“My daughter is constantly on me about not using my loofah or those body scrubbers (which I use all the time) anymore. She says it damages my skin more than it helps. Is that true? Is there a downside to using them? My friends also say they harbor bacteria…what’s a girl to believe?” -Marsha P.
GREAT question Marsha. I’m so glad you wrote in!
First of all, how blessed you are to have a daughter who loves you and cares for you as she does. Such a gift and blessing!
Here are my best answers for you:
The skin sheds approximately 35-50,000 cells per hour, for an average daily total of 1 million shed skin cells per day. That’s a lot of sloughing!
As we age, many of our metabolic and cellular renewal processes slow down. These sloughing skin cells can get snagged, stuck and can build up on the surface of our skin over time, making skin look drab, dull, dry and wrinkled.
Helping the natural sloughing process is important, healthful and also beauty enhancing—but too much of a good thing, CAN be harmful.
Loofahs are usually quite benign and aren’t coarse enough to scratch or damage the skin, though granted the edges of loofah are rougher and could scratch or abrade skin that is thinning or sensitive. Focusing your massaging action to the middle of the loofah surface is advisable, as is using plenty of shower gel or moisturizing soap when cleansing with one.
The same can be said of those fluffy, nylon scrubbers. Not usually abrasive enough to do any harm at all- but one must take the health and overall pliability of ones’ skin into consideration and adjust ones’ scrubbing intensity to accommodate.
On this point, I can’t say I agree with your daughter’s assessment, though she knows your tendencies better than I.
Are you a ‘violent scrubber’? I have one in my family and she is forever over- scrubbing her skin, causing chafing and dryness. In this case, it’s not the loofah or scrubby’s fault!
Now, here is where I DO agree with your friends:
Loofahs- especially- can harbor bacteria. Think about it: you’re in the shower scrubbing off dead skin cells. Not ALL of them float freely down the drain… a lot of them cling to the sponge. ICK!
Loofahs are porous. Dead skin cells can migrate into the pores of the sponge and take up residence there. Other sloughed skin cells join them over time. Couple this with soap scum and shower gel residue and that’s not a pretty picture!
I advise occasionally taking your loofahs and other facial and bath sponges, zipping them into a laundry lingerie bag and tossing them into your next bleach load. Don’t run them through the dryer—let them air dry- but washing them occasionally in your washing machine -with bleach- will cleanse them deeply and sterilize them as best as possible.
Next best scenario: purchase a professional grade UV Sanitizer and sanitize them regularly in that, but that can be expensive.
Be advised though that washing them in your washer will shorten the life of your loofahs by breaking down their fibers faster, and nylon scrubbies tend to come unsewn if laundered often. Still though, small price to pay for not showering with bacteria blobs!
Best advice: scrub gently, using circular motions and be sure to use plenty of moisturizing cleansing product when loofah-ing in the shower. Rinse well and for an added skin benefit (especially if you’re worried about bacteria) rinse with a pitcher of water with a bit of apple cider vinegar added to it. Doing so will balance your skin’s pH, remove excess soap residue and tackle any pesky bacteria remaining on your skin.
Your question was such a good one it’s inspired me to write this month’s Beauty article, so be sure to check it out! In it I’ll try to address the most pertinent Skin Care issues and points in an attempt to provide you and the Kalon readers with everything necessary to achieve the healthiest skin possible.
Thanks so much for writing in!
(If you have a skin health or beauty question for Carrie please email her directly: Carrie@MidlifeMystique.com. She’s looking forward to hearing from you!)
© copyright 2017 Carrie E. Pierce all rights reserved.
Health and Beauty has been Carrie E. Pierce’s career focus for over 28 years. Throughout her career, Carrie has served as: Guest and Corporate Makeup Artist for numerous major, international cosmetic companies and as a Hollywood film, TV and special effects makeup artist. She’s provided skin care and makeup services for the fashion industry, as well as restorative make up procedures for burn and scar patients, cancer patients, domestic violence survivors and women suffering with self-esteem issues. Carrie is a licensed Aesthetician, Certified Color Analyst, Menopause Skin Care Specialist, Author, Public Speaker and served as co host of the syndicated radio show ‘Magnificent Menopause & Beyond©’. It’s her mission and her passion to help women be the best they can be – especially as they move through Midlife! Find out more www.MidlifeMystique.com