Body Scrubs: Rub It, Don't Snub It

A healthy, all-over glow starts with a scrub in the shower once a week. Your skin will look radiant if you routinely exfoliate away the dull, dead cells that build up on its surface. But there are all types of scrubs … which do you choose?

Scrubs and other spa therapies have moved from the spa to the cosmetic counter and drugstore. There are a huge variety to select from, so why not use different ones depending on your mood? Sugar, sea salt, almond, corn, hazelnut or other nuts and grains form the basis of the scrub. Many scrubs contain aromatic essential oils, each with a different purpose and scent. Geranium is great for tightening and toning the skin, chamomile is calming for sensitive skin, sage soaks up oily skin and eucalyptus does some serious sinus-clearing. If your scrub contains essential oils, leave the scrub on your skin for 5 minutes so that the oils can penetrate your skin and work their magic. Scrubs should not be used on very sensitive skin, if you are sunburned or have abrasions.

Pineapple is sometimes added to the scrub, as its enzymes help to break down and remove dead skin cells. If a self-heating scrub sounds heavenly to you, choose a scrub made with zeolites. Kaolin, or China clay can be added to scrubs to absorb excess oils and are a great choice if your skin tends toward the oily. If you need a greater softening effect, opt for a scrub with beeswax, jojoba, honey or glycerin.

Cleanse your body as usual before the scrub but hold off on any shaving that day, as some scrubs can irritate just-shaved skin. Start with about two tablespoons of the scrub and rub it gently over your skin in a circular motion, working up from the feet and legs to your body and arms. Some people prefer to use a loofah, using upward strokes and working toward the heart. Others are using the newer microdermabrasion body massagers. Whether you use your hands, a loofah or a massager, don’t hesitate to use more of your favorite scrub, especially over the particularly dry skin on your heels and elbows. Be sure to rinse and wipe away all of the scrub when you are finished. A rich body lotion or oil afterward moisturizes your newly exfoliated skin and will make your new soft, supple skin glow.

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