. Make your own sugar scrub if you're on a budget. Using basic ingredients from your pantry like olive oil, honey, and brown sugar, you can DIY a sugar scrub at home.

    • Whipping up your own sugar scrub means you can control exactly what goes in it, thus avoiding any chemicals or additives that could be harmful to you or the environment.

EditApplying the Sugar Scrub

  1. Wet your skin. Warm water will soften your skin and prepare it for exfoliation. A good rule of thumb is to soak in the tub or stand under the shower for 5 to 10 minutes before you begin scrubbing.

    • Water thatís too hot can dry out your skin. The optimal temperature for your skin is a lukewarm temperature below (if your skin is turning red, itís too hot!).[6]
    • If youíre going to shave your legs, do so before using the sugar scrub to avoid stinging and irritation.
    • Wash your skin before you scrub to remove sweat, dirt, and makeup. Otherwise scrubbing could push it further into the skin.

  2. Massage the scrub into your skin. With gentle pressure, rub the sugar scrub into your skin in a circular motion using the pads of your fingers. This not only sloughs off dead skin, it also boosts circulation and stimulates the production of collagen in your body, a protein that helps fight wrinkles and keeps skin looking young.[7]

    • Start at the top of your body and work down.
    • Be careful not to scrub too vigorously as it could damage your skin.

  3. Rinse with warm water. Thereís no need to use shower gel or soap following your scrub. For extra hydration and smoother skin, let the scrub sit on your body for a couple of minutes before rinsing thoroughly.
  4. Dry off. Gently use a towel to pat your body completely dry.
  5. Finish with lotion or body oil. Once youíre dry, apply lotion or body oil to moisturize your newly exfoliated skin. Do this immediately after drying off while your pores are still open and able to absorb the moisturizer easier and faster.[8]

    • Have a jar or extra virgin coconut oil laying around? It can double as a cheap yet effective moisturizer thanks to its high level of saturated fats. Only use it if you arenít prone to breaking out.[9]
    • Always apply sunscreen after exfoliating as your skin is more vulnerable. Use one that's SPF 30 or higher and has broad-spectrum protection.[10]

  6. Repeat once or twice a week. Sugar scrubs shouldnít be part of your daily beauty routine. Over-exfoliating can irritate your skin so aim to use a sugar scrub no more than three times per week at most.[11]

    • Donít use a sugar scrub on skin thatís sunburned or highly sensitive. You should also avoid it after any type of medical or cosmetic surgery or after a chemical peel - in both instances, your body is trying to recover from what is essentially a trauma and any harsh scrubbing could prevent proper healing.[12]

EditSources and Citations

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