Salt Scrub vs Sugar Scrub: Which Is Better?

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salt scrub or sugar scrub

Whether you’re looking to remove dead skin cells, smooth skin texture or moisturize skin, body scrub is a great way to provide healthy exfoliation to smooth and soften skin. Two main types of scrubs are sugar scrubs and salt scrubs and while they may sound pretty similar, there are actually some key differences. Here’s a look at salt scrub vs sugar scrub to help you decide which one is right for you.

About Scrubs

Before we dive into salt vs sugar scrubs, let’s take a look at scrubs in general and why they’re so beneficial for the skin.

Skin cells go through cycles and will naturally shed throughout the month. However, sometimes these skin cells can stick around and accumulate on the surface of the skin. This can result in dry, dull, rough and flaky skin.

That’s where exfoliation comes in!

There are two main types of exfoliation, chemical and mechanical. The former relies on the application of an exfoliating acid, like glycolic or salicylic acid to remove dead skin cells. While the latter refers to the use of a scrub, or any other type of physical grit, to physically scrub away those dead skin cells.

In addition to removing dead skin cells, scrubs can also help to unclog pores and remove any dirt or impurities that might be trapped on the surface of the skin, which can help with body acne and ingrown hairs.

After the removal of the dead and dry skin, your skin will feel supple to the touch, in addition to having a radiant glow. Scrubs can be used on your face and body and it’s certainly a good idea to incorporate these into your skincare routine.

Salt and sugar scrubs are both forms of physical exfoliation and can easily be used in the shower 1-3x per week, depending on your skin. They are both great options to help keep your skin healthy, soft and smooth.

However, before you start using them, you need to choose one that matches your specific needs. So keep on reading below to find out more about the benefits, pros and cons and more about salt scrubs vs sugar scrubs.

What Is A Salt Scrub

salt scrub benefits

Salt scrub is simply a type of body scrub that is made up of salt which provides the physical exfoliation. Thanks to the unique physical and chemical properties of salt (salt is grainy in texture and is also known to be a natural detoxifier) , this type of scrub helps nourish and detoxify skin, in addition to exfoliating dead and dry skin. 

Salt is also rich in many different minerals, which can have certain benefits for the skin. It is worth noting that salt scrubs may not be suitable to all types of skin types, especially due to the fact that they can be a little harsh and drying– which may not be good for dry and sensitive skin.

And with any type of scrub, these boost circulation which can cause temporary redness which may not be ideal for those with sensitive skin.

It is recommended that you look for quality salts like, Himalayan salt, Epsom salt and Sea Salt when shopping for a good salt scrub, as they are filled minerals that are good for the skin. In fact, it’s been shown that dead sea salt is rich in Magnesium which can help reduce inflammation, strengthens the skin barrier and hydrates dry skin.

Here’s a brief breakdown of the different types of salt used to make salt scrubs: 

• Sea Salt: This salt type contains a lower amount of minerals and is usually obtained by evaporating sea water.   

• Himalayan Salt: Sometimes considered to be the purest salt, Himalayan pink salt is rich in minerals and contains more than 80 trace elements. 

• Epsom Salt: Considered to be great at easing tension in muscle tissue, Epsom salt is wholly made of magnesium. 

• Dead Sea Salt: With a mineral concentration that is up to ten times higher than regular sea salt, Dead Sea salt is renowned for its strong therapeutic properties. 

In addition to salt, a salt scrub also typically contains lots of oils and butters that moisturize and nourish the skin and may contain some essential oils and other plant extracts to provide skin benefits.

Salt Scrub Benefits & Pros

• The large, gritty salt particles do a good job of scrubbing away dry and dead skin cells

• This exfoliant helps relax sore muscles

• Salt scrub also helps detoxify the body – one of the main selling points of this type of exfoliant. 

• Last but not least, salt scrubs also help tone the skin

The detoxifying properties of these scrubs make them a great choice for people who experience soreness from regular physical activity as well as those looking to detoxify.

Salt Scrub Cons 

• As previously mentioned above, salt scrubs are known to irritate delicate skin. 

What Is A Sugar Scrub?

sugar scrub benefits

A sugar scrub is a type of body exfoliant that is made using sugar granules. These granules are what provides the physical exfoliation and sloughs off dead skin cells. While the use of this type of scrub can help you achieve smoother and more radiant skin, it is not designed for daily use – it can be viewed as a sweet treat for the skin that can be used several times a week. All in all, sugar scrubs offer gentle yet effective skin exfoliation. Thanks to their gentle nature, sugar scrubs are recommended for use by people with delicate skin. 

As you probably know, there are many different kinds of sugar – brown sugar, coconut sugar, white sugar, raw sugar and more. The type of sugar used to make the scrub will have an effect on the texture of the scrub as well as the level of exfoliation and skin benefit.

Coconut sugar is commonly used in sugar scrubs. In addition to providing gentle exfoliation, it also acts as a humectant which means it draws moisture into the skin, so a coconut sugar scrub is a great option for those with dry or dehydrated skin.

Coconut sugar is less abrasive than other types of sugars so it’s also great for those with sensitive skin types.

Coconut sugar is also known for its rich composition of amino acids, minerals and vitamins which can help to nourish and protect the skin.

On the other hand, unrefined cane sugar is known to have a rich composition of potassium, magnesium, iron and calcium nutrients. However, it is more abrasive than table sugar, and should therefore not be used in exfoliating the face.  

In addition to sugar, most of these scrubs also contain suitable carrier oil, essential oils and other plant extracts and ingredients to nourish, moisturize and provide lots of skin benefits.

Sugar Scrub Benefits & Pros

• Effective Exfoliation: As mentioned above sugar scrubs are great at scrubbing away any accumulation of dead skin cells, oils, impurities and dirt. In addition to removing dead and dry skin, these scrubs also help give your skin a more radiant complexion. 

• Gentle Exfoliation: Sugar scrubs don’t just provide exfoliation; they do so in a gentle manner that is bound to leave your skin feeling great – free from irritation. One of the main reasons for this is that sugar has smaller granules. Secondly, sugar granules normally start melting from the heat on the skin; thus, softening them further. As previously noted, sugar scrubs are great for people with delicate skin, due to their gentle exfoliation properties.   

Sugar Scrub Cons 

• While it is true that sugar scrubs offer great exfoliation results, they don’t do much else for the skin. In comparison to salt, sugar has a lower composition of minerals and compounds that can provide skin benefits

Depending on the other ingredients in the sugar scrub, the formulation may make up for the lack of vitamins and minerals. Many oils and other plant extracts can provide a ton of nutrients like vitamins and minerals to the skin.

Salt Scrub Vs Sugar Scrub Main Differences

salt vs sugar scrub

Now that you have a clear idea of what salt and sugar scrubs are, their ingredients, benefits and cons, you can read on to find out the main difference between salt scrub vs sugar scrub. 

One of the main distinguishing factors between salt and sugar scrubs is particle size. Normally, salt scrubs have larger and grittier particles that are more abrasive, which means they are better at exfoliating but can be too harsh for those with sensitive skin. Sugar scrubs on the other hand have smaller granules and the granules themselves are less abrasive. As a result, sugar scrubs are gentler and less drying on the skin

This is the main reason why dermatological experts normally recommend sugar scrubs for people with delicate skin. 

It is also worth mentioning that salt scrubs normally have more trace elements and minerals than sugar scrubs. This means that they provide more than just a simple exfoliation, salt scrubs also have detoxifying and healing properties.  

Salt Vs Sugar Scrub For Ingrown Hairs

Both sugar and salt scrubs can be great for preventing ingrown hairs. Sugar scrubs are often recommended as they are less drying on the skin and can be used more frequently. Salt scrubs however can be great for getting rid of stubborn ingrown hairs since the granules are more abrasive and provide better exfoliation. Additionally, salt scrubs have detoxifying properties which may help prevent ingrown hairs as well.

Salt Or Sugar Scrub For Legs

If you are looking to use a scrub on your legs, then either sugar or salt scrubs can work great. Salt scrubs tend to be more effective at exfoliating and may provide better results. However, they can also be drying on the skin so if you have sensitive skin, it is best to stick to sugar scrubs. And since sugar helps to hydrate the skin, sugar scrubs may be a better choice to keep your legs soft and smooth.

Benefits Of Salt Scrub Vs Sugar Scrub

Salt Scrub

  • Better exfoliation
  • Provides nutrients, vitamins and minerals
  • Great for normal, oily or rough skin

Sugar Scrub

  • Gentle exfoliation
  • Provides hydration
  • Great for dry or sensitive skin types

How To Use Salt And Sugar Scrubs On The Body

For the best results, exfoliation must be done correctly. 

Whether you are using a salt or sugar scrub, you do not want to overuse it and risk dryness or irritation. Scrubs are best used 1-3x per week, depending on your skin.

It’s also important to keep in mind that you only need to use light pressure when using the scrubs. Avoid being too harsh on the skin as this can lead to micro-tears.

  1. Wet skin
  2. Apply scrub in small, circular motions paying attention to any rough areas like knees or elbows
  3. Rinse well
  4. Moisturize

How To Use Salt And Sugar Scrubs On The Face

The face is much more delicate than the rest of the body, so extra care must be taken when using a scrub on the face and you’ll likely want to use one specifically formulated for the face as they are usually more gentle and will have less oils in them.

Body scrubs typically have lots of oils in them which moisturize the skin, but these oils can be too heavy for the face and lead to clogged pores or breakouts. A sugar scrub is not ideal for use on the face. A body scrub will be too harsh on the face, so it’s important to use a scrub that’s dedicated to facial skin.

  1. Wet skin
  2. Apply scrub in small, circular motions
  3. Rinse well
  4. Moisturize or follow your regular skincare routine

Salt Scrub Vs Sugar Scrub FAQs

Can You Mix Salt And Sugar For A Scrub?

Yes you can mix salt and sugar to make a scrub. Combining both ingredients will give you the benefits of both scrubs. The salt will detoxify and provide lots of vitamins and minerals while the sugar will help to hydrate the skin.

Can You Use Salt Or Sugar Scrubs Every Day?

You should not use salt or sugar scrubs every day as this can irritate and dry out the skin. Salt and sugar scrubs should only be used 1-3 times a week.

Are Sugar Scrubs Bad For Your Skin?

Sugar scrubs are not bad for your skin as long as they are used correctly. Sugar scrubs can be beneficial for the skin as they help to remove dead skin cells, boost circulation and hydrate the skin.

Salt Scrub Recipe

  • 1 cup of salt (I prefer Himalayan but you can use whatever kind you have on hand)
  • 2/3 cup of oil (you can use whatever oil you like – coconut, argan, sunflower and jojoba oils are all great for the skin
  • 5-6 drops of your favorite essential oil (optional)

1. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well.

2. Store in an airtight container.

3. To use, wet skin and apply the scrub in small, circular motions. Rinse well and moisturize.

Sugar Scrub Recipe

  • 1 cup of sugar (raw, brown, granulated, etc or you can mix a few different kinds)
  • 2/3 cup of oil (you can use whatever oil you like – coconut, argan, sunflower and jojoba oils are all great for the skin
  • 5-6 drops of your favorite essential oil (optional)

1. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well.

2. Store in an airtight container.

3. To use, wet skin and apply the scrub in small, circular motions. Rinse well and moisturize.

Best Salt Scrubs

Truly Matcha Scrub

This salt scrub for face has dead sea salt and sugar to gently exfoliate the skin without being too harsh or abrasive on delicate facial skin. It also has glycolic acid to help smooth skin texture and brighten skin. It’s packed with Green Tea which is loaded with antioxidants and soothing properties. Matcha helps to calm inflammation and redness for skin that’s left smooth and soft!

Dr. Teals Pink Himalayan Salt Scrub

This salt scrub for the body combines Epsom Salt and Pink Himalayan salt to provide deep exfoliation for smoother and softer skin. It’s packed with sunflower seed oil, jojoba seed oil, shea butter, vitamin e and aloe to moisturize and soothe the skin. Plus sweet orange and bergamot essential oils to invigorate the senses and leave your skin smelling delicious.

Handcraft Blends Himalayan Salt Body Scrub

This scrub can be used on the face or body to polish away dead skin cells to reveal smoother and brighter skin. It has pink himalayan salt and tons of moisturizing and nourishing oils like sweet almond oil, sunflower seed oil and avocado oil. Plus tons of plant extracts to soothe and hydrate skin.

Best Sugar Scrubs

Ouai Scalp & Body Scrub

This sugar scrub features Ouai’s signature Melrose Place fragrance which is a beautiful rose scent with hints of sandalwood and berries. The plant sugar helps to draw moisturize into the skin for softer and hydrated skin while coconut and sweet almond oil nourish and moisturize.

Sol de Janeiro Bum Bum Body Scrub

This cult favorite body scrub combines crushed cupuaçu seeds and sugar crystals to provide gentle exfoliation for smoother and softer skin. Coconut oil provides a lightweight moisture and nourishes skin with lots of vitamins. It has their signature Cheirosa ’62 fragrance which smells absolutely incredible!

Tree Hut Coco Colada Shea Sugar Scrub

Tree Hut has some of the best body care and their sugar scrubs are no different. This one uses sugar, shea butter and their signature blend of 6 oils: Avocado Oil, Macadamia Oil, Sweet Orange Oil, Sweet Almond Oil, Evening Primrose Oil, Safflower Oil to deeply nourish and moisturize. Plus it smells like summer with notes of coconut, pineapple and coconut milk.

Related post: Can Tree Hut Sugar Scrubs Be Used On The Face?

Salt Scrub Vs Sugar Scrub: Wrap Up

Although salt and sugar scrubs are both great exfoliants, they have different benefits for the skin. Salt scrubs are more abrasive and drying which can cause irritation on delicate or sensitive skin but they also contain lots of vitamins and minerals which can benefit the skin. Sugar scrubs tend to be more gentle exfoliants and help to hydrate the skin. So when it comes to salt scrub vs sugar scrub, which is best for you? It really just depends on your personal preference and skin type.

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