I have a secret to share with you.
Even though sugar gets a bad rap in terms of diet, it’s actually got some hidden skincare benefits.
I always thought that sugar scrubs were so effective because they are abrasive. Those granules of sugar are a great way to physically scrub away dull, dead skin cells, right? It helps create the appearance of smoother, glowing skin. Plus, it’s not just effective, it’s gentle, too.
However, sugar has another unique property that may make it even more effective as an exfoliant.
Did you know that glycolic acid occurs naturally in sugar?
Yes, it’s true! Sugar is a natural source of glycolic acid, an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) that penetrates the skin and breaks down the bond between skin cells. It encourages cell turnover, giving you that fresher, younger-looking skin.
On top of that, sugar is a natural humectant. That means that it helps hydrate your skin, and can reduce the loss of moisture.
This comes in handy during colder winter months, which really give your skin a beating. The odds are stacked against your skin. We’re constantly shifting between warm air indoors and cold air outdoors; typical indoor heat produces really dry air; and consistent pants-wearing can cause chaffing.
As soon as the cold weather hits, my skin starts going bonkers.
And I don’t just mean on my face, either. No, I’m talking about my whole body — legs especially. Hello again, keratosis pilaris — haven’t seen you since last winter.
To be honest, I’ve made a habit of wearing pants and leggings all winter and avoiding what’s going on with my skin. If no one sees it, it doesn’t matter… right?
Well, as it turns out, healthy skin is a lot more important than I used to think. Your skin is the organ that holds body fluids in, preventing dehydration. It also keeps bacteria-carrying microbes out. In other words, it keeps in the good stuff and keeps out the bad.
Taking Care of Your Skin During the Winter
I finally decided that I’m ready to take care of my skin, regardless of who does or doesn’t see it. That means no more ignoring my legs during colder months. I’m ready to have healthy skin year-round!
My secret weapon? Body scrubs made from kitchen basics. Specifically, that sugar I was just talking about.
Sugar scrubs are an easy way to get that silky soft skin that everyone wants. They not only slough away dead skin cells, but they can also help hydrate dry, dull skin. Your legs will thank you! The best part, though, is that you can use this product from head to toe.
Sure, you can purchase body scrubs by the thousands in stores or online. However, they’re extremely easy to make and DIY is so much cheaper. Plus, by making your own, you can customize it.
DIY Sugar Scrub Recipes
Anyways, on with the DIY body scrubs!
They are highly customizable, because essentially, you just need the sugar and a carrier (oil, usually). I prefer to use coconut oil for mine, but sometimes it might require a little melting beforehand. Olive oil is another popular choice, and it’s already liquid — no melting required.
Here’s a basic sugar scrub recipe:
Basic Sugar Scrub
- 1 cup of granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup of oil (coconut or olive oil work great)
- Drops of any preferred essential oils, or aromatic herbs (optional)
- 1 wide-mouth glass jar
Mix all the ingredients together, and store in an airtight container. I prefer wide-mouth mason jars, because it’s easier for me to get my hands in there to use it. But really, anything airtight will do.
When using this, try not to get any excess water into the container. Otherwise, it’ll have a shorter shelf life.
Feel free to experiment with different skin-friendly oils, fresh or dried herbs, or essential oil scents. You can even choose brown sugar instead of white sugar.
Here’s a seasonally appropriate variation on the sugar scrub recipe to get you started:
Pumpkin Spice Sugar Scrub
- 1 cup of brown sugar
- 1/2 cup of coconut oil
- 1/2 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice
Again, mix all the ingredients together and store in an airtight container, like a mason jar.