What is a Salt Scrub?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Orange peel is often included in a salt scrub.
Orange peel is often included in a salt scrub.

A salt scrub is a formulation of salt and other ingredients which is used to exfoliate dead skin from the body, leaving fresh skin behind and nourishing that skin with herbal ingredients. Salt scrubs are often sold in bath stores and drug stores so that people can apply them at home, and salt scrubs are also offered as body treatments in spas. In addition to purchasing packaged salt scrubs, consumers can also make their own, if they want to experiment with ingredients and textures.

A salt scrub.
A salt scrub.

Regular exfoliation promotes healthy, glowing skin by removing layers of detritus and dead material all at once. A number of body products are designed for exfoliation, including sugar scrubs and scrubs with ingredients like ground nutshells and loofah. Most salt scrubs should not be used on people with sensitive skin, since salt can be abrasive and harsh; you may want to test a small patch of salt scrub on your skin before doing your whole body. Users can control the level of exfoliation by altering the grain of the salt used. It is possible to find very fine salt scrubs which use carefully ground salts, along with much more coarse scrubs with large grains which will deeply penetrate, removing more dead skin.

Lavender may be added to a salt scrub.
Lavender may be added to a salt scrub.

Most salt scrubs use sea salt or Dead Sea salts, rather than rock salt mined from under the Earth. Various salts have differing amounts of trace minerals which can help to nourish the skin while it is scrubbed, and Dead Sea salts in particular are prized for their cosmetic and skin soothing value. The salts are then combined with herbal ingredients to create a desired scent or to promote healthy skin. These ingredients can include things like lavender, rosemary, orange peels, figs, lemons, lemongrass, herb blends, spices, and seaweed, though not all together.

Scrubs should be suited to a person's specific skin type.
Scrubs should be suited to a person's specific skin type.

Once the salt and herb blend is created, a salt scrub can be applied as-is or mixed with a small amount of oil to create a paste which is rubbed onto the skin. The trick with a salt scrub is only applying a small amount of salt at a time, ensuring the the skin is thoroughly scraped. A thick handful of salt can be less effective, because the grains of salt transfer their energy to each other, rather to the skin. The oil and herbal ingredients in the salt scrub help to polish the skin while it is being exfoliated.

Loofahs may be used to make salt scrubs.
Loofahs may be used to make salt scrubs.

Spas sometimes refer to salt scrubs as salt glows or polishes because they often leave the skin with a hint of a shimmer. A salt glow can also be an invigorating experience for spa clients, especially when invigorating herbal ingredients like lemons are used. After a salt scrub has been applied, a crust of salt and herbs is left on the body, and most people prefer to quickly shower to remove this layer of detritus. After showering, a moisturizing body butter, oil, or cream can be applied to nourish the skin after the brisk effects of the scrub, and in a spa a salt scrub may be followed by a body wrap or a massage, if a client requests these services.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments

nightlights

Like the article says, if you have sensitive skin be careful! Also if you are at the spa having a salt scrub done, don't be afraid to tell the person if they are scrubbing too hard! I made that mistake and ended up with a burning sensation for hours instead of a relaxing afternoon!

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    • Orange peel is often included in a salt scrub.
      Orange peel is often included in a salt scrub.
    • A salt scrub.
      A salt scrub.
    • Lavender may be added to a salt scrub.
      Lavender may be added to a salt scrub.
    • Scrubs should be suited to a person's specific skin type.
      Scrubs should be suited to a person's specific skin type.
    • Loofahs may be used to make salt scrubs.
      Loofahs may be used to make salt scrubs.
    • Dead Sea salts are particularly soothing to skin.
      Dead Sea salts are particularly soothing to skin.