According to the site, Eszlinger.com, we human beings shed about 600,000 particles of skin per hour or about 1.5 pounds a year. Moreover, by the age of 70, we shed and regrow about 1,000 new skins in a lifetime. That’s a huge potential for clogged pores and the skin problems that are associated with not removing these damaged, dead cells thoroughly. However, there seems to be some disagreement as to which tool is the most effective at removing dead skin cells. Some people say that loofahs are better than washcloths. Either way, both should be used in conjunction with an exfoliating body scrub. Here are the arguments for and against the use of washcloths and loofahs.
For the sake of clarity, a loofah is a coarse, fibrous cylindrical object used for bathing and washing in the manner that a sponge would be. It is made of the dried fibrous matter of the fluid-transport system of a marrow-like fruit. Many people swear by the effectiveness of loofahs, particularly when used to clean large areas of skin. Loofahs are designed to be very effective at exfoliating the skin in the way that simply washing alone cannot do. Unfortunately, loofahs have become well known for latching on to and providing a home for bacteria. Under some conditions, they can leach on to bacteria such as staphylococcus. Staphylococcus is known for causing staph infections. For this reason, experts recommend that people who use loofahs boil them often in order to destroy germs. Other tips for properly caring for loofahs include:
- Let them dry between uses
- Replace them often
- Microwave them
- Bleach them to destroy germs
Finally, because loofahs are coarser than washcloths, they are potentially rougher on the skin. Some people who use them are actually damaging their skin in an attempt to cleanse their skin more thoroughly.
On the other hand, there is the good old, reliable washcloth. Washcloths are better at helping to exfoliate more sensitive areas of the skin such as the face. Moreover, washcloths are excellent at removing excessive oil since they are absorbent whereas a loofah is not. The main drawback to a washcloth is that it has to be cleaned more often and it can take several of them to exfoliate and cleanse the skin in one session.
In brief, both loofahs and washcloths have their advantages and disadvantages. Some people, such as Dr. Jessica Krant, M.D., board-certified New York City dermatologist and founder of Art of Dermatology LLC, suggests that neither be used. At Apothederm – where we sell cream for stretch marks – we recommend that people use a combination of the two in order to determine which option is best for them.