Sunday, April 10, 2011

Product Profile: Sugar Scrubs!

Sugar scrubs are fabulous. They allow you to get rid of all the dead skin cells and other gunk that can build up on your skin over time. They will help your skin revitalize, grow new cells, soften and add a healthy glow. A scrub utilizes an exfoliant of some kind (sugar, salt, pumice, jojoba beads, apricot kernel or almond shells, loofa...) to scrape off old skin, and to soften, smooth and regenerate your skin.
Try not to purchase or use scrubs with plastic beads as the exfoliant. Plastic does not degrade on its way down your drain and will end up in the world's river and ocean systems, where it will bio-magnify, meaning it will continue its way back up the food chain, and back to you.

Why use a scrub?
Your skin sheds millions of skin cells on a daily basis, and if these are not routinely cleansed off they can buildup and create a barrier to other forms of moisturization and lead to wrinkly and older looking skin. Skin with this type of barrier tends to be "thirstier," as well, even though the benefits of moisturizing don't help it as much.
Exfoliation will also help with ingrown hairs, it helps to stimulate circulation and gets rid of dirt and build-up without the use of soap.

Scrubs can be used on the face and the body, but there is generally a difference between the two. Mainly, facial scrubs will be less abrasive and utilize different oils and exfoliants. This is not to say that you can't use a regular body scrub on your face, only be careful when you rub, and don't overdo it.

Why sugar?
Sugar is usually the exfoliant of choice for many people as it is less abrasive and doesn't sting, like a salt scrub would. It also has some fantastic chemical properties going for it as well. Not only will sugar act as an exfoliant in a manual sense, but because it contains natural glycolic acids it also exfoliates on a chemical level, by dissolving dead skin and clarifying your skin.

Here is a really basic sugar scrub recipe that you can make at home:

Lemon Sugar Scrub
1 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup Olive oil
1 tblsp Lemon Zest

Mix well, and use!

What is an emulsified sugar scrub? And what makes them better?
An emulsified scrub is one that will become creamy and 'lotion-like' in the shower when water is applied to it. Emulsified scrubs use water soluble ingredients in it (butters, oils and an emulsifier) to create the creamy lotion-like texture.

The sugar scrubs I make are emulsified sugar scrubs, which means they have a few extra ingredients in them which adds to the texture of the scrub in the shower, as well as the moisturization properties of it. These scrubs will wash off without a greasy feel and utilize butter and oils to create a moisturizing feast for your skin.

My scrubs:
I use cocoa and mango butters, as well as castor, cherry kernel, jojoba, rice bran and soya bean oils in my sugar scrubs for their amazing skin properties.

Why do I use those specific ingredients? Well, cocoa butter has a long shelf life, has both phytoesterols and polyphenols, as well as palmitic, stearic, oleic and linoleic fatty acids in it. Also, it happens to be my favorite butter! It smells amazing and is always the butter in my favorite lotions, I find it amazingly moisturizing and smooth on my skin.

Mango butter also has palmitic, stearic, oleic and linoleic fatty acids in it, but has more polyphenols than the cocoa butter. Mango butter also has ingredients in it that act as anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatories. It also a drier feel to it than other butters, which works well in a scrub by not making it too greasy.

Castor oil is a great oil, although a bit on the heavier side. I use it here because it tends to penetrate skin easily and acts as a fabulous humectant (a substance that will preserve the moisture content of skin). I like using Jojoba oil in many things because it is generally considered to be non-allergenic, and has anti-oxidant properties. Jojoba will penetrate the skin and not block pores, and contains octacosanol, a fatty acid that can soothe dry skin. Cherry kernel oil has natural antioxidants, vitamins A and E and is a light moisturizing oil.

Rice bran oil contains Ferulic acid, an anti-oxidant that is more effective than vitamin E, and also has anti-inflammation properties. Rice bran oil also contains Vitamin B, Vitamin E and squalene (a natural moisturizer). Soyabean oil is a lighter carrier oil and has oodles of linoleic acid in it, as well as Vitamin E, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and the highest concentration of phytoesterols in any of the carrier oils I use. Phytoesterols help soothe damaged skin, inflamed skin or red skin, and can also act as anti-inflammatories.

All in all, these are all oils that have fabulous skin properties, and combining them together in an emulsifying sugar scrub means that once those dead skin cells are gone these fabulous oils can start moisturizing your skin!

I now have 5 scents of sugar scrubs available: Luscious Lime, Decadent Neroli, Radiant Yuzu, Midnight Pomegranate and Morning Orange!

All of them smell fabulous and will cleanse and soften your skin.
Both the orange and the pomegranate scents are new for this season, and will be available on my store soon.

Sources: Organic Body Care by Stephanie Tourles, Point of Interest, Tipnut and Wikipedia.

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