Sugar versus salt. You know how to use them in the kitchen, but when it comes to your beauty regimen most people don’t know the difference.

Most store bought scrubs look the same — small grains of salt or sugar packed in fragrant coconut or mango gels that conjure up memories of distant paradise vacations. A closer look though reveals their differences, not to mention their own unique skin care benefits.

The coarse grains in both salt and sugar help slough off dead cells on the skin’s top layer to reveal the rejuvenated, glowing skin underneath. Salt — especially extra coarse sea salt — is more abrasive than sugar and is particularly effective in trouble spots like your heals, knees and elbows.

It’s also great for acne-prone skin because it absorbs excess oils. Sugar on the other hand are gentler and are recommended for more sensitive skin.

We’ve gathered all the info for a deep dive into the benefits of both salt and sugar and a revealing look at when to use which.

Let’s talk about Salt

Salt is a natural antiseptic that kills bacteria and fungus and is particularly effective on parts of the body where skin is natural rough. It also serves a detoxifying agent, helping to remove impurities and flush toxins from the body and acne prone areas.


  • 1/2 cup of natural, essential or aromatherapy oil. (Sweet almond or jojoba are recommended for face scrubs, while grapeseed or other light-textured massage oil will work for a general body scrub.)
  • 1 cup sea salt
  • 5-15 drops of fragrant essential oils (lavender, lemongrass or rosemary)


  • Place the salt in a small clean bowl.
  • Add the oil, mixing well with a wooden spoon. The texture should be moist enough to hold together, but not overly oily.
  • Gently tap in drops of essential oil and combine well with the rest of the mixture.
  • Use the scrub once a week after soaking the skin in warm water.

Sea salt is made by the evaporation of sea water through a process that retains many of its trace minerals which are essential for healthy skin. The unique mineral content of sea salt has many therapeutic qualities that go beyond exfoliation. Research has shown that high magnesium content of sea salts can be an excellent remedy for muscle pain and spasms, helping to reduce cramps and promote better blood circulation.

Dead Sea salts are believed to contain the highest amount of essential minerals like magnesium, potassium, calcium chloride and bromides. Not to mention that the waters of the Dead Sea contain a whopping 27% of various salts, compared to just 3%of regular sea (or ocean) water. It’s no wonder that people who suffer from serious skin problems like psoriasis and other dermatological conditions have found refuge in the salty waters of the Dead Sea.

Recent research into the benefits of sea salt have also revealed that Dead Sea salts improved the skin’s overall hydration levels. This means that using salt scrubs helps to not only buff away dead skin cells, it also locks in more moisture which in turns reduces the appearance of wrinkles and helps prevent new ones from forming.

We’ve already mentioned blood circulation, but it’s worth noting that massaging the skin with a Dead Sea salt scrub can help draw blood to the skin’s surface — releasing toxins and while promoting healing and regeneration of fresh, new skin cells.

When choosing a store-bought sea salt scrub, make sure to check the contents. Good scrubs should not have too many chemical agents and unpronounceable ingredients. Products that use natural oils and pure forms of salt will yield the best results without further clogging your pores or causing unnecessary irritations. Check out Natura Siberica’s “Sauna and SPA” Cedar Salt Body scrub, created with natural oils of cedar and red juniper, and organic sage. You’ll also love “Skin Tonic” a mineral salt body scrub made with Dead Sea salt and paprika oil.

If you’re in the mood for a DIY project and would like to make your own salt scrub at home, here’s what you’ll need.

Sweet as Sugar

Sugar scrubs are much gentler on your skin than salt scrubs. The smaller grains dissolve readily in warm water and are great for those sensitive areas where the skin is particularly thin.


  • 1/2 cup brown or raw sugar
  • 1/2 cup of coconut oil
  • 5-7 drops of fragrant essential oils (optional)


  • Pour the sugar into a clean, dry bowl or glass jar and add coconut oil.
  • Mix together well and tap in the essential oils if desired. If you’re planning to use the sugar scrub on your face, we recommend to just include the basic ingredients as essential oils can sometimes cause irritations.
  • Scoop with a spoon and use in the shower.

Sugar also contains glycol acid crucial for maintaining a healthy, glowing skin. The glycolic acid helps condition and moisturize the skin, protecting it from toxins.

Exfoliating with sugar does not relax the muscles the way salt does, but it does relax the mind with its delicious smell.

Brown sugar is gentler on your skin than processed white sugar which can sometimes feel abrasive. It is also a great option when you need that deep scrub action without the stinging irritation that sometimes occurs when scrubbing with salts — particularly if you’ve just shaved or have minor cuts or bruising on the skin. Sugar also extends well beyond just the skin — it’s a wonderful remedy for an itchy and dandruff-prone scalp.

For a gentle and deliciously fragrant body scrub, try “Icy Sugar” by Natura Siberica made with arctic raspberry oils, organic shea butter and natural sugar from sugar beets.

Here’s a simple sugar scrub recipe that you can make at home.

Once you get the basics of sugar scrubs, you can add ingredients like oatmeal or citrus juice to make them uniquely your own.

Summer is the perfect time to experiment with body scrubs and we’d love to hear about your experiences. Let us know what you think of the body scrubs mentioned above and share your favorite DIY scrubs to make at home. Leave a comment below or connect with us on Facebook.

Happy Scrubbing!