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Friends, hello! How are you on this fine fall week? I say this exuberantly in DC, knowing full well that Minnesota/Wisconsin got snow this past week and Arizona is still as hot as a firecracker. My roommate, myself and friend Max went to a lovely winery in Virginia - Naked Mountain Winery, which we deem the ultimate place to be social distant, and I am trying to decide if it is reasonable or not to be at a winery every single weekend until the weather turns on us.
With that, how are you holding up going on month 8 of Covid? Be kind and gentle to yourself, friends, and be sure to take time for some self-care. Even the little things these days can make a huge difference; I buy flowers every week, take at least a weekly epsom salt bath, and have been meditating more than pre-covid.
This week, my offering to you is an ultimate guide to DIY body scrub, and this coming Sunday I am teaming up with my good friend Jess to offer a self-care day retreat.
Benefits of exfoliating your skin
Exfoliation removes the top layer of dead skin cells and can stimulate collagen production and cell turn over, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, leaving your skin looking radiant and healthy. Studies also show that exfoliation can improve effectiveness of topical treatments because it can penetrate deeper instead of sitting on the top layer of dead skin cells. Also, it just feels great and relaxing! Do you really need another reason than that?
Why make your own body scrub?
There are plenty of fancy, expensive body scrubs out there, but the products right in your kitchen and bathroom are just as good! Plus, it's fun to get creative and you can customize your products based on your personal needs. Also, you know exactly what is going into it, unlike a lot of store bought products.
I made this handy infographic as your ultimate DIY body scrub guide! Enjoy!
Oil is helpful to help lock in moisture as your exfoliating. You most likely have olive oil in your cabinet, and that will do just fine! Other oils, however, can provide a lot of nutrients to your scrub. Use 1/4 and up to 1/2 cup.
Be careful, however, as this will make your tub slippery! So use with caution you so you not slip!
Coconut oil: anti-inflammatory, but can clog pores
Avocado oil: Naturally soothing, contains fats and nutrients that are great for your skin
Jojoba oil: This is a personal favorite, and I also use it as a makeup remover sometimes. I have eczema and jojoba is very healing for some skin conditions. It's also a lighter oil than most others (and you can buy it at my favorite store, Trader Joe's 😊).
You can use almost any oil you have though, including almond, grapeseed, Argan, sunflower oil (castor oil, however, is too thick, I would not recommend).
You can also use heavy cream and yogurt. Both are hydrating and have lactic acid, which is a natural exfoliant on its own. A win win. Remember this will not be shelf stable, so you should put it in the fridge.
My personal favorite is sea salt because of my eczema. When I went to the beach this summer, I was in the ocean for 5 days and my eczema completely cleared up! It was a miracle, nothing has made it so clear.
You can also use sugar, which is a little finer and better if you have sensitive skin. Any sugar will do: brown or white.
I have also used coffee grinds. I really like the coffee grinds (used or fresh), and studies show that caffeine scrub can stimulate blood flow to reduce the appearance of cellulite if that's what you're going for. However, it makes a mess of the bathtub, so you'll want to clean the tub often. It could even stain it. It's coffee, after all! ☕
Here is where you can have a lot of fun! Essential oils are great for aromatherapy, but be careful not to add too much and to research which oils to use. I once put drops of lemon essential oil straight in my bath, and my whole body started itching and burning, I had to get out! You can still use lemon, but sparingly (just 4 drops or so mixed with your scrub instead of my 20 or so directly in water 😅). My favorites:
Lavender essential oil - believed to have antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties, and research shows it can be very beneficial for anxiety relief
Sandalwood essential oil - it smells lovely
Rosehip essential oil - contains vitamins A + E, which have shown to increase cell turn over and bring new skin cells to the surface, something essential in anti-aging
Studies show honey has antibacterial, antioxidant and antimicrobial properties that may help some skin conditions. Particularly significant in these properties is Manuka honey (but very expensive. I just use a local grade A honey). Use 2 tbps.
1/4 c ground up oatmeal (moisturizing)
1 tsp matcha powder or 1/4 c cold (so it doesn't dissolve the sugar/salt) green tea (2 tea bags)(nourishing/antioxidant rich, has caffeine, see coffee note above)
1/2 c bentonite clay (oil prone/acne, do not use an oil, use water to make a paste instead)
1/4 yogurt (lactic acid for gentle exfoliation)
This week I made a sea salt, avocado oil, honey and lavender oil scrub for my eczema. I Sometimes use it just for my hands (where it is the worst).
Have fun creating your own scrub and let me know what you ended up with! If you prefer to follow recipes, here are some good ones:
Prevention - Various recipes
Healthline - Various recipes