Which is better: physical exfoliation or chemical exfoliation?
Chemical exfoliants break down the keratin protein or the bond between cells. Ergo, everything is happening at the cellular level. This causes dead skin to start flaking or peeling. On the other hand, physical exfoliants or scrubs feature little grains that have some sort of rough texture. Gently applying that grainy texture on the skin results in debris getting sloughed off, leaving you with instantly smoother skin.
I haven’t used facial scrubs for quite some time since I damaged my skin’s acid mantle years ago through excessive exfoliation in my desperate, decade-long quest to treat my adult acne. However, with the warmer weather requiring a change of products in my regimen, plus the better and healthier state of my skin these days, I persuaded myself to try using a scrub again. I selected the TOSOWOONG Black Sugar Scrub.
A tub of the Black Sugar Scrub contains a whopping 160 grams for the price of just – wait for it! – US$10 (excluding shipping, sorry). I’ve been testing this product for four weeks now and I’ve barely managed to scrape the top off. You only need very little for your face (remember, this is physical exfoliation and you can overdo it if you’re not careful) so I foresee that this will last me probably until the end of summer.
Image from Tosowoong.net
It’s not just the price that attracted me to this product. A look at the ingredients puts sucrose (sugar) first on the list, followed by mineral oil and PEG-7 Glyceryl Cocoate (PEG stands for Polyethylene Glycol which is supposed to be soluble in water). Doing my patch testing for the scrub prior to regular use didn’t produce any adverse reactions but if you’re not too keen on having mineral oil in your scrub, best to look elsewhere. I also ran the ingredients through COSDNA to see if there are any possible acne triggers. Only Olea Europea husk oil a.k.a. olives and butylene glycol raised low alerts.
A partial list of the ingredients from COSDNA. View the full list here
“Sugar, Oh Honey, Honey …”
Brown sugar, like honey, is a known humectant, which means it attracts water from the air. That’s why it clumps up if you store it improperly because it needs the moisture in the air to stay soft.
Brown sugar is also a good source of glycolic acid, which attracts water – which then equals moisture – and, true to its purpose in this scrub, it’s a natural exfoliant. But just to make sure, I stopped using BHA and AHA on my face for at least two weeks prior to using the scrub just to avoid any possible weird reactions.
It’s the humectant properties of sugar that made me realize just how different this scrub is from the other ones I’ve tried and thrown away before. Those left my skin tight, dry and sensitive right after using. With the Black Sugar Scrub, my skin remains soft and bouncy after use followed by a facial wash. Even with the once-a-week usage of the scrub shows results. Patting on some Haba Labo hyaluronic acid lotion afterwards further increases my skin’s moisture-retention abilities so the rest of the products in my routine are absorbed better. With my minimal makeup, I no longer suffer from “foundation flake.” I should have resumed physical exfoliation earlier!
(Photo, left) I store the scrub in the fridge to keep it firm which means I don’t need to use a lot each time.
(Right) Look at all that sugary goodness!
Thanks to its affordable price and ample contents, I’m also using the scrub on my arms, legs, feet and back so that I can enjoy the full benefits. It’s such a pleasure to see my skin brighter and smoother, and that gives the TOSOWOONG Black Sugar Scrub high marks for me.