When choosing the tools for a bath or shower, there are four basic categories of cleansing tools: loofah, sponge, brush, and washcloth. Each category has its own qualities as far as cleansing and exfoliation go.
Loofah, or luffa, sponges are produced from long, thin gourds and are much harder and more abrasive than sea sponges. Most often, loofah sponges are used for scrubbing and exfoliating dead skin. Loofah sponges are excellent for sloughing off dead skin and have desirable exfoliating properties without being harshly abrasive.
Although it is great for exfoliating, the texture may be too harsh for all skin types. Also, the crevices and chambers in the loofah can trap dirt and bacteria. The fact that if there is natural fiber in it that your sponges will start to breed bacteria very quickly. Even if they look completely clean, you will find that if they are damp and in a warm place that they will probably start to grow molds or bacteria. This is not something that you want with you in the bath! So if you aren’t planning on using it directly after you clean it, blow dry it on cold with a hair dryer.
Sponges are a common tool that people use to bath with. However, normal sponges can have problems and wear out. Their large holes hold onto dead skin cells, which provide food for the growing bacteria. They also hold moisture which allows the bacteria to grow.
Nylon bath sponges do not have the same problems and can last much longer than normal sponges. Because they are purely synthetic, there is nothing there for bacteria and mold to attach to. They are slippery and slick and because of this, they are quit easy to clean.
- Allow your sponge to dry in a well-ventilated area each day.
- Natural sponges take longer to dry than man-made sponges. Be sure to keep them in an open area where the air can reach all areas.
- Replace natural sponges every 3-4 weeks and synthetic sponges about every 8 weeks.
- In addition to bacteria, mold can develop. Both of these can lead to skin rashes if not maintained.
A sponge or loofah can be attached to a handle, but an actual “brush” usually involves bristles. Brushes are generally firmer than sponges, and useful for exfoliating, or cleaning hard-to-reach areas like the feet and back. They can be made of animal hair or synthetic materials. To dry brush, use a soft natural fiber brush with a long handle, so that you are able to reach all areas of your body. You can do the brushing head-to-toe or toe-to-head. It really doesn’t matter as long as the entire body is brushed.
- Use light pressure in areas where the skin is thin and harder pressure on places like the soles of the feet.
- Skin brushing should be performed once a day, preferably first thing in the morning.
- If you are feeling ill, increasing the treatments to twice a day is good.
- Avoid sensitive areas and anywhere the skin is broken such as areas of skin rash, wounds, cuts, and infections.
- Never brush an area affected by poison oak or poison ivy.
A great way to gently exfoliate skin is simple: use a washcloth. The fabric naturally rids face of excess oils, dirt and build-up. Also before you head off to sleep, you might use a washcloth on your face to wipe away the day’s accumulation of dirt and oil or your makeup. While this essential step can help prevent skin problems, if the washcloth itself isn’t clean, you might defeat the purpose by introducing new germs to your face. Neglecting to clean your washcloth on a regular basis can cause the towel to become a breeding ground for bacteria and mold. To make your hygiene routine worthwhile, you need to wash and dry towels regularly. Whether you use a washcloth only for your face or on your entire body, using a clean cloth will help combat the germs living in bathrooms. Bathrooms, which are typically wet, warm spaces, are the perfect environment for bacteria and mold. Letting your damp washcloth lie around for days invites bacteria and mold, and you can unknowingly spread bacteria if you reuse the same cloth again and again.