Body scrubs usually come in the form of pastes containing an abrasive substance, such as salt or sugar, and a binding ingredient, such as an oil. As they consist of simple products, people can often make DIY body scrubs at home using everyday ingredients.

Body scrubs can be useful for removing dead skin cells, smoothing the skin’s surface, and adding moisture. However, as they are abrasive, it is best not to use them on sensitive, damaged, inflamed, or itchy skin.

This article explores the benefits of body scrubs, how to make DIY body scrubs, and how to use them.

 A close-up of someone's hands as they grate lime zest into a bowl in a kitchen while making DIY body scrub.Share on Pinterest
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Body scrubs are mechanical exfoliants, meaning they physically remove dead skin cells from the top layer of the skin. For some, this helps smooth the skin and improve its appearance.

Other methods of mechanical exfoliation include:

  • dry skin brushing
  • using a loofah
  • using face cloths

Scrubs can be advantageous over other methods. By making them at home, people can customize them for their needs, adjusting how abrasive they are.

For example, those who prefer a more gentle scrub may choose a finely-ground powder as the base, while individuals with dry skin can add hydrating oils.

However, body scrubs are not suitable for everyone. The American Academy of Dermatology says that mechanical exfoliation can irritate dry or sensitive skin. Aggressive scrubbing can also worsen acne and may cause dark spots in people with darker skin tones.

To make a body scrub at home, people need the following tools:

  • a clean bowl
  • a spoon and spatula
  • a manual or electric whisk
  • measuring devices such as spoons or cups
  • pipettes for adding colors or fragrances

The basic ingredients for most DIY body scrubs include:

  • an exfoliant, such as sugar or salt
  • something to bind it together, such as almond oil or honey
  • essential oils or fragrance, although these are optional

People can use the following as a basic template for making a DIY body scrub:

  • 1 part oil
  • 2–3 parts exfoliant, depending on the substance a person uses and the desired texture
  • 10–15 drops of essential oil, if required

Simply combine the ingredients in a bowl, then store them in an airtight container.

Coffee grounds can make a suitable addition to a body scrub, working as an exfoliant and adding a natural scent.

Coffee also contains caffeine, which may have additional benefits. For example, a small 2015 study found that a slimming cream containing 3.5% caffeine was an effective and safe treatment for reducing the appearance of cellulite.

People can also use fresh coffee grounds for a coarser body scrub or brewed grounds for a softer scrub.

Ingredients:

  • half a cup of coffee grounds
  • a quarter cup of brown sugar
  • a quarter cup of fractionated coconut oil

Method:

  1. Mix all ingredients together.
  2. Place in an airtight container.
  3. Store in a refrigerator to prevent mold and use within 2 weeks.

Note that some oils solidify at cold temperatures. Placing the container in warm water can help warm the mixture back into a liquid.

Sugar is a popular scrub ingredient as it is inexpensive and dissolves in water, making it less messy than other exfoliants. Additionally, fine sugar can be useful for exfoliating people’s lips.

This recipe uses rose essential oil for fragrance, while the pink clay adds another form of gentle exfoliation. It also turns the scrub a pleasant pastel color.

Ingredients:

  • half a cup of fine white sugar
  • a quarter cup of preferred carrier oil, such as jojoba or almond
  • 3 teaspoons (tsps) of pink clay powder
  • 10 drops of rose essential oil
  • dried rose petals (optional)

Method:

  1. Place the sugar in a bowl and add the carrier oil, pink clay, and essential oil.
  2. Whisk together until the mixture combines.
  3. Either add rose petals and stir with a spoon to mix, or place the mixture in an airtight container and add them as a decoration on top.

Salt is another popular base for home and store scrubs. They can be coarser than sugar scrubs, making them useful for areas of the body with rougher skin, such as the feet or hands.

There are many types of salt people can use for salt scrubs. This recipe uses sea salt, which typically has a coarse, flaky texture.

Ingredients

  • 1 to 1 and a half cup(s) of salt
  • half a cup of fractionated coconut oil
  • grated zest of 1 lemon
  • grated zest of 1 lime

Method:

  • Add all the ingredients to a mixing bowl.
  • Stir thoroughly to ensure an even mix.
  • Test the texture of the scrub, adding more salt or more oil to adjust.
  • Spoon the mixture into an airtight container.

If a person prefers not to use oils in their scrub, honey can be a suitable alternative. Some types of honey are antimicrobial, which may have benefits for skin health and the scrub itself, as it can reduce bacteria growth.

The polyphenols in green tea can also make it a good addition to skin care products, as they may help protect the skin from UV light damage. It also contains epigallocatechin‐3‐gallate, an antioxidant with antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.

Ingredients:

  • a three-quarter cup of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of loose green tea
  • 1 tsp of matcha tea powder
  • runny honey
  • 6 drops of lemon or bergamot essential oil (optional)

Method:

  1. Add the sugar, loose leaf tea, and matcha tea to a mixing bowl. Stir together to combine.
  2. Begin drizzling in the honey gradually while stirring the mixture. Stop adding honey when the scrub has the right texture.
  3. Add a few drops of lemon essential oil if required and mix again.
  4. Spoon the scrub into an airtight container.

However, note that citrus essential oils can irritate certain people’s skin. If this could be an issue, leave out this ingredient or swap for grated lemon zest.

The first step to using DIY body scrubs safely is by conducting a patch test. This involves applying a small amount of the product to a small area of skin and washing it off.

If the skin shows no reaction after 24–48 hours, the product may be safe to use.

To use a DIY body scrub in the bath or shower, follow these steps:

  1. Dampen the skin with water.
  2. Apply the body scrub using small, circular motions for 30 seconds.
  3. Wash off with lukewarm water.
  4. Pat the skin dry with a clean towel. Rubbing may remove some of the oils left on the skin.

If the skin feels dry or tight after use, apply a moisturizer. Should the scrub trigger any redness, irritation, or other adverse reactions, rinse it off thoroughly with a gentle cleanser and do not use it again.

People should not use body scrubs of any kind if they have:

Wherever possible, individuals should speak with a doctor if they have persistent skin concerns or symptoms.

DIY body scrubs can be an inexpensive way to exfoliate the skin, and people can often make them at home with everyday ingredients. Adding extra ingredients, such as essential oils, can also make using body scrubs a relaxing experience.