Did you know that using a natural loofah or luffa is an effective way to exfoliate your skin? Yes, that’s right! It has been around for thousands of years as a cleansing and exfoliating sponge. If you haven’t paid attention to the uses of this affordable yet very useful tool, then you are in luck as we are about to tackle just how handy it is, especially in exfoliating your skin to result in a much more smoother glowing skin than ever.
Where did Body Loofah Originate?
Many sources have stated that loofahs have been used in Egypt and Asia for at least two thousand years. However, it was in the United States during the 1890’s that its popularity especially in the industrial market was cultivated.
Before World War II broke, these dried-out luffas were found to be useful filters for steam and diesel engines, water filters, kitchen sponges, surgical and sound proofing tools.
During the 20th century, man-made versions of the gourd were marketed which dropped its popularity and returned to its use as bathroom or shower loofah, great for cleansing and exfoliating.
Why is Exfoliation necessary?
Exfoliation is essential in keeping your skin smooth, glowing and younger looking. While cleansing your skin with your favourite soap or body wash, it is essential to exfoliate your skin by using a natural body loofah. The job of our skin is to protect us from the harshness of the environment. Our body is known to produce thousands of skin cells every minute, which makes exfoliation necessary, as sometimes skin cells don’t cast off the way they should.
So, what is exfoliation exactly? The process of exfoliation involves the removal of dead skin cells from the outer surface of your skin to achieve a smooth silky surface. Although there are many ways to remove dead skin cells such as using a shower loofah, a loofah brush, artificial sponges or even scrubs laden with chemicals, the most gentle and effective way to eliminate dead skin are always natural products.
With these options, you can decide on the best approach that works well for you. Although, there are drawbacks in using products with chemicals, artificial sponges and even our good old natural luffas, each of these options have their own advantages as well.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Exfoliating Scrubs
With chemical-based scrubs that do well in removing dead skin cells without scrubbing, an advantage is its convenience since you no longer need to scrub your body as you would while using a luffa or sponge. These products also help you save time to exfoliate which makes these an ideal alternative for those looking to exfoliate their skin but have time constraints.
The disadvantages in using these products are the ingredients used in formulating their exfoliating capabilities. It is important to note that not all products are healthy and safe to use over time, which is why it’s necessary for women to be vigilant by researching the ingredients prior to use.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Natural Loofah and Artificial Sponges
The advantages of using natural loofah are its efficacy, safety and affordability. They can be grown in your own backyard if you wish and since it is plant-based, it is safe and healthy to use over time. You need not worry about the dangers of chemicals or toxic materials, that’s the beauty of using anything nature provides. Of course, there’s no need to grow them if you don’t have the time or space to do so. They are predominantly sold in most chemists, so it’s easy to purchase them conveniently, with an affordable price tag I might add.
The disadvantage of using any kind of plant-based scrub is its life span. Ideally, they need to be replaced every two to three weeks. However, if yours are stored or taken cared of properly, it can be used up to a month. But when you start to notice mould or mildew, if they start smelling weird or develop discolorations, then it is definitely time to throw them out.
Artificial or synthetic sponges are man-made replacements for natural gourds. The advantages are their affordability and longevity as you can use them up to two to three months compared to the former. The disadvantages though, are the ingredients used in making these man-made substitutes. It is no surprise that mostly artificial products are laden with harmful chemicals that may eventually cause more harm to your skin in the long run.
How to take good care of your loofah?
Taking proper care of your luffa is important for its longevity, effectivity and safety for use especially on your skin. Here are some tips you may want to consider before you start using your shower loofah.
- Dry it daily after use. – Make sure to dry your luffas by shaking or rinsing them well. Place or hang them somewhere for it to dry completely. Avoid hanging them in the bathroom as this will only cause bacteria to accumulate as they are likely to stay wet the next day and will not dry completely.
- Clean it at least once a week. – It is necessary to clean it at least once a week by soaking it in water and bleach. If you’re using artificial or synthetic material, add about ¾ of bleach to a gallon of water or ¼ cup if you’re using plant-based scrub. Leave it for about 5 to 10 mins. Rinse it with water then dry it. This process will definitely remove any unwanted germs or bacteria.
- Don’t use your luffa after shaving. – Even though you have done well in keeping your scrub dry or clean, it is safe not to use it immediately after you have shaved. Wait for at least two days before you exfoliate as your skin is prone to bacteria after shaving. However, if you need to shave, it is better to exfoliate beforehand since this allows you to shave easily by removing the dead skin cells from the surface, giving your shave a clean surface to remove hair leaving your skin extra smooth after shaving.
- Don’t use a rough gourd on your face or sensitive parts. – It is highly recommended not to use gourd on your face as it can be coarse and rough, and your facial skin is different from your body. Your face and other sensitive areas, like the genitals, are prone to irritation or infection, so it’s safer to avoid using any coarse sponge in these areas. However, you can use a luffa or sponge that’s specifically designed for your face.
- Know when to replace your luffa. – For plant-based sponges, it can be used between two weeks to a month whilst synthetic ones can last up to three months. However, when you start noticing an odd mouldy smell or discolouration even after cleaning it once a week, it’s safer to throw it away and get a new one as these are pretty much affordable.
How to properly exfoliate your skin?
Since we have already established the importance of exfoliation, we’ll talk about what the proper steps are involved in exfoliating your skin. The steps below will only apply if you’re using a natural luffa, shower luffa, body luffa or synthetic sponges to exfoliate, and not exfoliators with chemical ingredients that remove dead skin without scrubbing. Following these steps will result in a smooth, silky and glowing skin.
- Start off by rubbing a dry luffa or sponge on your skin to remove dry or flaky skin. Work your way upwards so start at the toes or feet towards the upper part of the body.
- Run the shower then apply a body wash or cleanser to the wet sponge, scrub your body gently in circular motions. No need to be harsh in scrubbing since dead skin cells are easily removed in the process.
- As mentioned earlier, avoid using a rough sponge or luffa on your face and sensitive parts, as it will only cause irritation. If you prefer to exfoliate your facial skin, there are sponges that are specifically designed for it, so you should definitely get one of those.
- Shave after and not before exfoliating. Your skin is prone to bacteria and germs if you shave prior to exfoliation which is not a good idea. To exfoliate first before shaving results in a smoother and easier shaving process.
- After exfoliation, rinse preferably with warm water. The process can cause your skin to feel dry so make sure to apply a soothing lotion or moisturiser as a final touch.
What are the best exfoliating products?
A natural exfoliating luffa is better than a synthetic ones. Since these are typically derived from the fibrous interior of a vegetable gourd, it is safer to use on the skin compared to artificial sponges that may cause more harm after regular use due to its toxic materials.
However, synthetic sponges can also be as effective as gourds but using them long-term on a regular basis is not recommended, due to the questionable materials used in making them. It is not a surprise that most synthetic sponges are made with chemicals and harmful materials.
The safest way is always to go with what’s organic and plant-based as these did not undergo any artificial processing. Love Thyself has done their part in finding the best organic and natural loofahs available in the market. If you want to find what works best for you, check them out on this link since we definitely got you covered!