What's the Difference Between Sugar and Salt Scrubs?

Ah sugar, sugar.

ByCaitlin M.

Exfoliating is basically the flossing of the skincare world—you don't always have time to add the step to your skincare routine, but holy cow is it necessary. You likely already use an exfoliator—either chemical or manual on your face—so why skip out on the glow-inducing benefits of adding one to your body care routine? In this week's beauty 101, we're exploring the main differences between the two most common types of scrubs: sugar and salt.

The scoop: Salt and sugar scrubs both fall under the exfoliating category and both are highly important in maintaining a healthy skincare routine. The main difference, of course, is in the granular ingredient in the exfoliant. See what distinguishes each type below:

Salt: Salt scrubs rely on granular salt particles to buff away dead skin cells. Salt, itself, has antiseptic properties and is more "detoxifying" to the skin, making it a great option for foot and body soaks. Not to mention, salt granules tend to be a bit larger in size and are strong enough to tackle rough skin. (Think: calluses, elbows, etc.) And, depending on what type of salt is in your scrub, Dead Sea or Himalayan, salt scrubs can be chalk full of minerals. 

Best for: elbows, knees, feet, calluses

Sugar: Sugar, on the other hand, tends to be smaller in size and much gentler on skin. You can use it on delicate skin such as freshly shaved legs, lips, and even your hair. Sugar scrubs also are ideal for those with sensitive skin. Lastly, there is a bit of a chemical exfoliant component to sugar scrubs thanks to the naturally occurring AHA—glycolic acid. 

Best for: sensitive skin, freshly-shaved legs, can be used all over the body

Shop the trend:

Burt's Bees Sugar Scrub ($9.98, Walmart)

Burt's Bees Sugar Scrub

This 100 percent natural sugar-based scrub not only relies on smashed sugar crystals but also, a blend of cranberry seeds, pomegranate oil, and shea butter to polish skin.

Lush Sugar Lip Scrub ($10.95)

Lush Lip Scrub

Lush's sweet treat lip scrub contains fine castor sugar and moisturizing organic jojoba oil to help soothe chapped lips and buff away flakes. 

The Body Shop Spa of the World Dead Sea Salt Scrub ($10,The  Body Shop)

 The Body Shop Spa of the World Dead Sea Salt Scrub

This Sea Salt mixture from The Body Shop boasts circulation stimulation and a smoother texture thanks to mineral-rich Dead Sea Salt crystals as well as aloe vera and olive oil.

Tree Hut Himalayan Salt Scrub ($8.99, Ulta)

 Tree Hut Himalayan Salt Scrub

Scrub addicts likely know Tree Hut for their amazing sugar scrubs, but this Himalyan Salt version of their iconic exfoliator relies on 84 minerals found in the salts as well as wild cherry fruit extract to hydrate and red clay to condition the body.

Which do you prefer: a salt or sugar scrub? Let us know!

About the Author
Caitlin M.
Senior Editor at Influenster. Runner. Music lover. All things nachos. Follow me on Instagram: @caitlinsmiller