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If you're not a fan of body scrubs, you're not alone. Maybe you find them too harsh for your skin type, or maybe they cause acne flare-ups. Maybe you just don't like the way they feel. In any case, we've searched high and low to bring you this list of great alternatives. These options are just as useful and effective, and some are even dermatologist preferred.
You can exfoliate without a body scrub by using these 5 great body scrub alternatives:
- Exfoliating gloves
- Dry brushing
- Rolling exfoliators
- Exfoliating lotion
- Body peels
Keep reading to learn more about each of these options. We'll cover how to use them, how often, and what kind of skin they are best suited for. Plus, this article will cover the difference between scrubbing and exfoliating, and whether it's best to exfoliate in the morning or night.
5 Great Body Scrub Alternatives To Try Out
1. Exfoliating Gloves
You can't use just any gloves in the shower. Exfoliating gloves are a special material, textured just enough to properly exfoliate without being too rough on your skin.
Remember that the glove is the exfoliator, so just use a gentle body wash. Don't use anything harsh or abrasive. In the shower, wet your body first. Then, working from shoulders down, rub each area briefly.
For most people, the glove is too rough for the face directly. Once you're all done, be sure to use a moisturizer as the final step.
2. Dry Brushing
Using a brush across your skin can be an excellent exfoliator. While many of these special brushes claim they can be used wet or dry, dry is the most effective method. Friction is increased when the brush and skin are dry, and increased friction means increased exfoliation.
If you have very sensitive skin, however, you may get the best results by doing this wet and cutting down the friction. In either case, you'll want to end with a shower. This will give you a chance to wash off the dead skin cells and fully cleanse the skin. Brushing can be aggravating - keep in mind to be gentle, don't overdo, and stop if it hurts.
3. Rolling Exfoliators
A microneedle derma roller like this one is one of the few exfoliators that can, potentially, be used daily. Test it out for a few weeks, starting with just two times a week. Increase the frequency as you see how your skin reacts.
Roll with an even, moderate pressure across the face. Don't over-do it - you should be able to cover your entire face in only 5-10 strokes. Going over the same area too many times will cause irritation.
Derma-rolling is one of the more effective choices if you're trying to target acne scars or stretch marks. It stimulates collagen production while removing dead skin cells.
4. Exfoliating Lotion
The right exfoliating lotion uses chemicals such as glycolic or salicylic acid. If your problems include keratosis pilaris (small red bumps on the skin) or hyperpigmentation, a chemical alternative like this may be your best bet.
Don't forget to use proper skin protection - these lotions leave your skin vulnerable to sun damage.
5. Body Peels
Body peels are a great way to even skin tone and reduce scarring. While older chemical peels were often messy or inconvenient, modern methods include simple pads. Simply swipe over the skin. You don't even need to rinse off after.
Like other chemical options, this will make your skin sensitive to sun damage. Be sure to wear appropriate sunscreen while using this product. Start using only a few times a week, bumping up the frequency as your skin can tolerate. Worried that this is too harsh for your skin? Read more about glycolic acid here.
How Do You Deeply Exfoliate Your Body?
The American Academy of Dermatology has a few tips for getting the best results when exfoliating at home. They suggest, first of all, picking a method that suits your skin type.
There are two main types of exfoliation - physical and chemical. Many people with sensitive, acne-prone, or dry skin find that most kinds of physical exfoliation can be too harsh. In this case, a simple washcloth may be all the physical exfoliation that your skin can take. Pair it with a mild chemical exfoliator.
For oily skin types, more aggressive exfoliation (physical or chemical) may be appropriate. However, tread lightly if you have a darker skin type. Over exfoliating can cause dark spots on the skin, in this case.
Other types include:
- Don't exfoliate skin that is sunburnt or otherwise irritated.
- Be gentle - only apply the product for about 30 seconds, with light, circular strokes. Rinse with lukewarm - not hot - water.
- Follow immediately with moisturizer.
- Don't overuse exfoliants.
Is It OK To Use Body Scrub Every Day?
Exfoliating has lots of great benefits for your skin, but you probably shouldn't use a body scrub every day. That old saying about "too much of a good thing" applies. Overindulging with body scrubs can cause redness, irritation, and dryness. It can also lead to an increased risk of wrinkles, as the outermost protective layer of skin thins from excessive scrubbing.
Everyone's skin and skin care needs are different. But, typically, three times a week is plenty for a body scrub. If your skin is very sensitive, just once or twice weekly might be enough.
Should You Exfoliate At Night Or In The Morning?
There isn't one clear-cut rule, as to whether or not exfoliation is best in the A.M. or P.M. Overall, there are more advantages to exfoliating in the morning. These include:
- The majority of skin repair occurs at night - by exfoliating in the morning, you can remove last night's "new" dead skin cells.
- Exfoliating in the morning creates a fresh base for that day, which allows makeup to sit better.
- People tend to use stronger face products at night. Exfoliating at night, before applying more intense products, increases the likelihood of irritation or sensitivity.
Conversely, some dermatologists think exfoliating at night is fine. One of the advantages of a night-time routine is that it can remove any leftover makeup before bed. It also ensures that the skin is clean and any nighttime products can penetrate fully.
What Is The Difference Between Scrubbing And Exfoliating?
If you don't understand the difference between scrubbing and exfoliating, you aren't alone. Lots of people get confused about just what the difference is - because, technically, there isn't one. Like all blue jays are birds, but not all birds are blue jays - all scrubs are one method of exfoliation.
Physical exfoliation includes body scrubs and polishes, and even microdermabrasion. Chemical exfoliation includes things like facial peels.
When most people think of at-home exfoliation, body scrubs and polishes are what they picture. The main difference between a scrub and a polish is simply that a body scrub cleanses while it exfoliates. A polish, on the other hand, removes dead skin cells but offers no cleansing benefit.
There are great options for at-home exfoliation, besides the routine body scrub. Exfoliating lotions are ideal for keratosis pilaris or hyperpigmentation, while chemical peels can help reduce acne scarring. If your skin is sensitive to chemicals, try a rolling exfoliator instead.
Dry brushing is a refreshing way to feel the deep clean of physical exfoliation, and also increases circulation for a healthy glow. If dry brushing is too hard on your skin, shower gloves may be a better option. Whichever choice best suits your skincare needs, there's clearly more out there than just body scrub!