Skin Perception

Body Scrub Vs Body Polish – Same Thing?

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There are so many different ways to exfoliate skin. And you probably wonder what's the difference between body scrub, body polisher, chemical exfoliant and which one is right for you?

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You probably already know that skin exfoliation is an essential procedure that should be part of your skincare routine. It helps to remove dead skin cells from the surface and boost cell regeneration. You see, with age the cell turnover slows down. As a result, the dead skin remains on the surface longer and causes a build-up, which makes your complexion look dull, and fine lines appear more prominent. In order to speed up skin turnover and remain the skin glowing and in good health you need to exfoliate regularly. In this article we’ll discuss body scrub vs body polish, benefits of exfoliation and best body exfoliating products.

Different Types Of Body Exfoliators

There are so many different ways to exfoliate skin! In general, all exfoliators fall into two main categories: chemical or physical/mechanical. Chemical exfoliators use naturally occurring acids like AHA, BHA, and fruit enzymes, which “dissolve” dead skin. Meanwhile, physical exfoliators use abrasive grainy particles that physically scrub off the dead skin cells of the surface. Also, exfoliating tools like loofahs, brushes, ultrasonic and microdermabrasion devices are considered physical exfoliators as well.


In addition, there are several exfoliating products on the market that combine both chemical and physical exfoliators into one product for intensified affect.

Body Scrub Vs Body Polish

Perhaps, the most questionable exfoliator among all is body polish. No wonder that people often get confused when choosing body scrub vs body polish.

Body scrub has been around for ages. This exfoliating substance contains fine grainy particles that buff away dead skin cells, and stimulates cell regeneration.

Body polish is somewhat new to the beauty market. Similarly to the body scrub, body polish is also an exfoliating substance with grainy texture that removes dead skin cells from the surface, and boosts cell turnover. So, is there a difference between these two exfoliators? Surprisingly, the answer is Yes and No! Let us explain it.

two open jars of body scrub and body polish

Initially, body scrub was designed as a skincare product that had both exfoliating and skin cleansing properties. On the other hand, body polish was formulated to only exfoliate the skin, with no cleansing benefits. However, in reality most skincare brands and salons are using both terms “body scrub” and “body polish” interchangeably. So, it is up to the individual marketers which term they want to use.

What does that mean? You can safely treat body scrub and body polish as if it is the same product. Moreover, if a particular scrub or polish does have cleansing properties, it will be specified on the label. So, scrub away, but be gentle!

Benefits Of Exfoliating

If you don’t exfoliate your body and face regularly, you are missing out on many benefits that come with skin exfoliation. Not only body exfoliation makes your skin look brighter and glowing, but also it has anti aging benefits and improves the overall health of the skin. Here are just few examples of the benefits of body exfoliation:

  • Stimulates cell turnover
  • Increases blood circulation
  • Improves skin texture
  • Improves absorption of skincare products
  • Draws out toxins
  • Provides immediate visible results

Read our comprehensive list of the benefits of body exfoliation here >>

FUN FACT: The human skin produces about 36 million skin cells every day! However, the cell turnover rate slows down as we age. For example, an average cell turnover cycle for a 30 years old person is about 28-45 days, for 40 years old it is between 45-60 days, and for 50 years old – 60 to 90 days.

Best Body Exfoliating Products

Body exfoliation is a relatively simple treatment even when it’s done at home. You just have to decide what type of exfoliator will fit better your skincare routine and your budget. That is to say, some of the most popular and desired ingredients in body scrubs are salt, sugar, coffee, oatmeal, Dead Sea mud, coconut, etc.

Above all, keep in mind that the key to successful body exfoliation is being gentle (gentle hand pressure, gentle circular movements, gentle exfoliator). Here are few great skincare products for smoother and more radiant glowing skin.

jar of shea-moisture-exfoliating body-scrub
SheaMoisture Hand and Body Scrub

Great budget option for normal and dry skin. This scrub is made with sugar and a rich blend of oils including coconut, olive oil, jojoba, shea butter, and vitamin E.

Herbivore-coco-rose-body-polish with sugar
Herbivore Coco Rose Body Polish

Detoxifying body polish that is safe for sensitive skin. It contains sugar, rose clay, organic coconut oil, shea butter, and antioxidants. Has hydrating, soothing and anti-aging properties.

DERMAdoctor KP Duty

This body scrub combines chemical and physical exfoliation. It includes AHAs, willow extract, algae, and antioxidants. The jar should last for about 80 treatments. It is not recommended for sensitive skin.

Basd Mint Coffee Scrub

All-natural invigorating scrub made with clean organic and plant-based ingredients like coffee, sea salt, coconut sugar, sweet almond oil and vitamin E. Safe for all skin types. Also available in other scents.

green tube of Skinfix-glycolic-body-scrub
Skinfix Resurface Glycolic Renewing Scrub

This double duty scrub is formulated with AHAs, grapeseed and coconut oils, and several fruit extracts. Great for those who want to address uneven skin texture and overall skin dullness.

jar of Maui-Moisture-volcanic-scrub
Maui Moisture Volcanic Scrub

Budget friendly detoxifying scrub that contains volcanic ash, sugar, sunflower seed oil, coconut water, aloe, and charcoal. It has pleasant tangy scent with notes of bergamot and ginger.

open jar of One-Love-Organics-Vitamin-c-body polish
One Love Organics Vitamin C Body Polish

Gentle organic body exfoliator with vitamin C, sugar, shea butter, and aloe vera. It’s a great all-natural option for soothing skin and improving skin texture and tone.

tube of First-Aid-beauty-KP-bump-eraser-exfoliator
First Aid Beauty KP Bump Eraser

This 2-in-1 physical and chemical exfoliator formulated with 10% AHAs, pumice beads, bisabolol, oatmeal, vitamin E and willow bark. Good for those with keratosis pilaris, uneven skin tone, and dry and normal skin.

See also our top 10 list of coffee scrubs for body!

Do you know what is the difference between salt scrub vs sugar scrub?

How To Exfoliate Your Body

  • For the best experience, try exfoliating your body after taking a hot shower or bath. To clarify, the steam will allow the softening of the skin, opening up pores and will prepare the body for the treatment.
  • Stay away from the direct water while exfoliating as it can wash off or dissolve grainy particles in your scrub too soon.
  • Apply gentle pressure and slowly move in circular motions while exfoliating your body part by part.
  • Rinse with lukewarm water and avoid towel rubbing.
  • Remember that when it comes to exfoliation “less is more.”
  • If you have normal, dry, or sensitive skin, then exfoliating once a week should be enough.
  • Those with oily or combination skin might need to exfoliate twice a week.
  • Keep in mind that over exfoliation can cause skin dehydration, dryness, severe irritation, redness or inflammation.

Post Exfoliation Skincare


Skin exfoliation can cause mild skin irritation, tightness and can be drying. So it is a good practice to use soothing and hydrating products like lotion, cream or body oil right after the procedure. In addition, exfoliated skin is more sensitive to the UV light, so it’s important to use sunscreen in order to protect the skin from the photodamage.

Tip: Try applying hydrating products on damp skin, as it will help to lock down the moisture and keep skin hydrated.

How to choose between body moisturizers – body butter, body lotion, body cream or body oil?



Brown, A. “Breaking down body scrubs.” Skin Inc., Oct, 2018

“How to safely exfoliate at home.” American Academy Of Dermatology

Howard, D. “Skin exfoliation 101.” The International Dermal Institute, Apr. 2019

Rodan, K, Fields, K. “Skincare bootcamp: The evolving role of skincare.” PRS Global Open, Dec. 2016

Smith, W.P, Bishop, M, Gillis, G, Maibach H. “Topical proteolytic enzymes affect epidermal and dermal properties.” International Journal Of Cosmetic Science, Feb. 2007, Vol. 29, Issue 1

Tran, D, Townley J. “An antiaging skincare system containing alpha hydroxyl acids and vitamins improves the biomechanical parameters of facial skin.” Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology, 2015

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