[ Info: The Skinny on Scrubs ] ~ from Monterey Bay Herb Company
Peel Away from Winter Header
Now that winter weather has finally (okay, hopefully) come and gone, it's time to peel away the bulky layers and spring into the warmer half of the year. As welcoming as the transition may be, what lies beneath sometimes comes as a surprise, if not a downright disappointment.
If the reflection staring back from the mirror looks a bit peaked, it's time for action. In fact, when it comes to getting your likeness back into likeable shape, March madness has nothing to do with basketball and everything to do with scoring comfortable skin.

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About the Exfoliates

[ The Skinny on Scrubs: Shell Game ] ~ from Monterey Bay Spice

a. more than skin deep

Your skin is a remarkable organ, the largest one you have. Weighing an average of nine pounds and equipped with about 300 million cells and 11 miles of blood vessels, your "casing" regulates body temperature, manufactures vitamin D and is your first defense against germ invasion, ultraviolet light and harsh weather. The next time you hear the expression "skin deep" or something "makes your skin crawl," consider that a square inch of your hide is only 0.07 inches thick but contains 72 feet of nerve fibers that fire off electrical impulses in excess of 250 mph.

Since you shed roughly 50,000 skin cells every 60 seconds and grow a whole new outer layer every 28 days without effort, it's clear that your skin is an organ of elimination and regeneration. Unfortunately, as time marches on, it tends to do so across your face, while stamping a few more creases on your birthday suit as evidence of each passing year. But with a little TLC, you can keep your outer crust from becoming crusty. In addition to a healthy diet and lifestyle, the occasional use of a skin scrub will exfoliate dead cells and stimulate cell turnover – and result in a glowing new you.

[ lavender ] ~ from Monterey Bay Herb Company
[ orange peel ] ~ from Monterey Bay Herb Company

[ The Skinny on Scrubs: Mix and Match ] ~ from Monterey Bay Spice

b. base ingredients

Face and body scrubs consist of various raw materials. Sugar and salt are the most common base ingredients, mostly because they’re usually on hand. Because sugar and salt are available in varying degrees of coarseness, the texture of the finished product is controlled by the type used. Granulated or brown sugar, for example, have a much smaller particle size than raw cane (turbinado) sugar. Similarly, there’s quite a difference in granularity between fine table salt and sea salt.

There are plenty of other base ingredients that are suitable for face and body scrubs that are likely found in your kitchen or pantry as well. These include cocoa powder, oat flakes and the same ground coffee that produced your morning cup of java. In the botanical department, dried rose petals, calendula flowers, lavender buds and orange peel bits are excellent partners to invite to the party.

[ calendula ] ~ from Monterey Bay Herb Company
[ rose petals ] ~ from Monterey Bay Herb Company

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About the Oils

[ The Skinny on Scrubs: Essential Oils ] ~ from Monterey Bay Spice

c. essential oils

Essential oils are the volatile oils of plants that are extracted by steam distillation. They are so-called because they contain the “essence” or the imprint of the parent plant in terms of unique chemical properties and scent.

Nothing underscores the proper use of essential oils as the term “a little goes a long way.” Because these oils are super concentrated, they can be irritating to skin applied “neat” or without dilution. Not all essential oils are created equal either. Eugenol, for example, better known as clove oil, might subdue a throbbing toothache when applied to the gum, but the strong smell and burning sensation on your face will be anything but dull. Lavender, orange, lemongrass or mint, however, used sparingly, benefit both skin cells and olfactory sensors.

[ lavender essential oil ] ~ from Monterey Bay Herb Company
lavender essential oil >

[ The Skinny on Scrubs: Carrier Oils ] ~ from Monterey Bay Spice

d. carrier oils

As the term implies, these are the oils that “carry” the essential oils in a cosmetic formula. Aside from serving as a vehicle for the dilution of essential oils, carrier oils bring their own characteristics into the mix. For one thing, they act as emulsifying agents that allow scrub ingredients to combine and stay together. Carrier oils also act as surfactants to reduce the surface tension so that the scrub spreads across the skin and washes off cleanly with water.

Some of the best carrier oils to use for face and body scrubs include sweet almond, grapeseed, apricot kernel and coconut oils. Note that the latter is a solid at room temperature, but melts on contact with skin.

[ apricot kernel carrier oil ] ~ from Monterey Bay Herb Company
apricot kernel carrier oil >

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About the Differences in Carrier Oils

[ apricot kernel carrier oil ] ~ from Monterey Bay Herb Company
Apricot Oil is good for all skin types. It is very rich and nourishing—particularly in vitamin A. It has very little scent and absorbs into skin quickly.
[ avocado carrier oil ] ~ from Monterey Bay Herb Company
Small amounts of Avocado Oil are typically added to other carrier oils in order to enrich protein and vitamin content.

[ coconut carrier oil ] ~ from Monterey Bay Herb Company
Coconut Oil is used to create a barrier on the skin. It is also the preferred oil for high quality cold process soapers.
[ grapeseed carrier oil ] ~ from Monterey Bay Herb Company
Grapeseed Oil is the preferred carrier oil for many massage therapists because of its light satin-like finish. It also has some astringent qualities and is good for oily, acne-prone skin.

[ jojoba carrier oil ] ~ from Monterey Bay Herb Company
In actuality, Jojoba Oil is a liquid wax. It closely resembles the sebum of the skin, and is rich in vitamin E. This promotes a glowing complexion.
[ rose hip seed carrier oil ] ~ from Monterey Bay Herb Company
Rosehip Oil is extremely high in essential fatty acids and is known to help treat dry, irritated, weathered skin. It is also suitable for applying to scars and stretch marks. Not for acne-prone skin.

[ safflower carrier oil ] ~ from Monterey Bay Herb Company
Safflower Oil is very popular in massage blends as it is easily absorbed, and can be washed from sheets without heavy staining. Also a popular industry choice for moisturizing cosmetics.
[ sesame seed carrier oil ] ~ from Monterey Bay Herb Company
Sesame Oil is rich in vitamins E and B, and in minerals such as calcium, magnesium and phosphorus. It is an excellent emollient. When diluted with other carrier oils it is popular for massage.

[ sweet almond carrier oil ] ~ from Monterey Bay Herb Company
Sweet Almond Oil is an excellent emollient and is known for its ability to soften and re-condition the skin. It is rich in proteins and vitamin D, and is considered extremely nourishing. Can stain sheets.

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Exfoliate Recipes

Lavender Coffee Facial Scrub
Peppermint Foot Scrub
Sweet Orange & Chocolate Lip Scrub
Irish Cream Body Polish
Vanilla Mocha Salt Scrub
Coconut Lemongrass Hand Scrub