People have been taking advantage of the powers of exfoliation for thousands of years—like, so far back that ancient Egyptians were even sloughing away dead skin. Heck, even Cleopatra herself was known to be a fan. (Except she bathed in sour milk to improve the appearance of her complexion—a method that sounds 100 percent gag-worthy, so please don’t try it at home.) Nowadays though, you can walk into practically any store and find numerous treatments that will leave your skin soft and silky-smooth, but sometimes it pays off to take a minimalist approach and go back to the basics.
So the next time you want to exfoliate, empty your online shopping cart and save your money for a spin class or a transformative-travel experience. For your skin-smoothing needs, just reach for an ingredient that’s almost definitely already in your kitchen pantry: sugar. According to Siva Mohan, an Ayurvedic doctor, it’s one of the easiest ways to encourage cell turnover and improve the tone and texture of your skin. Also, sugar is a natural humectant, it draws moisturize into your skin while you’re using it, ensuring the exfoliation process doesn’t leave you looking dry and flaky—something that can easily happen if you’re scrubbing too roughly or not using the right product.
Since sugar is a natural source of glycolic acid, an alpha hydroxy acid, it can help keep your skin looking young and healthy through the years—well, as long as you’re just putting it on your skin, not eating it.
Unlike other exfoliating materials (looking at you, salt!), sugar is incredibly gentle and not at all scratchy, which makes it a non-irritating method that even people who have sensitive skin types can take advantage of. Then there’s also the fact that it’s an anti-ager. Since sugar is a natural source of glycolic acid, an alpha hydroxy acid, it can help keep your skin looking young and healthy through the years—well, as long as you’re just putting it on your skin, not eating it. Because that’s a whole different story.
Now that you know the perks, how exactly do you get started in making your own sugar scrub at home? Lucky for you, it’s super easy. Just start by mixing together 1 cup of sugar with 1/2 cup of coconut oil (yet another natural moisturizer!) in a mason jar, then add in 10 to 15 drops of your favorite skin-boosting essential oil. You can choose whatever your heart desires, but some of the best? Chamomile, which is anti-inflammatory and cleansing; ginger, which aids collagen production; and ultra-calming lavender, which helps with redness. Rose oil is great, too, for its ability to combat acne—especially if it’s hormonal. Basically, you’re in pretty good company and can get some added benefits by experimenting with what works best for you.
After you have your scrub ready to go, use it on your face and body in the shower two to three times a week and you’ll wind up with smooth, clear, and fresh-looking skin. Keep the mixture on your counter next to all your other go-to beauty products, where it’ll stay fresh for the next couple weeks. And who knows? It might just become your favorite part of your skin-care routine—especially because aside from all those benefits for your complexion, it’s also great for your mental health, assisting you in unwinding after a long, stressful day at work.
And as you’re using the scrub, the relaxing scent from the essential oils will bring on all the good vibes. You may even be left to wonder whether you’re in a spa or tiny apartment bathroom? Close your eyes and you’ll never know.
Here’s why water is the best (and oldest!) beauty tool. Or, find out the beauty secret Bella and Gigi Hadid learned from their mom.
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