Published on September 20th, 2015 | by Yashodhara Ghosh
BEAUTY WARS: The Right Loofah
When Kublah Khan built his pleasure dome, he missed out some key ingredients for indolence – a deep, wide bathtub with warm, scented bathwater filled to the brim, and a loofah dangling invitingly from the wall.
While only a few things in life are more pleasurable than the sensation of a moist, soapy loofah gently working on your skin, it’s a good idea not to get carried away. There are hygiene issues to keep in mind, and important choices to make. Here’s the whole truth about loofahs and synthetic meshes.
How it works
Morbid as this may sound, your skin cells are constantly dying, only to be replaced by fresher, newer ones. The dead skin cells stay loosely attached to the surface of your skin, making it look dull and off-colour. A loofah’s job is to make sure that the dead skin cells don’t get left behind on your skin. They have gentle abrasive properties to exfoliate your skin and remove dead cells and other dirt particles, leaving behind only fresher and younger skin. This also prevents the dead skin from staying lodged inside your pores, which can attract dirt and bacteria and trigger off an acne outbreak. The fine blood capillaries that supply blood to your dermis get stimulated when you exfoliate with a loofah, and expand, increasing the flow of blood and sending more oxygen to the skin, helping it breathe. Loofah fibres are somewhat elastic, and don’t scratch your skin.
Organic or synthetic?
- Organic loofahs are a great way to stimulate circulation, keep your pores clean and keep acne at bay without doing any damage at all to the ecosystem. They are sourced from the luffa plant, a distant cousin of the juicy cucumber, which produce large tubular gourds as fruit. These leave behind a fibrous, resistant shell when they are desiccated, which has great exfoliating properties.
- The only major flip side is that since they are biodegradable, natural loofahs become breeding grounds for bacteria real quick. Remember that bacteria thrive and proliferate in warm, wet areas – add to that the biodegradable surface of your organic loofah and the dead skin cells that they collect – and you have a little population of germs prancing about in that scrub…and then on your skin. Not using a loofah is better than misusing one, because they could give you rashes or infection.
- Unlike synthetic loofahs, the organic ones don’t do so well in the washing machine. So keeping them germ-free is a bit of an uphill task. You could put them in the dish washer, which cleans more gently. If you don’t have one, you could boil them in hot water for a few minutes or even nuke them in the microwave in a big bowl of water.
- Still paranoid about invisible creepy crawlies? You can dip it in peroxide and water overnight. Your strict loofah cleansing routine notwithstanding, it’s a good idea to replace it each month.
- Whether you’re using an organic loofah or a synthetic mesh, make sure you take it out of the wet shower after each use, wring all the water out, air and dry it in a well-ventilated room before you set it aside in a dry environment. And no, sharing is not allowed – at any cost.
- Polyester meshes aren’t the most eco-friendly choices to make — yet, they are a more practical choice. They last longer, and it’s safe to use them as long as you clean them well once a week. You can replace your synthetic mesh every two months. They are also easier to clean, dry faster and are less susceptible to bacterial colonisation.
- We suggest you stick to the organic ones, but use them wisely and invest time to keep them clean and dry. At the end of the day, the synthetic mesh doesn’t give you half as good the exfoliation that the organic one does. Go green, but stay clean.
FAB BAG PICKS
Bath & Body Works Bali Mango Shower Gel: It has been formulated to provide the ultimate shower experience, pampering you with luxurious lather, moisturizing Aloe Vera and nourishing Vitamin E that gently clean, soften and fragrance your skin. CLICK HERE to view product.
Vana Vidhi Oriental Rice Paddy Face & Body Scrub: Luxe Oils work toward a smoother, fairer and more radiant complexion over a refined skin texture while the Brown Rice is nature’s gift for gentle yet deep exfoliation. This natural scrub combats aging, wrinkles, pigmentation, tan very well, while adding an exuberant shine and illumination to lack luster skin. CLICK HERE to view product.
The Body Shop Moringa Body Scrub: Stimulates the skin and removes dead skin cells when massaged into the skin. Leaves your skin feeling soft, smooth and better prepared to absorb the next layer of moisture. This exfoliating body scrub contains real moringa seed oil. It leaves skin soft and smooth. Removes dead skin cells. CLICK HEREto view product.