What is better: body wash & body scrub? (Explained)


Oh, the age-old question. What can I do to keep my skin looking healthy and youthful? Taking care of your skin helps you age gracefully but is also very important for your overall health. Did you know that your skin is the largest and one of the most important organs in your body? It does much more than you might think. Our skin holds our body together and is our shield from the outside environment. It is the protective barrier for all of our internal organs and an essential part of our immune system. Our skin is our personal bodyguard working 24/7. So not only do we want to keep our skin looking good we want to keep this superhero of our body working at the tip-top shape from head to toe. So what is better for our skin? Body wash vs. body scrub? Here’s the skinny:

What is Body Wash?

The body wash is like good old fashion soap but with some added benefits. Soap and body wash both remove dirt, oil, sweat, cosmetics, and other yucky stuff from the skin, but soap tends to be harsher, drying, and a bit abrasive when compared to body wash. Unlike traditional soap, body wash contains special formulations making it gentler. It also contains special ingredients to moisturize drier, sensitive skin. 

How Body Wash Works

We all have different types of skin. Some have oily skin, some dry skin, and some have a combo of both. Here’s a little chemistry lesson. Body wash, like most skin cleansers, work when two things are combined together, s lipophilic part and a hydrophilic part. Hold on! Don’t let these new words scare you off. Since dirt is lipophilic, it won’t dissolve using only water.  Ener hydrophilic. When a hydrophilic or water-soluble part is added, a surfactant is created. Simply stated, the lipophilic part dissolves the dirt and the hydrophilic part washes it off.  Boom, Body wash!

What is Body Scrub?

One of the best ways to remove dead skin cells, generate new ones, and uncover beautifully, glowing skin is using a method known as exfoliating. Exfoliating is physically removing dead skin cells on the surface of your skin. Body scrubs are physical exfoliants that mechanically slough away dead skin cells using tiny gentle grains. The term scrub may come from combining an oil or moisture base with sugar, salt, microbeads, or even clay that assists in removing dead and dry skin. Our bodies naturally regenerate new cells a little slower than we like, so applying a body scrub exfoliator moves the process along a bit quicker. Body scrubs are one of the easiest and effective ways to exfoliate. Other body exfoliation techniques you might be aware of are using loofahs or dry brushing. In addition to amazingly smooth skin, exfoliation also reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and make skin look firmer. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, body scrubs, when applied properly can also enhance the absorption of skincare products and increase collagen production. 

Can You Use Body Scrub as Body Wash?

First and foremost unless the package indicates the product is a two in one body wash, body scrub duo, we would say, nope. These two products are created to perform different skin routine tasks. And this is why. Body wash is intended to remove the dirt, oil, impurities, cosmetics, etc., from your skin. Body Scrub is intended to exfoliate clean skin or remove dead skin cells and dry skin. Body scrubs will work much better and be more effective when the skin is fresh and clean. Most skincare lines offer both body wash and body scrub as a set, having you cleanse first, exfoliate next and finish with a moisturizer. This makes it easy, gentle, and safe to include both products into your beauty routine. However, if you are out of body wash and body scrub is the only thing you have, go ahead and scrub away. You just might not get the most effective results as using both products together.

Do you Use a Body Scrub Before or After Body Wash? 

The answer to this million-dollar question is about as easy as the answer to, “What came first, the chicken or the egg?” Our research comes right down to your skin type and its needs and your overall personal preference. The truth of the matter is there is no right or wrong answer. When you use a body wash first, you remove all the yucky dirt, oil, sweat, and impurities from the skin. This allows the body scrub to work its magic better offering a better exfoliation experience. Plus most body scrubs will work wonders without stripping your skin of its moisture, which is one more benefit of using body wash first. 

Now for all you fans of body scrubbers as your first step. It’s totally ok and effective but in a different way. If you are someone who has oily skin, for example, body scrubs that have high amounts of moisturizers and oil may leave your skin feeling weighted and greasy, even after rinsing. So if you use your body scrub first, you are in a way, prepping your skin for a fresh exfoliated surface. Then using body wash afterward will remove the residue from the body scrub. This will result in more comfortable glowing skin. So, you are the judge. Experiment to see what works best for you. Experts recommend that everyone use both body scrub and body wash in their skincare routines. It doesn’t matter what comes first, the wash, or the scrub.

How Many Times A Week Should You Use A Body Scrub?

Now here’s another million-dollar question. How many times a week should you use a body scrub? According to our skincare experts at Aveeno.com, how frequently you should use a body scrub totally depends on your skin type. Your skin will “tell you” when it’s time. They suggest those with dry skin, exfoliate two to three times weekly with a body scrub that includes moisturizing oils and sloughing ingredients. If you have sensitive skin, once a week using a gentle product is enough. If you have combination skin, experiment. They say the rule of thumb is most skin types do great using body scrubs once or twice per week. Always remember to moisturize the days you don’t exfoliate because that is the key to making your skin soft and healthy. Always refer to the packaging for their recommendations.

Are Body Scrubs Bad for Your Skin?

Remember that our skin is one of our largest organs, our personal bodyguard, and is an important part of our immune system. The last thing we want to do is use harsh products that could disrupt the skin barrier allowing harmful germs, bacteria, viruses, and other bad things to get in. That said, body scrubs that include gentle exfoliants and that are used properly are perfectly safe and effective. According to an article in Reviewed.com, “the key is really using products that are gentle and aren’t going to tear the skin. There are some body scrubs that contain harsh ingredients like sharp ground nutshell pieces that can cause skin damage. If the particles used in the body scrub are rough or sharp or if too much pressure is applied to the skin, tiny microscopic tears can occur leaving the skin vulnerable to infections. Body scrubs that use gentler ingredients like sea salt, finely granulated sugar, jojoba beads, or even leftover coffee grounds that are combined with a moisturizing base like olive oil or avocados are perfectly fine and safe. Always use a moisturizer after a body scrub to lock in the skin’s moisture and protect or even repair the skin’s barrier.

Sugar Scrub or Salt Scrub, How To Choose?

Some of the best body scrub ingredients are found right in the kitchen pantry. Two of the most popular ones are sugar and sea salt. But which one works better and provides the best results? This is another one of those personal preferences that might require a bit of experimentation. Keep in mind that no two skin types or needs are the same. Let’s start with sugar. Sugar granules are rounder than salt creating a less abrasive scrub. Sugar body scrub is the better choice for the face, neck, and for those who have sensitive skin. Unlike salt, sugar body scrubs dissolve in water and make a gentler manual exfoliation for removing dead skin cells and revealing fresh skin. Sugar scrubs can be used two or three times each week.

Now moving onto salt body scrubs. They manually exfoliate and eliminate dead skin cells, but also offer detoxification benefits. Salt body scrubs pull toxins out of the body and ease inflammation. Salt body scrubs should be applied to dryer skin including the hands, feet, elbows, and legs. Unfortunately, those who have sensitive skin should not use salt body scrubs. Sea salt scrubs are more abrasive and should only be applied once per week.