While I never had great skin, I also never had horrible skin..until I was around 23 and my skin got bad. I have searched for pictures of me during that time but I really didn’t take any unless I was wearing a full face of makeup. I have no idea what caused the sudden breakouts, there wasn’t a diet change, stressful time, getting on or off birth control or any of the other go-to explanations.
The acne was also in a weird spot, all over my cheeks. Before 23, on the occasion I did get acne it was usually in my “t-zone,” through the center of my face and across the forehead. The whole all over my cheeks thing was new. It was very puzzling. I tried different remedies from your average drugstore cleansers to prescribed medicine. None of it was super effective and then my friend told me about salt and sugar scrubs.
Apparently store bought exfoliants cause tiny cuts in your skin which then get infected. These little red infections have you thinking you still have acne when in fact you have gotten rid of the acne (or some of it) only to gain a new red bump problem. My friend told me her dermatologist suggested an oil based scrub with either salt or sugar. I was desperate so I tried it…and it worked! I swear by the stuff and have played around with different oils, salts and sugars to find the perfect combo for my skin and hopefully this blog helps you find yours! The recipe is really simple, it’s just finding the right combo that can be time consuming.
All Natural Scrub
1/2 cup oil
1 cup sugar or salt
¼ cup whatever you didn’t use in the full cup
5 – 10 drops essential oil of your choosing
½ lemon juice
Picking an Oil
This is the most important decision in this recipe. Different oils do different things. Personally I have tried almond, walnut, avocado, olive, and grapeseed oil. None of them were bad but walnut and grapeseed have been my personal favorites. You have different skin than me though so read below for your best option.
Dry Skin – Avocado, Almond, Castor, Macadamia, Olive, Apricot
Oily Skin – Grapeseed, JoJoba, Sunflower, Safflower, Rosehip
Sensitive Skin – Avocado, JoJoba
Balanced/Normal Skin – Almond, Grapeseed, Coconut, Jojoba, Rosehip, Apricot
Throughout my research on the internet the below oils have come up but there has never been enough consensus for me to confidently list them in a category. That being said, it doesn’t mean they aren’t worth trying:
*Notice walnut oil is on this list but it’s one of the oils I really like!
Picking a Scrubber
Salt or Sugar? You can do mostly salt with some sugar like I do, mostly sugar with some salt or all salt or all sugar. It really depends on your needs.
Salt is a harsher scrub because it’s granule edges are sharper. This may bother you if your skin is sensitive but it can also make a great exfoliant for people with dry flaky skin. Even if you opt for sugar because your face is sensitive, generally, salt is what’s recommended for the rest of your body especially your feet and hands.=
As far as choosing a salt goes. I like to use non-iodized salt mainly because iodization to salt was introduced in 1924 as a way to help with iodine deficiency in the diet. Nowadays, most people get plenty of iodine in their regular diet and I am not cooking with it so why use it?! Plus, sea salt often has trace amounts of natural iodization anyway. Furthermore, non-iodized salts sometimes contain small amounts of minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, copper and iron. These help promote circulation, reduce the inflammatory response, and act as a detoxifying agent and general muscle relaxant. I kill two birds with one stone by using non-iodized sea salt. I like it fine grain to make it a little less abrasive on my skin. Bottom line, it really doesn’t matter what type of salt you use though you may want to be weary of commercial salts that could have trace amounts of aluminium in them which some have linked to alzheimer’s.
Sugar is softer so it is better for people with sensitive skin or those who don’t know if they have sensitive skin and want to ease into the scrub life. Sugar also moisturizes more where salt does not making it great for dry skin that is also sensitive. BUT with sugar you miss out on the extra minerals.
I like to either use coconut palm sugar (the darker brown sugar) or cane juice crystals. The coconut sugar is slightly more moisturizing than the cane sugar, it also comes in a lot of variations in terms or coarseness. The smell of the coconut sugar is very strong. It smells good but it makes adding essential oils kind of pointless since I mainly do that to add a nice fragrance. Like salt, your choice in sugar doesn’t matter a ton.
If you have sensitive skin and/or dry skin or simply want a soft scrub, go sugar. If you really want to exfoliate and/or have oily skin go salt.
Lemon and essential oil are not necessary but they are a nice touch. Like I said before you can “flavor” your scrub with whatever essential oil you like. Tea tree is a favorite of mine because I love the smell and tea tree oil has acne fighting components. Lemon juice also has been linked to helping fight acne.