By: Dee Braun
Using specially formulated body scrubs and soaps is one way to deal with several skin and body conditions. Be sure to stay away from scrubs and soaps which contain harsh chemicals, acids or mineral oil (also called parafin) as these can be drying and even damaging to your skin.
Making your own scrubs and soaps is another option which doesn't have to be complicated or difficult. I've included some terrific, simple recipes here for you to try. A little extra TLC and time in the bath can not only improve the look and health of your skin, it can also help to reduce stress and improve your overall health.
Body scrubs and special soaps can be used for:
3. Skin that needs revitalizing
4. Addressing problems such as dry skin or cellulite
The process is simple and choices are available to improve the look and feel of your body's skin.
a. Scrub down with soap and water using the bath mitt, loofah or brush.
b. Rub all over with sea salt as you stand in the bath.
c. Rub all over with sugar using your soap lather.
d. Fill a muslin bag with ground oats/bran from a health food store and scrub with that.
The use of a loofah, hemp glove, long-backed bristle brush is beneficial at all times, but is especially important is the person is on a strict diet or undertaking a fast. Under these circumstances the body is throwing off poisons rapidly, and these need to be scrubbed off the skin.
The Use of Soap
Even dermatologists are unable to reach agreement on as to whether soap is positively good or bad for the skin. The theory that it is bad is based on the fact that skin is naturally slightly acid, while soap is mostly alkaline. Hence the soap temporarily destroys the skins' acid mantle. However, as the balance is restored in one to three hours, the damage is not permanent.
The `anti-soap` brigade claims that the drying effect of soap is cumulative; years of washing will take their toll in the form of skin that is prematurely dried or cracked. Certainly, students will feel the drying effect of soap on their skin; it is this very feeling that makes some women say that they feel `clean`, but often this means that soap has been left on the skin which has not been adequately rinsed and dried off.
You should be aware that although nowadays most soaps contain moisturizers such as cold cream to mitigate the drying effect, this does not alter their alkalinity. Most people will cause little harm to their skin by using soap. It is only those who have particularly dry or sensitive skin who should use the special acid-balanced soaps, which are not strictly soaps at all, they are more aptly called cleansers.
Natural Body Cleanser, Scrub and Soap Recipes
Homemade Sea Salt Exfoliator
Mix 1/8 cup of Olive Oil and 1 heaping tablespoon of sea salt
Use on knees and elbows in the shower and rinse off. Pat dry with a soft towel.
To make a good exfoliating scrub, mix a tsp. of warm runny honey with 1 tbsp. milk. Add sugar until you get it to a grainy consistency.
Liquid Lavender Soap
Put 6 tbsp. of grated castile Soap and some water in a heatproof bowl and place over a saucepan of boiling water. When the Soap has melted, stir in 5 tbsp glycerin. Remove from heat and stir in 4 drops of Lavender oil.
If desired, stir in a few drops of natural food coloring to color the Soap. When cool, pour into clean bottles and seal with corks.
Cool Shower Gel
* 1/2 cup herbal shampoo (look for one that is detergent-free; avoid labels that list any variation of "sodium lauryl Sulfate")
* 1/4 to 3/4 cup water
* 3/4 teaspoon salt
* 8 drops Peppermint Essential Oil
* 2 tablespoons Aloe Vera gel
* Blend all the ingredients thoroughly, adjusting the amount of water to get the desired consistency.
* Pour into a bottle or jar.
* Place a dab of this cooling gel in your hand to use instead of Soap.
Formula may be doubled or tripled to make extra for gifts.
And please be sure to use pure Peppermint Essential Oil, not a fragrance oil.
Oatmeal Bath Gel
To make a creamy bath gel, mix 1/4 cup dry oatmeal and 1 tsp. honey with enough milk to make it a paste. Put in the microwave for a few seconds to warm up and then use.
Almond Mayonnaise Scrub
(for very dry skin)
* 1/4 cup almonds
* 1/8 teaspoon mayonnaise
Grind almonds in blender until they form a meal. Whirl in mayonnaise. Vinegar-Rinse your skin. Rub in Scrub gently and thoroughly. Leave on skin for about 10 minutes. Rinse off and follow with Vinegar Rinse.
Basic Body Butter Lotion Bar
* 1 Part Beeswax
* 1 Part Cocoa OR Shea Butter
* 1 Part Carrier Oil
* 1 Part Skin-Safe Fragrance or Essential Oil
* Do not use both Cocoa Butter & Shea. Cocoa Butter will make a slightly harder bar, Shea Butter will make a slightly softer bar.
* Add Beeswax, Carrier Oil of choice and Butter of choice to a microwave safe container. A Pyrex Measuring Glass works best for cleanup purposes. Melt in 20 second increments until all is melted. Stir well. Add Fragrance of Essential Oil, and stir well. Pour in a Melt & Pour Soap mold, Push Up Stick, or Deodorant Container and let harden overnight.
* This recipe can also be used for Lip Balm, by using a Skin-Safe Flavor Oil instead of the Fragrance of Essential Oil.
Easy Sugar Scrubs
You'll need a small to medium jar, white or brown sugar to fill it near the top, and enough oil to add so the mixture is moist. You can use olive, sweet Almond, or vegetable oil. At this point you can add a 1/2 tsp. of an Essential Oil or blend of oils. Lavender, Rose Geranium, or Rose mixed with Rosemary, Lemon or Orange is nice.
If you mix oils they should all total about 1/2 tsp.-not a 1/2 tsp. each. Mix all with a spoon in the jar, cover with the lid and allow to sit at least overnight. The mixture should look "oily" and moistened. If it doesn't, add more oil.
To use: Scoop a small amount on to your hand and rub your hands and fingers gently with the scrub, not too hard. Rinse with warm water and pat dry. This leaves your hands soft, and is great after gardening!