There are a variety of products available for pampering your skin and getting your body fresh and clean each day. In your shower, you may have a collection of soaps, oils, and potions in addition to washcloths, shower puffs, and loofahs for applying them. Many tout the loofah as a useful tool for ridding your skin of debris and dead skin cells. But using a loofah may not leave your skin as fresh, clean, and healthy as you might think. Read on to learn about loofahs and whether or not you should be using one.
6. What Is a Loofah?
A loofah is a dried gourd of the Luffa plant. Since their appearance somewhat resembles that of a sponge, you may think this plant grows in the ocean. However, this is a gourd that you can grow in your garden. In fact, Gardener’s Path offers tips on growing and preparing loofah sponges right in your own backyard. Keep in mind that not all of the loofah products found on beauty store shelves come from loofah gourds. Synthetic materials may make up any of these items.
5. Loofahs and Bacteria
The purpose of a loofah is to lather up your body to wash away dirt, sweat, and bacteria. Loofahs are often used to exfoliate and remove a layer of dead skin cells. The problem with these products is that they spend a lot of time hanging out in the humid conditions of your shower. Once you have sloughed off bacteria from your skin, it can remain trapped in the pockets and ridges of your sponge or loofah, where it can grow and multiply. Then, when you use it again the next day, you reapply the germs to your skin.
4. Loofahs and Skin Irritation
Germs aren’t the only things that make loofahs bad for your skin. A loofah is a handy product for removing dead cells from the surface of your skin. Unfortunately, this scratchy product can be too harsh on tender skin, causing more harm than good. In fact, the American Academy of Dermatology states that using a loofah or shower puff can trigger episodes of psoriasis for those with this condition. Long, hot showers and the use of body scrubs and strong soaps can also dry out your skin and lead to dryness, itching, and rashes.
3. How to Care for Your Loofah
The thought of bacteria and skin irritation may scare you away from using a loofah. However, if you still have a strong attachment to your loofah, you can take steps to keep it hygienic. The Cleveland Clinic offers several tips for keeping your loofah clean. First, after use, store it in a cool spot to dry out. Your shower is not the best place to keep it. Next, clean it each week in a solution of diluted bleach or vinegar. Lastly, replace your loofah every few weeks. Toss it out sooner if you notice mold or a musty smell on the loofah.
2. Protecting Your Skin While Using a Loofah
In addition to keeping your loofah clean, protect your skin from over-exfoliation by refraining from using it every day. Avoid using this item on the tender skin of your face and genitals. Furthermore, refrain from using a loofah if you are suffering from a sunburn, open sores, or on recently shaved legs. Use your loofah to smooth areas such as rough elbows and heels no more than two or three times each week. After exfoliating, be sure to use a moisturizer to keep your skin soft and hydrated.Related: 7 Reasons Why Baths Are Better Than Showers
1. Tips for Caring for Your Skin
Shower puffs are great for lathering up your body, and loofahs can smooth out rough layers of skin. However, all you truly need to keep your skin healthy and supple is a warm shower, a moisturizing soap, and your hands. If you choose to use a washcloth or shower puff, be sure to throw them in the washing machine regularly. Always use your fingers, warm water, and a mild face soap to wash the fragile skin of your face. Lastly, use sunscreen to protect your skin from the harmful rays of the sun and keep it looking young and supple longer.Related: How Often You Should Wash Your Bath Towel, According to a Microbiologist — and What Happens When You Don’t