The health benefits of an exfoliating body scrub are astounding. Your skin will glow, and you will feel amazing no matter which natural scrubs you use.
Sugar scrubs are gentle, soothing, moisturizing and easy to make.
Choose a base oil (start with half a cup), add sugar to the desired consistency, and then add your favorite essential oil such as lavender, rose, rosemary, bergamot or chamomile. These oils are gentle, mild and soothing to the skin.
For an easy DIY scrub, try making the following chocolate sugar scrub at home:
Mix together half a cup of white sugar, half a cup of brown sugar, half a cup of coconut oil or any unscented base oil such as jojoba, olive, almond or grapeseed, 1 tablespoon cocoa powder and 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract.
Rub this mixture on your skin by using steady, rhythmic strokes. When done, rinse it off in the shower.
The sugars and coconut oil create an exfoliating body scrub for your skin while the cocoa powder adds rich antioxidants, called polyphenols, that help repair damaged skin, absorb UV light, improve blood flow and helps the skin stay hydrated.
You can apply this scrub to your face and lips, too.
Salt scrubs are rougher than sugar scrubs, which make them more exfoliating and allows them to get rid of dead skin cells more effectively.
You can make a salt scrub by combining half a cup of sea salt (evaporated seawater that contains no processed chemicals) with half a cup of base oil. You can then add 10 drops of an essential oil, such as grapefruit, orange or lemon.
These oils create an invigorating, tingly effect on the skin and contain anti-bacterial capabilities that can protect us during the harsh winter months and cold and flu season.
Do a skin test first because harsher scrubs may not be good for fair or sensitive skin types. To do this, apply a small amount of the scrub to the skin, and wait to see if any reddening, swelling or uncomfortable burning sensations occur.
Create an exfoliating body scrub by combining three-fourths cup of coconut oil or another base oil, half a cup of sugar, half a cup of Epsom salt, 10 drops of your favorite essential oil and 2 tablespoons of raw honey.
The Epsom salts detoxify the body and also contain magnesium, which is an essential nutrient for the body. A lack of magnesium can cause sore muscles, insomnia and other health problems.
To intensify or enhance the effects of natural scrubs, try dry brushing first.
Dry brushing is easy and rejuvenating. Using a dry brush, make brisk, upward strokes toward the heart.
Body brushes come in various shapes and textures.
Try a small one with a band that fits around your hand to dry brush your skin, or use one with a long handle for self-care that makes it easier to reach those hard-to-reach places on your back.
The bristles come in soft, medium and brisk textures, so you can choose how gentle or rough you want the brush to feel against your skin.
Don’t forget to scrub your face. Face scrubs are a great way to cleanse the skin from makeup or harsh chemicals. A face scrub also improves lymph and blood flow.
Although dry brushing is too rough for the face, there are specific brushes you can use.
Try this facial scrub: mix together half a cup of base oil, 2 tablespoons of sugar and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice.
Wash your face thoroughly.
Apply the scrub to your face and neck with smooth facial pad, facial scrub brush or your fingers, using gentle circular motions for 60 seconds.
Then, remove with a washcloth.
To finish, apply your favorite moisturizer or facial mask to further nourish your skin.
Natural Scrubs: Feet & Hands
Another method is to soak your hands in a large bowl, apply a scrub to your hands, rub them together, then apply scrub to each forearm before removing with hot compresses.
Now, you’re ready to apply paraffin wax, hand lotion or give yourself a manicure.
You can also give yourself a foot scrub.
Begin by soaking your feet in hot water for about 15 minutes.
Then apply scrub to feet and calves using effleurage and friction strokes.
Now apply paraffin, a soothing foot cream or give yourself a pedicure
If you’re in the mood for company, have a spa party.
In a group setting, it’s easy to give each other manicures, pedicures, massages and scrubs and paraffin treatments without one person doing all the work.
Everyone gives and receives.
Natural scrubs provide great ways to improve your skin and give yourself a quick pick-me-up.
So, whether you’re in the mood for company or just a quiet evening at home alone, relax and treat yourself to a much-needed break.
Vicki Sutherland, L.M.T. is a graduate of Tennessee School of Massage. She maintains massage practices in Tennessee and Mississippi. She specializes in Swedish, deep tissue, acupressure, cupping therapy and other various spa modalities. Teaching is her passion and she currently teaches National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork-approved courses in sports massage and stretching, acupressure, cupping therapy, reflexology, hot stone therapy, aromatherapy and hydrotherapy.