November 4, 2012

Natural Sea Sponges Vs. Synthetic Sponges

Browse the bath and beauty section of any store and you will notice a variety of scrubbers and cleansing implements to scour every part of the body. There are all kinds of sponges, both natural and man-made, among the many utensils displayed. With so many options before you, it can be difficult to know which is right for your needs. Synthetic sponges often outnumber the natural ones, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are better for your skin.

Environmental Concerns
Natural sea sponges are living creatures that fall into one of three categories. These categories are based on what their skeletons are made from - calcium carbonate, glass, or organic matter. They can regenerate after harvest, but stop long before they reach the store. Once they are no longer consuming organic materials they stop growing. Due to their regenerative properties, they are a sustainable resource and thus an eco-friendly product. Additionally, harvesting practices are believed to be free from chemicals and other by-products that may damage the environment.

natural -sponges-vs-synthetic-sponges

Man-made sponges are often embedded with ingredients that discourage the growth of harmful germs. While this may seem like a pro to some, it is also very much a con. Triclosan is the antimicrobial ingredient of choice that is often used today. The possible negative effects of triclosan on the nervous system and hormones have been continually debated.

Benefits of Both
Natural sea sponges have a rough surface that is great for exfoliating the skin. Exfoliating helps to unclog pores by removing dead skin cells and dirt lingering on the skin. Synthetic sponges often have softer fibers, which can be easier on sensitive skin. Those who are concerned with appearance often choose synthetic. Man-made sponges come in a wide variety of shapes and colors to suit any style, while sea sponges are only available in earthy tones.

Skin Conditions to Consider
Before choosing one type of sponge over another, it is important to take any skin conditions into consideration. Various chemicals can irritate the skin and cause uncomfortable flare-ups of skin conditions.
Eczema and contact dermatitis can make using abrasive sponges tricky. It is important to be extra gentle to avoid unnecessary irritation. A scratchy sponge may also aggravate dry skin issues. Those with super dry skin or psoriasis may choose to forgo the sponge and use their hand or a soft washcloth while scrubbing in order to minimize irritation. Oily skin, especially that prone to acne breakouts, should not be scrubbed harshly. While it may seem like a logical solution to cleanse oily skin as much as possible, doing so can actually do more harm than good. Drying out your skin through intense scrubbing causes oil glands to go into overdrive which leads to additional breakouts.

When it comes down to a choice of natural versus synthetic, personal preference often rules. The overall health and condition of the skin should always be a factor in the decision-making process. And the right texture and type of sponge will keep your skin looking vibrant and glowing for years to come.

Guest author Alicia Smith does graphic design for Subtle Network Design & Marketing.  After spending all day sitting in an uncomfortable chair, staring at a computer screen, she usually needs a bit of pampering at night.  Nothing sooths her frayed nerves like a hot bubble bath.

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1 comment:

  1. Anonymous3:36 PM

    Overall, the choice between natural sea sponges and artificial sponges comes down to personal preference.


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