Body scrubs have become a necessary step in our shower routines so that we can remove the dead skin cells that build up on our skin. The exfoliation that they provide helps the skin to absorb moisturizer better, and the result is a smoother and more even complexion. Body scrubs also unclog pores and prevent razor bumps and ingrown hairs.
There are many types of body scrubs that are available in the market, which makes it difficult to choose the best option. To help you narrow down your options, we've prepared a buying guide with comments and tips from dermatologist Dr. Katrina Erika Habaluyas Luz. We also made a list of our top 10 body scrub recommendations to help you achieve healthy, glowing skin.
Dr. Katrina Habaluyas Luz is the face behind Ask Your Derma. She is a board-certified dermatologist in Metro Manila. She is also an educator and digital creator on all things skin, hair, and nails. She is a Diplomate of the Philippine Dermatological Society and offers online video consultations. You can also catch her on her Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube channel.
Our recommendation articles are carefully researched and crafted by the mybest Philippines team of writers and editors. To stay true to our company’s mission and vision to help users’ selection process easier, we also collaborate with experts from various fields to ensure that our content stays factual and useful.
The expert oversees the Buying Guide only, and does not determine the products and services featured.
The products and services listed are ranked independently by the editorial team based on the points mentioned in our thoroughly researched buying guide (as of 01-16-2023).
Table of Contents
A body scrub is a physical exfoliant with some type of abrasive ingredient (e.g. salt, sugar, coffee, etc.) that gently removes dead skin cells. It sloughs away the debris on your skin and leaves it feeling soft and smooth. Aside from this, it promotes blood circulation, draws out impurities, and smooths stubborn rough, dry skin.
However, scrubs should only be used two to three times a week and are most effectively applied using a circular motion. This is to avoid irritating the skinーon that note, you'll be able to tell if you've gone too far when you see a change in texture or appearance, for example, if your skin already appears red or bruised.
A body scrub is a form of exfoliantーmeaning it allows our skin cells to shed faster. Skin naturally exfoliates in a 28-day cycle allowing new, healthy skin to appear. Factors can stall this process, such as aging, improper cleansing, dry weather, or sun damage.
Remember, when it comes to body scrubs, choose one that is gentle regardless of your skin type, and they're called body scrubs for a reason (don't put on your face!). At the end of the day, the skin cells still form a part of the skin barrier. If done too aggressively, you'd be left with broken skin.
There are body scrubs that are more abrasive than others, so it’s important to know what your skin type is to be able to effectively choose what the best body scrub for you could be.
If you have normal skin, this means that your skin is generally well-balanced. It is neither too oily nor too dry and is not prone to sensitivity. Body scrubs that effectively buff away dead skin cells should be your main target. It should have abrasive components strong enough to slough off impurities without causing irritation.
A good example of this is a salt-based body scrub which is a good exfoliator with great healing properties. Body scrubs with hydrating ingredients such as essential oils are great as well, so you can give your skin a deep clean while keeping it healthy, glowing, and moisturized.
The great thing about normal skin is that you're less prone to irritation and skin sensitivities. So you can choose one based on personal preference. If a physical exfoliant is what you're after, look for micro-exfoliants (small-size, non-coarse particles) such as bamboo powder or rosehip seeds as they act as a low-friction scrub that disrupts debris without causing damage.
Newer scrubs have biodegradable beads made from jojoba esters which are spherical and smooth, thus, less risk for those microtears or diatomaceous earth microbeads that are less irritating. As for chemical exfoliants, good choices include glycolic acid, which has the smallest molecular weight of all AHAs, so it penetrates the deepest and can build collagen in addition to improving texture and tone.
People with sensitive skin types are prone to having strong reactions to certain chemicals, dyes, and fragrances present in skincare products. If you have sensitive skin, you are likely prone to getting redness and rashes caused by irritation to certain textures or ingredients.
This means that you want to be as gentle as possible. You should avoid harsh abrasive scrubs that can irritate or damage your skin. For this, we recommend fine sugar scrubs, as they are less abrasive but still effective. Body scrubs with soothing ingredients such as shea butter or honey are also good to help alleviate irritation.
Sensitive skin means that you have higher chances of reacting to a product and developing signs of inflammationーbe it redness, flushing, stinging, acne-like eruptions. This is the skin type that would need to be extra careful in choosing what to apply to their skin. Abrasive scrubs with large particles are definitely, a no-no!
Definitely, a patch test is a must before adding this to your regimen! Best to use the scrubs on areas of skin that are thicker, such as elbows, legs, and feet. As for chemical exfoliants, mandelic acid is a good choice for gentle exfoliation of sensitive skin.
If you have dry skin, this means that your skin lacks moisture or hydration. Dry skin can cause irritation, itching, and cracking and are caused by numerous factors such as genetics, medication, and low humidity. It can be remedied through different types of creams, lotions, and ointments.
For this skin type, we recommend scrubs containing oils such as coconut oil or jojoba oil and milk such as macadamia milk or rice milk for extra moisture. On the other hand, you should avoid body scrubs with charcoal, salicylic acid, and tea tree oil as they absorb your skin's natural oils, leading to skin damage.
For those with dry skin, it's important to choose an extremely gentle scrub since the skin barrier is already compromised and at risk of cracking with too much abrasion. A good choice of a chemical exfoliant is alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA). These are water-loving molecules, so they can help keep your skin hydrated.
Good choices of AHAs are glycolic acid and lactic acid. Since they're water-soluble, they dissolve in water and can easily just peel away the surface of the skin. Also, look for scrubs that incorporate hydrating ingredients such as glycerin, shea butter, coconut oil, or olive oil for that extra moisture.
Body acne, just like the acne you get on your face, can be annoying. And one place that’s prone to getting acne is our back, hence the term bacne. Our backs have sebaceous glands that produce sebum - and when we sweat or go out, our pores sometimes get clogged, which results in acne.
In saying that, we recommend body scrubs with clarifying and antibacterial ingredients. These combat the production of acne with ingredients such as salicylic acid and tea tree oil which are well-known for preventing breakouts. It would be best to avoid body scrubs with oils and milk to keep away unnecessary moisture.
For those prone to body acne, a chemical exfoliant would be the better choice (as physical exfoliants may be too harsh). Try looking for exfoliants with salicylic acid. Salicylic acid helps clear pores and reduces redness with its anti-irritating and antimicrobial properties. If you already have acne-like bumps on the back, though, it is best to Ask Your Derma!
Aside from choosing a body scrub based on its ingredients, it's also advisable to look into its scent. Some body scrubs are formulated for aromatherapy which has different effects such as reduced stress, anxiety, and even mild pain. These products usually contain essential oils, such as lavender, chamomile, jasmine, or vanilla.
A study in Indonesia on the Sensory Evaluation in Determining Acceptability of Scrub Cream revealed that the aroma applied on the skin influences respondents’ acceptability in choosing certain scrub creams.
Definitely, the smell of a product can give additional benefits - be it emotional or psychological, thus, giving an overall relaxing experience. This one is definitely based on your personal scent of choice!
Click to purchase
First Aid Beauty
KP Bump Eraser Body Scrub
Best for Removing Tiny Bumps and Chicken Skin
The Body Shop
Almond Milk and Honey Gently Exfoliating Cream Scrub
Nourish Dry and Sensitive Skin with Milk and Honey
Coconut Guava Body Scrub
Fresh Coconut and Guava-Scented Body Scrub to Clean and Hydrate Your Skin
Apricot Botanical Body Scrub
A Biodegradable Formula to Eliminate Dullness
Coffee & Vanilla Body Scrub
All-Natural Coffee Scrub with a Calming Vanilla Fragrance
Exfoliate & Renew Epsom Salt Body Scrub
A Soothing Scrub for Exfoliation and Stress Relief
Packed With Antioxidants for Improving Blood Flow and Reducing Cellulite
Intense Whitening Body Scrub
Natural Papaya Enzymes and Bamboo Scrub for Fairer Skin
Acne Dote Face and Body Scrub
Gentle on Face, Tough on Bacne
Aloe Body Scrub with Apricot
Enriched With Vitamin C and Aloe Vera for a Healthier Glow
It has natural pumice beads to unclog pores, but its biggest draw is the 10% alphahydroxy acids (AHA) content, which loosens the skin's outermost layer to reveal brighter and smoother skin. This combination removes the tiny bumps and rough patches in the skin, resulting in a huge improvement in skin tone and texture.
Aside from that, it also contains bisabolol to soothe irritated skin, as well as Vitamin E to help ward off environmental aggressors. Lastly, this product is surprisingly versatile, since it's suitable for all skin types, even those with sensitive skin.
It's dermatologist-tested and has a hypoallergenic fragrance as well, so it's perfect for those who have easily irritated skin. The texture is soft and silky and feels gentle on the skin. Users love how creamy and luxurious it feels, and how it's very effective in rejuvenating dry, rough patches of skin without being too harsh.
With all these wonderful ingredients, this body scrub is packed with antioxidants that will truly keep your skin glowing and free from any premature fine lines or wrinkles. If you're a fan of self-tanning, you can also use this scrub to exfoliate your skin in preparation for the tan. You can also use it to remove your old tan!
This body scrub has quite a following with its effective formula for exfoliating and moisturizing your skin at the same time. It boasts ingredients that are 98% natural in origin and are thus easily biodegradable. It also contains 100% botanical seeds and is enriched with apricot kernel powder.
The texture feels ultra-creamy yet gentle, and users can feel the intense exfoliation without any sensation of coarseness. The result is skin that looks smooth and rejuvenated. This is a great option for those with dull and dry skin.
Are you in need of some deep relaxation? Look no further than this scrub from Dr. Teal's. This one doesn't just slough away your dead skin cells-it also aids in stress and pain relief, thanks to the pure Epsom salts and lavender in its formulation. This combination is a tried-and-tested blend for relieving stress and muscle soreness and promoting better sleep.
It doesn't lag in the moisture department as well, since it's enriched with jojoba oil and shea butter to ensure that your skin stays hydrated after exfoliating. Users also love how it feels gentle on the skin but is effective enough at keeping their bacne at bay.
With all of these nourishing ingredients, it's chock full of antioxidants that can help stimulate blood flow and clear away cellulite and stretch marks. We recommend this for those with normal skin or those with marks they want to remedy.
Reviewers for this body scrub rave about how fast-acting it isーwith just one use, this scrub made their skin smoother and softer. Plus, you get to smell the comforting scent of coffee every time you exfoliate!
It uses natural bamboo scrubs for the exfoliating action, which feels thorough yet gentle. This body scrub is great for those with normal to dry skin and those who want to even out their skin tone.
This dermatologist-tested scrub is oil-free and non-comedogenic, which is advisable for those with oily skin, as it won't clog your pores. On top of that, even if it's powerful enough to get rid of bacne, it's also surprisingly gentle enough for use on the face!
Body scrubs may do more harm than good if not used correctly. Here are some tips from Beauty Insider on how to properly use a body scrub at home:
Always patch test before adding a new player to your skincare regimen. If you don't develop any reaction or signs of irritation, then good, but always start slow. Consider the other skincare products you already use. Some products may cause your skin to be more sensitive or peel, so exfoliating while using these products may worsen dry skin or even cause acne breakouts.
Massage it in gently (no actual scrubbing!), then rinse off with lukewarm water. Follow up with a hydrating lotion or cream to seal in moisture. When it comes to exfoliating, I'd recommend using it weekly or monthly rather than daily. Follow up with a moisturizer! Remember, the skin cells we're exfoliating are still key to barrier protection.
Below, Dr. Katrina Luz answers some of the web's most asked questions, so before you hit that check out button, have a read to make sure you make informed decisions!
Definitely, there are no hard and fast rules for this one! Once a week may be good for some but others may prefer at least twice a week. Best to listen to your skin!
There are actually no hard and fast rules for this either. If you soap before, you can wash away any dirt and sweat from the skin before exfoliating away mature skin cells and impurities. If you soap after, then this helps remove any residue from the scrub. It boils down to your skin needs and preferences.
Avoid using a body scrub for the face and other sensitive areas like the neck, underarms, and the groin area.
Here are some signs of over-exfoliation (possibly that you might be overdoing it!):
Road to recovery from over-exfoliation:
For many people, a structured shower and skincare routine is a great way to start and end the day. If you want to explore some products that will help you look good and feel good, allow us to recommend some of our favorites. Check out our articles below!
Re-editor: R. Umlas
Our buying guide was carefully researched and crafted by the mybest team of writers and editors, in collaboration with the expert featured in this article. We used the buying guide as a basis for choosing and ranking the product recommendations, and we looked at reviews and ratings from different E-commerce sites like Lazada, Shopee, and more.
No. 1：First Aid Beauty｜KP Bump Eraser Body Scrub
No. 2：The Body Shop｜Almond Milk and Honey Gently Exfoliating Cream Scrub
No. 3：Ecococo｜Coconut Guava Body Scrub
No. 4：Yves Rocher｜Apricot Botanical Body Scrub
No. 5：Human Nature｜Coffee & Vanilla Body Scrub
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