More Basics

Look at this! It’s happening again so soon. Christmas miracle? Maybe.

So in the last post, I covered what scrubbing actually is and what it does. This time I think that it’s important to address another common question I get from people who stop by my booth. Ready for it?

“What is the difference between salt and sugar?”

Convinced the answer is either hideously complicated or an inane reason, this is asked with some reluctance. Though not inane and not too out there, the question is best answered in parts. Here we go.


My first answer is always granule size. Sugars tend to be smaller while salts tend to be larger. Especially because I have designed my products for this to be the case. (Of course, you can find exceptions to my very general rule. These are of a thumb variety and not of a gravity.) I have specifically chosen a granule of salt – medium – that is awesome for scrubbing. It is also larger than the largest sugar granule that I use. Size almost directly translates to exfoliating power. Bigger granules are more aggressive.

I don’t know if you can tell, but size isn’t the whole story. Sugars literally pull moisture from the air around them. This means, they are pulling a double duty of exfoliating and moisturizing. I am so tempted to make a pun here, but I’ll stay strong. Hopefully. If you’ll notice, very casual like, my sugar scrubs only have the one oil in them. The sugars bring in the moisture so that the oils can lock it in.

Salt is a slightly different beast. Salt has a happy history of being used in food storage and preservation. Partly because of its dehydrating properties and partly because of its antibacterial badassery. Skin care and dehydration Do. Not. Mix. Except when using the salt as a scrub. Salt is an excellent exfoliant because it is huge (comparatively) and is antibacterial. I solve the dryness issue with the addition of honey and vitamin E oil. Honey = sugar in the whole pulling moisture out of the air department. Problem solved.

After all that, I circle back around to the size issue. This time, though, it’s a nit-pickier (this is apparently the proper usage of this term according to Word) type issue. Here is where skin sensitivity comes back into play. I talked about this in the last posting I made. Your skin may have no problems if you had sand paper rubbed all over it, you aren’t very sensitive. Or, you may break out in hives if even the slightest irritant even thinks about coming within a 10-foot radius of your epidermis (top layer of skin). Most people I have met are somewhere along the continuum and may even move up or down depending on different factors.

Smaller granules like brown sugar or cane sugar are best for sensitive skin. I’m assuming that you are exercising common sense and letting the exfoliant do the work for you, of course. These granules will still scrub away the dead skin, but won’t be as abrasive as larger granules. Raw sugar and salt are larger granules, they are more abrasive and aggressive. They will really get in there. Again, see my assumption above.

Aside here, can you tell that this whole “not scrubbing your skin within an inch of its life” thing is important?

All of this is to allow you to make the most informed decision when it comes to your scrubbing usage. Happy skin is the best skin.

Phew! Until next time,