We’re honoring Earth Month through the next few days and as exfoliation is a topic we’ve been dealing with recently, it’s only natural that we’d want to get in on the organic exfoliating action of the things we can naturally grow in our own gardens (most of them, at least).
Before we get started with the recipes, it’s vital to understand that effective skin care depends on the effective balance of your skin’s pH level. That means that even something labeled as natural, may not be the best option for your skin.
The pH Level Lowdown
PH levels are measures of acidity and alkalinity and if these go out of balance, the body and skin essentially begin to show problems. It’s important to care for your skin with the right pH balance or you may very well be doing greater damage to your skin.
Neutral pH: 7
The skin’s pH: 4.5 – 5.5
The skin’s pH is slightly acidic in order to control the bacteria that it comes into contact with. The epidermis is your body’s first line of defense against external threats.
So, with that quick science and chemistry lesson underway, let’s get into those DIY exfoliates.
Our Top 10 Suggestions For Natural Exfoliating Recipes That Are Perfect for Your Skin
1. Sugar and Essential Oils
Sugar is a general favorite in exfoliating scrubs and for good reason. Taking in too much sugar in your diet can cause the body’s pH level to become acidic. However, using sugar granules on the skin as an exfoliating scrub can be very effective. Pair the sugar scrub with your favorite essential oil.
1 teaspoon of brown sugar combined with half a teaspoon olive oil and just one drop of your chosen essential oil should do the trick. We suggest using Ylang Ylang and geranium (just a drop of each) essential oils, however, if you’d like to supplement that with a choice of your own, be sure to do your research regarding the pH level of the essential oil and whether or not the oil has phototoxicity properties.
2. Coconut Oil, Honey, and Sugar
The honey and the coconut oil balance each other out in this luxury skin scrub, while the sugar is great for exfoliation. You are welcome to add an essential oil of your choice for a lovely smell here, but it is not necessary.
1 tablespoon brown sugar, half a tablespoon coconut oil and a squirt of lemon is enough for this recipe. Rose essential oil is great for this mixture as it provides relief to dry skin.
3. Coffee, Olive Oil, and Organic Honey
This gloriously rich natural exfoliate is great for a good start to the day. Olive oil is gentle on the skin while the honey works to balance the skin’s mantle pH level and provides anti-bacterial properties at the same time. Coffee is known to be acidic to the body and doesn’t necessarily offer the best health benefits, but using a teaspoon of coffee granules as an exfoliator can have remarkable results.
Mix this sticky paste by adding 1 teaspoon ground coffee, 1 teaspoon olive oil and half a teaspoon honey. Apply to the skin and allow for the scrub to stand for a few minutes. Five is usually a good number to go by. Olive oil is an effective moisturizer, so you may find that there is no need to apply a moisturizing cream afterward.
4. Oatmeal Scrub
Oatmeal has a soothing effect on the skin and is a relatively popular ingredient for use in skin care products – especially those that target sensitive or problematic skin. Take your oatmeal skin care to the next level by making it all natural with this simple, yet effective scrub.
Combine a tablespoon ground oatmeal with a pinch (less than a teaspoon) of salt – coarse salt, Dead Sea salt and Epsom salts work best for skin applications. Create a paste with water, you can do so by adding less than a teaspoon at a time in order to get the best results – you may find you need to add more water, that’s fine. It should be a consistency which allows for easy spreading.
Rub the paste into your skin, gently as always, and allow it to remain on your skin for 5 minutes.
5. Oatmeal and Honey
This combination is one of our favorites as honey provides anti-inflammatory properties and is also very close to the skin’s pH level. This natural exfoliating recipe is perfect for sensitive skin, or skin which is especially prone to redness and inflammation and is great for the whole body.
Simply combine a teaspoon of (ground) oatmeal with a teaspoon of honey. Feel free to add half a teaspoon olive oil if you prefer a looser consistency. Apply gently to the skin and allow the mixture to seep into the skin for 5 minutes. Gently wash the mixture off with lukewarm water.
6. Epsom Salt
Epsom salts are also referred to as magnesium sulfate and no home should be without this wonderful product. These salts are better known for their use in healing baths and other home uses , but because of their neutral pH (at least, neutral to the skin as these salts carry a pH of 4.5) they make excellent exfoliating scrubs.
The salts can be quite rough so lightly wet a teaspoon of Epsom salts in order to soften the crystals. You can also make use of a touch of olive oil for this purpose. Do not scrub the skin with this mixture, rather gently pat the skin.
7. Dead Sea Salts
These salts have a neutral pH level and are great for the skin. They provide a wide array of benefits and pump the skin with essential minerals for healthy, glowing skin.
Create a paste using olive oil and Dead Sea Salts and apply generously but gently to the surface of your skin. Do not rub this mixture in, rather, allow it to remain on the skin for 5 minutes or so and gently wipe away while rinsing.
8. Sea Salts
Coarse salts have amazing healing properties. Have you ever spent the day at the beach only to find that small cuts and abrasions have suddenly vanished? There is no doubt that making use of sea salt (note, not refined table salt) in your daily skin care routine will do wonders for your skin’s health as these salts are heavy in essential minerals.
You can use a teaspoon of either coconut oil or olive oil for the paste. As with the Dead Sea Salts, be sure to let it stand so that your skin has time to soak up the minerals. Remember to pat, not rub, your face dry with a towel after gently rinsing the paste off.
9. Baking Soda and Water
While baking soda has an alkaline pH of 8.2, it does make an effective and gentle moisturizing scrub. We suggest balancing the alkalinity of the baking soda with a coconut oil as a cleanser afterward. Coconut oil has an acidic pH level so do not leave the coconut oil cleanser on for too long and wash off gently. Remember to moisturize your exfoliated skin with a moisturizer which has a pH of 4.5 – 5.5.
This one is pretty simple – make a paste using only two ingredients – baking soda and water and cover your face, and any other area of your body you’d like to exfoliate, with the paste. Leave the paste on for at least 5 minutes and wash off gently.
10. Sugar, Lemon, and Honey
Lemon has a very low pH of 2-3 making it a no-no for direct skin contact. However, this facial scrub makes use of the lemon sparingly and balances its acidity with honey which is matched to the skin’s natural pH balance. This scrub should be used once a week but not more often and as with the baking soda scrub above, be sure to use a well-balanced moisturizer after exfoliating using this recipe.
Mix half a teaspoon (raw) honey with 1 teaspoon brown sugar. Add a quick squeeze of lemon juice. Spread this mixture gently over your skin in a circular motion, taking care not to apply too much pressure while “scrubbing”.
For all the natural exfoliating recipes using honey – remember that you will need to wash the sticky mixture off using lukewarm water. Resist the urge to use hot water as this will damage your skin.
Be sure to take care of your skin while exfoliating and don’t overdo it. Exfoliating once or twice a week is more than enough and depending on your choice of one of the natural exfoliate recipes mentioned in this post, you may want to test the effectiveness before continuing to use it. Exfoliating is best paired with an excellent organic moisturizer.
As skin types are different, please be sure to go gently on your skin with each new recipe that you try.