Sugar Might Just Be What Your Skin Needs This Spring

Oh sugar, sugar.

This week’s ingredient that we're spotlighting is something sweet. Very sweet. Eating it might not be the best for your skin, but slathering it on your skin is. We're breaking down sugar as a top skincare ingredient and sharing with you why it might not be such a bad idea to be a sugar addict after all!

The Ingredient:  sugar

Also known as: saccharum offinarum, turbinado sugar, sugarcane

Quick take: Sugar is a popular ingredient for DIY fans and professional beauty brands thanks to its gentle exfoliating properties. Dr. George Sun, creator MDSun Skincare, states that it can also help with moisturizing. Plus, it’s suitable for use on kids.

Another big bonus is that when it’s mixed with the right ingredients, it’s edible! Erica Vega, Lush Brand and Product Trainer explains, “Natural exfoliants give us a variety of textures, but [they] also provide their own inherent benefits to soften, moisturize, or cleanse skin. For sugar, you get a consistent, fine polish on the skin, and a tasty treat when it is used in a lip scrub! Sugar is also controllable by the user. If you use it dry, it’s nice and scrubby, but if you add a little more water to the mix, it will dissolve a little, making for a softer scrub.”

She adds that sugar is also brilliant because it’s biodegradable. “At Lush, we have always used natural scrubs like ground almonds, sugar and sea salt, rather than plastic microbeads," she says. "Microplastics go straight out of the bottle, down the drain and into our oceans, lasting indefinitely as they do not biodegrade. Lush chooses to use natural, biodegradable ingredients to exfoliate.”

Claims to fame: While salt is often praised alongside sugar for its ability to remove flaky skin, Rachel Winard from Soapwalla explains the benefits of sugar, “I personally prefer sugar to salt in body scrubs, which is why we use organic sugar in our Almond Luxe Body Polish. Sugar granules are generally smaller than salt, making it a better choice for those who have sensitive skin. You can use sugar scrubs after shaving or swimming without fear of stinging or irritation. In addition, sugar granules are tumbled, which leaves them with rounded edges [instead of sharp ones.] Lastly, the glycolic acid (AHA) that is naturally found in sugar helps to slough off dead skin cells. It also encourages cell turnover, leaving you with softer and more refreshed-looking skin.”

Shop the ingredient:

Indie: Soapwalla Almond Luxe Body Polish ($28)

Almond Luxe Body Polish

Sweet almond oil, cardamom, and organic raw sugar are mixed together to produce one delicious-smelling scrub. You will find it hard to leave the shower after you’ve slathered this stuff on because it smells that good. However, you’ll want to rinse it off so you can feel the soft skin it leaves behind.

Save: Lush Popcorn Lip Scrub ($10.95)

lush lip scrub popcorn

Sugar scrubs aren’t just for slathering on your body. You can get one specifically for your kisser. Apply a bit of this caster sugar formula to your pout and the particles will help remove any flaky bits. Best of all, you can lick off the sweet-and-salty excess. Yum!

Splurge: Soap Glory Soap & Glory Sugar Crush Body Scrub ($15)

Soap Glory Soap & Glory Sugar Crush Body Scrub

You’ll develop a crush on this sugar scrub the first time you slather it on. The formula removes scales on even the trickiest areas like elbows and knees. Plus, the scrub smells ahhhhmazing thanks to the combination of vanilla musk, brown sugar, and freshly squeezed lime and sparkling lemons.


Do you use sugar in your beauty routine? Which products do you swear by? Share with us in the comments!