Cosmetics, Sugar in

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

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cosmetics, sugar in, falls into three broad categories: exfoliation, depilatory, and luster.

Exfoliation refers to the removal of dead skin cells, using abrasive particles suspended in oil or fat or stuck to the surface of a glove. The supposed benefits include a “younger, glowing appearance,” although excessive exfoliation can lead to substantial skin damage. For those who nevertheless wish to abrade dead skin cells rather than wait for them to slough off naturally, sugar is a reasonable choice. Sharp-edged sugar crystals are suspended in olive oil or trapped in a bar of soap (either in commercial or domestic preparations). The crystals cut away the dry cells, but because they are soluble in water, they do not retain their edge long enough to cause serious damage to the skin.