Wellness: Make Your Own Sugar Scrub

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Saving Face

To exfoliate or not exfoliate: that is the question.

I have extra sensitive skin, so I’ve decided not to scrub my face with sandpaper to make it “glow” like an exfoliant label will advertise. I currently use a skin product with AHA, which is a chemical exfoliant. It does more of a gradual peel of dead skin rather than a rough scrape. I prefer Paula’s Choice AHA now, but Yonka is also a good brand for gentle exfoliation.

For the Body

Exfoliating my body is a different story. I can’t tell you about the science behind it. Maybe the skin is thicker, maybe not. Maybe since I have abused that part of my body less, it is more resilient now. I have no idea. Dermatologists, chime in. Or not.

Ever since I learned about chemical exfoliation for my face, though, I have been less likely to exfoliate the rest of my body. It’s also such a chore. During particularly busy seasons of my life, taking a shower is a victory.

For Christmas, my sister-in-law made me a salt scrub that is so beautiful and luxurious. It’s made with course Himalayan Sea salt and grapefruit essential oil (I’m guessing). It’s a super cool exfoliation option, too, especially since the salt won’t contaminate the wastewater system.

In Kate Lebo’s book, The Book of Difficult Fruit, she has a sugar scrub recipe, which inspired me to make my own. This scrub sounds luxurious, and it has less environmental impact than those exfoliating beads on the market.

You can add essential oil to this scrub, but if you have sensitive skin, try it without. If you’re thinking of adding any essential oils, do a patch test first with a carrier oil (sweet almond, grapeseed, jojoba).

Try the recipe below. If your septic system is super sensitive, forgo the oil and just use the sugar. You can always use the oil as a moisturizer post bath or shower.

Sugar scrub recipe from The Book of Difficult Fruit: “In a medium bowl, combine 2.5 cups cane sugar…with 1 cup sweet almond oil. Add scented essential oil to perfume the scrub, as much as you like. Pour the scrub into an airtight jar and leave the jar in the shower for easy access. To exfoliate skin, first soak yourself in hot water, then scoop some sugar scrub from the jar…and rub it all over…” (Lebo, 2021).

You know the rest… Have fun!


Lebo, Kate. (2021). Farrar, Strauss and Giroux. The Book of Difficult Fruit.