Family Health


Salt Scrub vs Sugar Scrub: A Beauty Breakdown For Your Skin

Natural skin peeling hands. Massage of female hands peeling preparation Spa & Wellness

Salt Scrub vs Sugar Scrub: A Beauty Breakdown For Your Skin

Taking care of your skin is a vital matter. Many people choose to get skin and beauty treatments to rejuvenate and exfoliate their skin. This keeps their skin clear, glowing, and healthy. However, the high prices of spa treatments oftentimes deter people from going outside the home to accomplish this. Instead, there are plenty of at-home products on the market that can be used to exfoliate and relax skin of all different types and textures.

The base of these is usually either a salt scrub or a sugar scrub. The reasons that people use these two specific scrubs are that they help to remove dead skin. This allows for a pure, soft, and refreshed look and feel. However, many are unsure whether they should be using a salt scrub or a sugar scrub. Sometimes, people don't even know the difference between the two. While this is not uncommon, it's important to know which to use and when to use it.

Close up portrait of glad African American woman massages cheeks, applies sea salt scrub, looks away, has gentle smile, shows white teeth, wears turquoise towel, happy to get spa treatments.
Salt scrubs and sugar scrubs have different properties that react with skin differently.

©Cast Of Thousands/Shutterstock.com

What Is Exfoliating?

Exfoliation is the process by which a person removes dead skin cells from their body. This is done in a variety of ways. It can be done using a tool, a chemical, or even a specific substance. Many people opt to use exfoliating scrubs, as they are safe and are not expensive. Individuals exfoliate their skin for a variety of reasons.

Exfoliating is proven to help brighten and tone skin. In addition, it also helps to keep skin blemish free and unclog pores. This leads to fewer breakouts and blackheads, overall. In addition, it can reduce wrinkles and age lines in individuals. The more often a person exfoliates and uses products for the process, the more results they will see.

There are many different ways of exfoliating the skin. For example, many spas and even individuals who exfoliate at home have multiple products they like to use. Scrubs are an easy and inexpensive way to exfoliate your skin. Many scrubs can be purchased online, in a store, or even made at home with household products.

The texture of a yellow shining scrub on a beige background.
People can make scrubs at home with many household products such as honey, sugar, salt, and oils.


Salt Scrubs

Salt scrubs are typically skin scrubs made from coarse types of salt that are used to exfoliate the skin and remove dead skin cells. These types of scrubs tend to be harsh and abrasive on the skin. There are mainly two different types of salt scrubs that you can make or purchase. These are wet salt scrubs and dry salt scrubs.

Dry salt scrubs usually do not contain any water or other moisture-adding ingredients. They are made with raw products, such as coarse salts and other dry ingredients. Wet salt scrubs, on the other hand, are made with water or oil additives. These things allow for the skin to not only be exfoliated but also moisturized, as well.

Pros of Salt Scrubs

Salt scrubs can be beneficial in a variety of ways. They are an easy way to exfoliate the skin and remove dead skin cells that are left on the body. They are also a good way to detoxify your body. Salts work as a detoxing agent. They are also anti-inflammatory, so they can help with swelling and other issues of the skin. Many athletes and those who work out enjoy using salt scrubs because they help to reduce swelling and inflammation. Many people like salt scrubs because they also can tone and tighten skin. This means that it helps to reduce wrinkles and can also tighten areas of the body.

Cons of Salt Scrubs

Salt scrubs, while beneficial to some, are also extremely harsh on the skin. If you are someone who has very sensitive skin, it can irritate and also be too harsh. This can be an issue for many individuals, especially those who are older. If you have a condition such as psoriasis, eczema, or other dermatological skin conditions, salt scrubs may not be the way to go for you. These type of scrubs can be dehydrating, furthering any skin issues you may have.

Woman enjoying a salt scrub massage at spa
Salt scrubs can be beneficial in detoxifying the skin.


Sugar Scrubs

Sugar scrubs are also an exfoliator that is used to take off dead skin and remove any excess that is on your body. They are made up of small sugar cubes or pieces and are usually mixed with other ingredients. In contrast to salt scrubs, sugar scrubs are far less harsh on the skin and tend to be good for those with sensitive skin and skin conditions or disorders.

Some sugar, when not processed, holds a lot of nutrients and benefits. Unrefined sugar is much harsher and coarse than your traditional table sugar. Unrefined sugar has a ton of vitamins and minerals that can be used to help nourish your body and your skin.

Pros of Sugar Scrubs

Sugar scrubs are great for those looking to exfoliate their skin and body, without the harshness and irritation of salt. It is a favorite of many who have skin conditions and dermatological issues. In addition, sugar scrubs smell great and leave your skin glowing and moisturized, as well as clean. Using refined sugar in a sugar scrub allows for the added benefits of minerals and vitamins, as well as nutrients.

Many people like to use sugar scrubs before going to the beach or to the pool, as it allows the skin to attract the sunlight, as well. This allows for a better tanning experience. Sugar also is known to brighten the skin overall.

Cons of Sugar Scrubs

Because sugar scrubs are a bit gentler than salt scrubs, they tend to not get down deep into the pores as much as a salt scrub. In addition, they will exfoliate and moisturize your skin, but they do not offer as many properties beyond this as a salt scrub would. In addition, if you are using refined sugar, it's not best to use it on your face, and simply stick to your body.

Body scrub, petals and sugar on wooden background
Sugar scrubs are more gentle on the skin than salt scrubs can be.

©Africa Studio/Shutterstock.com

The Bottom Line

Infographic comparing salt and sugar scrubs.
Salt scrubs are harsher on the skin compared to sugar scrubs.
  • Given the coarse nature of salt, it's no surprise that it tends to be harsher on the skin. Conversely, sugar is very gentle on the skin.
  • Since it's quite harsh on skin, a salt scrub is not ideal for those with sensitive skin. If you fall under this category, it's best to go for a sugar scrub.
  • Unfortunately, a sugar scrub can't offer as comprehensive of an exfoliation as a salt scrub. It can still do a good enough job, though!

If you are looking to exfoliate and clear up your skin and blocked pores, using a salt or sugar scrub may be a great idea. However, you want to make sure that you do ample research before just purchasing any one. If you are someone who has sensitive skin, using a sugar scrub is your best bet. This will help to keep your skin moisturized and safe while exfoliating.

On the other hand, for detoxifying your skin and getting deep down into the pores, salt scrubs can work well for you, too. Salt scrubs have anti-inflammatory and anti-aging properties, in addition to being an exfoliant. Be sure to read all of the ingredients before purchasing scrubs or do research before making your own at home.

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coconut oil and toothbrushes

Coconut Oil Face Scrub

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  • Author: MomsWhoThink.com


  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 23 drops of essential oil (optional)

Essential oils:

  • Lemon
  • Lavender
  • Frankincense
  • Melaleuca


  1. Stir the ingredients together until the sugar, oil, and baking soda are well combined. You should have a grainy but spreadable paste.
  2. You can adjust the oil quantity to achieve your desired consistency. If your coconut oil is solid at room temperature, you may need to melt it slightly to mix it with the sugar.
  3. If desired, add a few drops of essential oil to the mixture. Essential oils not only add a pleasant fragrance but also offer various skincare benefits. Be cautious with essential oils and do a patch test if you have sensitive skin.


If you are making enough to store in a container, just keep doubling the recipe until you have the amount you want.

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