What to Use Instead of a Loofah

different colored washcloths face cloths loofah and bathsponge

You probably have a loofah in your shower. It might hang from a hook or sit on a soapy shelf. That spongy exfoliator has become so commonplace in your routine, but it also introduces some health hazards. Have you given any thought about what to use instead of a loofah? 

A traditional loofah poses many risks, much like the sponge at your kitchen sink. It's not something at the front of our minds, but perhaps it should be. There are plenty of alternatives to using a loofah, but before we look into those, we must analyze the specific benefits and risks that come with using a loofah.

Pros

Although we're looking for alternatives of what to use instead of a loofah, loofahs do have their benefits.

Exfoliation

Improved Circulation

Improved Skin Elasticity

Cons

If you haven't yet thought of what to use instead of a loofah, you probably will after reading about the dangers a loofah can pose.

Germs

Infection

What to Use Instead of a Loofah

There is a range of alternative grooming products that offer the same benefits as a loofah while posing less of a health risk. The biggest risk factor with a loofah is in the design — the sponge-like shape is difficult to dry and clean regularly. These products solve that issue while still giving your skin a rejuvenating scrub, so you'll no longer wonder what to use instead of a loofah.

Exfoliating Soap

Glove / Mitt

Silicone Brush

Loofah Pads

Salux Beauty Skin Wash Cloth

Bristle Body Brush

Body Scrub

Essential Oils

Sponge

Body Scrub

You could cut out the middle-man altogether and incorporate the exfoliating properties in your choice of cleanser. A body scrub is a body wash with rough particles included to help slough the dead skin cells away. Micro-beads were banned from use in 2017, so most scrubs today incorporate natural ingredients to help exfoliate. One brand, Frank Body, makes a Shimmer Scrub that promises to leave you with a radiant glow as the sugar exfoliant particles dissolve. Scrubs at your local retailer can vary wildly in price depending on the brand and additional benefits they provide.

Alternatively, you can create your own body scrub using some common household items.

  • Salt is effective for feet, while sea salt works wonders on hands and cuticles
  • Sugar is a perfect scrub ingredient for the face; consider sugar over salt for recently shaved areas
  • Oats are appropriate for very sensitive skin types and work well as a gentle face or body scrub
  • Apples and apple cider vinegar work well as a chemical exfoliant
  • Coffee is an  effective scrub to battle stretch marks — caffeine stimulates blood flow and reduces the appearance of cellulite+
  • Splash milk in your palms and massage it on your face or add 2 to 4 cups to your bath to reap the benefits of lactic acid
  • Lemons and grapefruit work well as exfoliants, especially when used with milk
  • Baking soda works for all skin types; add it to your existing cleanser for exfoliation or mix it with honey to create a paste
  • Rice is gentle enough to use on both the face and body

Loofah

Yes, we've established that there are more hygienic options to use, but if you absolutely can't bear to part with a loofah, there are still ways to make them safer to use.

  • Keep it dry when it's not in use. This means storing it out of the shower or considering a storage option that allows it to air out. ToiletTree Products makes a bamboo shower caddy with slats that would allow a loofah to drip-dry.
  • Apply heat, ensuring that the materials used in your loofah can withstand heat. If so, you can toss it in the dryer or a clean microwave to help kill some bacteria. You could also boil it in some water for two minutes. Whichever method you choose, this should be a weekly chore.
  • A bleaching powder can be applied to most loofahs for an effective clean. This should be done once a week.
  • Don't share. Families in the same household usually share a lot of the same germs, but using separate loofahs can help minimize the risk of infections.
  • Replace it regularly. A loofah should be switched out once a month. Beyond a month, there is a greater risk of bacteria forming and a high likelihood that the exfoliating properties will be diminished.

Loofah Benefits Outside the Shower

We shared the benefits of using a loofah or alternative scrub, but those benefits aren't only available in the shower. There are ways to improve your well-being outside of your grooming routine.

Increase Blood Flow

  • Exercise: moving after a meal aids digestion. It's recommended you move 3-5 minutes every hour you're awake
  • Get a massage: massages are known to stimulate healing and localized blood flow
  • Alternate hot and cold temperatures in the shower, causing your blood vessels to expand and constrict
  • Drink water (preferably warm) as often as you feel thirsty and avoid caffeine and alcohol

Improve Skin Elasticity

  • Wear sunscreen: avoid premature aging by protecting your skin every time you're outside
  • Eat healthily: make sure your diet is rich in omega-3 Fatty Acid and Vitamin A, B, C, and E
  • Sleep: skin repairs itself as you sleep, so get a good night's rest to avoid puffy eyes

Conclusion

There are so many options to choose from in hygiene and grooming. Keep your habits and preferences in mind when you consider what to use instead of a loofah, or be mindful of the responsibilities that come with using a loofah. The shower is a place to relax, renew, and rejuvenate; don't let the adverse effects of a loofah diminish that.

Featured Image via flickr

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