Updated February 27, 2022
Commercially made body scrubs often contain synthetic preservatives and fragrances. These chemicals increase shelf life and make products “smell nice,” but can have some seriously detrimental health effects.
Synthetic preservatives, like parabens and formaldehyde, can cause skin irritation, allergies, and more serious health problems, like hormone disruption, infertility, and cancer.
Parabens are found in many cosmetics. In the body, they mimic estrogen, which may cause reproductive disorders and cancerous breast tumors .
Formaldehyde-releasing preservatives are commonly used in shampoos, liquid soaps, and other body care products despite the fact that the EPA, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, and the National Toxicology Program of the Department of Health and Human Services all classify formaldehyde as a human carcinogen .
A group of chemicals that is regularly labeled as “fragrance,” called phthalates, accumulate in the body and have been linked to the disruption of hormones, possibile birth defects, infertility, breast cancer, and potential liver cancer .
Unfortunately, with the amount of environmental toxins in our modern world, daily exposure to harmful chemicals is inevitable to some degree. But, certainly, refusing to slather our skin with bath & beauty products that contain even more toxic chemicals is a step in the right direction.
Making your own body care products is an excellent way to avoid toxic additives and control the quality of the things you and your loved ones use on a regular basis.
Coffee & Orange Exfoliating Scrub
This scrub is quick & simple to make, and is one of my favorite formulas for smoothing and invigorating skin. In addition to smelling amazing, coffee and orange peel boost skin health too.
Coffee has a number of reported benefits for the skin when used topically. It is an anti-inflammatory that is said to help smooth skin and reduce the appearance of cellulite, fine lines, sunspots, and dark under eye circles. It is has been used to treat acne and may have anti-aging effects .
Orange peels have anti-histamine and anti-inflammatory effects . They contain vitamin C, an antioxidant that plays a vital role in collagen formation, which is what gives skin its strength and elasticity. Applied topically, they can smooth skin, reduce wrinkles, and heal skin damage due to exposure to the sun and pollution .
Sunflower oil is beneficial for most skin types. It absorbs into the skin very well and doesn’t clog pores. It is hydrating to the skin, helping to lock in moisture to prevent further drying. It is also high in vitamin E, an antioxidant that helps to protect and heal the skin from the damaging effects of exposure to environmental toxins and the sun .
This body scrub is gentle enough to be used on the face too, but be sure to use a light touch. Avoid sensitive areas, rashes, and broken skin. Those with very dry, delicate, or sensitive skin may wish to choose a gentler exfoliant, as ground coffee may be a bit too abrasive for you.
- 1 tsp coffee grounds
- 1 tsp orange peel powder
- 1 tsp sunflower oil
This makes a good amount of scrub for one full body application. You may wish to make more or less based on your needs.
You may want to mix up a larger amount to keep on hand for later use. I haven’t tried this so can’t speak to shelf stability. Since this is a natural product with no preservatives, there may be spoilage over time, especially if the scrub is stored in a warm, wet location, like a shower. Getting water into the jar would certainly increase the posibility of spoilage, so you’ll want to use a dry utenstil or finger to scoop out your scrub if you plan to store it.
Combine ingredients in a small bowl and stir until well combined.
Gently massage into skin. The oil does make things slippery, so please be cautious when using in the bathtub or shower.
Leave on for a few minutes, or up to an hour, if desired, and then rinse with warm water. Your skin will feel soft, smooth, and vibrant. You may repeat 2-3 times a week, if you like.
Taking a few minutes out of your day to care for your skin may seem like a guilty pleasure, but in reality, our skin is our largest organ and keeping it happy is crucial to our overall health. Do yourself a favor and give your skin a little extra love!
1. Ginevra Holtkamp. “The Ban List: 7 Ingredients to Avoid in Personal-Care Products.” Mother Earth Living. July/August 2012.
2. Kristeen Cherney. “Does Coffee Have Any Benefits for Your Skin?” Healthline.
3. Tsujiyama, S. Mubassara, H. Aoshima. “Anti-histamine release and anti-inflammatory activities of aqueous extracts of citrus fruits peels.” Oriental Pharmacy and Experimental Medicine, 2013, Volume 13, Number 3, 175. https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/Anti-histamine-release-and-anti-inflammatory-of-of-Tsujiyama-Mubassara/d7e74442dcc62d660811a923b0b8898e0bc7bc8e
4. Megan Ware, RDN, LD. “Health benefits of oranges.” Medical News Today. December 20, 2017
5. Corey Whelan. What’s Good About Sunflower Oil for Skin? Healthline. August 7, 2019