Body scrubs can mean one of three things: a spa treatment; an at-home treatment; or the product you use to do the body scrub.
Body scrubs are one of the most under-appreciated spa treatments, especially if a Vichy shower is involved. When else do you get to take a shower lying down? Though not as thorough, body scrubs are easy to do yourself at home and have a number of benefits. It is like a facial for your body, exfoliating your skin and keeping it smooth.
It also stimulates your blood circulation and feels great!
You can buy a body scrub for anywhere from $5-$40, or easily make your own all-natural body scrub for a fraction of the cost. No matter which way you go, body scrubs have these three ingredients:
- An exfoliant. This is the abrasive material like salt, sugar, rice bran, jojoba beads, apricot kernels, coffee grounds, oatmeal etc. that rubs away the dead skin cells on the surface, revealing the softer, younger cells just below.
- Oil. This holds the mixture together. More expensive body scrubs usually have more expensive oils like macadamia oil, kukui nut oil and sweet almond oil.
- Fragrance. Ideally, the fragrance comes from high-quality essential oils or from natural ingredients like ginger, honey and spices. These will be found in more expensive body scrubs (or the ones you make yourself. Budget body scrubs will have synthetic fragrances and other synthetic ingredients.
The price of body scrubs is determined by the quality of the ingredients (high-quality and green vs. lower quality and synthetic), the brand identity (high-end or budget) and where it's sold (spa or specialty store vs. drug store.)
Body scrubs might also have skin-nourishing ingredients and chemical exfoliants like alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) to dissolve the intra-cellular "glue" that holds cells together.
For instance, B. Kamins, Chemist Maple Sugar Body Scrub is a high-end scrub enriched with proprietary Bio-Maple Sugar, which has natural antioxidants and AHA acids. That can send the price even higher.
Body scrubs at the spa are more thorough and tend to leave your skin softer because the therapist works longer and gets into areas you can't reach easily, like the middle of your back. The therapist might use special equipment like a Vichy shower to rinse you off.
Body scrubs at the spa are usually combined with an application of lotion or short massage, which is relaxing. You can get a body scrub at the spa every once in a while, and maintain at home.
When Not to Use a Body Scrub
If you have a sunburn or are experiencing a rash or other skin condition, don't use a body scrub a rest. Some of the ingredients—and the actual rubbing—could further irritate your skin. You’ll also want to skip it after shaving if your scrub contains salt or any chemical ingredients.
Finally, never use a body scrub on your face, where the skin is thinner and more delicate.
Body scrubs are designed for the tougher skin on your body.