Body scrubs are great at exfoliating your skin. Most often, people use them in the shower, but you can use them anytime you feel like you need to slough away dead skin cells or to renew your skin’s glow. With the popularity of body scrubs, there are lots of formulations to try. Here’s a breakdown of what’s in body scrubs, how they work and how best to use them.

How Are Body Scrubs Formulated?

The primary role of a body scrub is to rid the skin of dead surface cells. After use, your skin will be instantly softer, smoother, and feel great to touch. Since body scrubs have to slough away dead cells, they all contain some kind of granular ingredient. For this purpose, most body scrubs contain either salt, sugar, or a combination of both. Since salt and sugar both dissolve in water, they are equally good as a body scrub ingredient. Other granular substances commonly used in body scrubs include seeds and even ground fruit pits.

Body scrubs also contain an emollient, because the secondary purpose of a body scrub is to leave skin softer, and the granular ingredient won’t do that alone. So body scrubs also contain an oil such as almond oil, grape seed oil, avocado oil, shea nut oil, or jojoba oil. Many body scrubs contain not one, but a combination of oils to soften and moisturize skin. Finally, if your body scrub brand claims to have cleansing properties, it most likely will contain sodium lauryl sulfate, a gentle foaming ingredient.

How Body Scrubs Work

Body scrubs work by acting like a natural loofah on your skin. The granular ingredients slough away dead skin cells, while the emollients provide a barrier to keep moisture in your skin, and smooth the surface. This is why regular use of a body scrub not only softens skin right after your shower, but for the long term, too.

How to Use Body Scrubs

Body scrubs are perfect for use in the shower, but for best results, wait until the end of your shower to apply. That’s when dead skin cells are more easily removed. You can also use a body scrub effectively after a sauna, when pores are open.

To apply a body scrub, use only your hands. Using a loofah or scrubby might be too rough on skin. Firm but gentle pressure in a circular motion with your bare hands is sufficient to get good results from any body scrub.

Choosing a body scrub that’s right for you really has to do with the ingredients, the scent and the consistency. Opt for on you’ll enjoy using, and that gives you the results you’re hoping for.