DIY Sugar Scrub To Remove Dry Skin

If you suffer from dry, winter skin, this do-it-yourself shower scrub may be exactly what you need. The scrub is designed to remove old, dead skin while helping seal in skin’s moisture. It smells good too.

Depending on the condition of your skin, you can use this scrub weekly, or even daily, instead of your usual soap in the shower.

Why It’s Good

This simple scrub is made with three ingredients: carrier oil, sugar, and a few drops of essential oil for scent and health benefits.

Here are the ingredients and what they do:

1. Carrier oil is a vegetable or base oil used to dilute essential oils. Their name comes from their purpose: they carry the essential oil to the skin. Example carrier oils include avocado, olive, or sunflower oil. They help keep skin moist and supple and contain antioxidant vitamins like vitamin A and E and other nutrients.

2. Sugar is a mild abrasive to remove dry skin. It will clean out your pores and it’s a natural humectant – it can help your skin retain moisture.

3. Essential oils (lavender for the purposes of this scrub) create a wonderful fragrance. Each essential oil has its own properties, but they’re easily absorbed into your body through breathing or the skin. They can stimulate your immune system, kill bacteria and viruses, help cells grow and eliminate toxins, and more. When you smell them, they stimulate the part of the brain that controls memory and emotion. That’s why they can be soothing (like lavender) or stimulating (like peppermint).

How To Make It

The recipe below is designed to make a bigger batch of this scrub. To make it in smaller quantities, think of the recipe as a 4:1 ratio of sugar to carrier oil with a sprinkling of essential oil for aroma and healing. (Note: If you end up using the scrub often, this batch won’t last long.)


  • Approximately 2 cups of carrier oil. You can use avocado, olive, or sunflower oil for the ingredient
  • 8 cups granulated sugar (a 4 pound bag)
  • 30 drops (add more or less based on your scent preference) of lavendula angustifolia (botanical name for lavender) essential oil

If you don’t know where to get these ingredients, scroll down to the bottom of this page.


1. Mix sugar and half of the carrier oil in a large glass or stainless steel bowl using a stainless steel spoon. Don’t use plastic because it might be porous and retain the scent.

  • The final consistency should be on the thicker side and moist. As you’re mixing, if it’s getting too thick, add in a little bit of your second cup of carrier oil at a time and stir to create a consistency that you’re comfortable with.

2. Slowly add the drops of essential oil to the mixture to create an aroma that’s pleasurable. You don’t want it to be overpowering.

3. Place the well mixed ingredients into individual plastic containers with easy to remove lids – don’t use glass. It can be dangerous in the shower. If the oil and sugar have separated when you open the container, just shake or stir it.

Using the Scrub

When you’re taking a shower, apply a small handful of the scrub to either your skin or a wash cloth, and rub it gently around your body. When you’re finished, make sure you rinse thoroughly.

Beware that using oil in the shower can create slippery surfaces – oil and water don’t mix. When you’re finished showering, be sure the bottom of your tub is free of oil for the next person who uses it.

Where to buy the ingredients to make this scrub:

You can buy sugar and some of the carrier oils at the grocery store, but a trip to a health food store is probably your best option. They’ll have a wider selection of organic oils and sugar – to reduce your exposure to chemicals or preservatives. Look for cold-pressed oils as they have the most nutrients.

Essential oils can be found at integrative or complementary health care offices or pharmacies, in health food and specialty stores, or online. Make sure the essential oils are 100 percent pure, natural, and therapeutic grade. One tip is to look for the botanical name on the label, like lavendula angustifolia for lavender.

Meet the Author

Nancy Conway is the Director of Integrative Medicine at Aurora Health Care in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Read more posts from this author

The information presented in this site is intended for general information and educational purposes. It is not intended to replace the advice of your own physician. Contact your physician if you believe you have a health problem.

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