A long time now -we’re talking 4 years plus- I have not used any sponge on my face. And as for the rest of my body, I usually limit using a sponge to about 8 times a month. Yes! Even with the whole natural sponge publicity going around, I held my ground.
This decision will appear strange to some because growing up Nigerian and learning to wash yourself, we’re taught that the harder you scrub the better. This rule also applied to the face. I remember memories of almost scrubbing my skin raw just to please my mum and don’t get me started with the unhealthy amount of antiseptic my little self used in my water to get rid of those nasty germs.
Over the years, as I grew older, I’d say I carried this concept with me until I learned of a few things. Because of these things I came to discover, I also stopped washing my face in the shower completely. I’d shower as normal without washing my face, then wash up with my preferred face wash at the hand basin. What I did to exfoliate was to make use of effective facial scrubs and silicone facial brushes.
WHY I STARTED USING A SPONGE AGAIN
I know you’re already curious to know what exactly I heard that made me become so averse to sponges. Before we get to that, let me gist you guys why I broke my nearly 5 years old skincare rule. Some weeks ago, my cousin was complaining about her skin acting up since she stopped using her sponge and how she needed a new one fast. Obviously, I looked at her in confusion, I’ve been sponge free for years with no side effects. How could she be blaming her skin reaction to the lack of use of a sponge?
I voiced my thoughts, and she laughed and said: “For your mind, you think say you dey bathe better bathe?”. I think that sentence summarizes how our argument went back and forth until we got home. As a result of this, I got thinking. What harm would using a sponge really do to my skin? I’ve never had to deal with serious acne, which is why some people I know quite the sponge. My skin was fine before and after it, why not? So, I went on my 2-week sponge test!
Now, what exactly was the reason for my sponge abstinence? Here they are…
Too harsh for your skin
According to most dermatologists, the material used in making most bath sponges is too rough for the face. As good as an exfoliating material as it is, it tends to over-exfoliate our skin. Continuous use of sponges can cause skin irritations over time.
Home of germs
Because of the materials used and the fact that most of the time your sponge is wet/damp, it breeds a lot of infectious germs. In situations when the sponges aren’t washed properly before, and after each use, issues of germs worsen.
Knowledge of these two facts scared me away from sponges almost completely for years until a couple of weeks ago. After my little ‘chat’ with my cousins, I started using sponges again.
How I carried out the 2-week sponge test
I limited my use to three times a week on my face and every day for the rest of my body. Next, I made use of a glove sponge which I soaked in vinegar water for a few minutes before each bath (I also take vinegar baths twice a month). I used the sponge on my face first, rubbing in mild circular motions for a minute or two before rinsing. Then rinsed the sponge again before proceeding with the rest of my body (Yes; I used the same sponge for my face and body). Once through with my shower, I rinsed it again with running water and brought it out to dry (not in the bathroom). I followed this process judiciously for two weeks and let me tell you, I’ve not loved the feel of my skin so much after a shower.
My skin feels a lot softer and so far, I’ve not noticed any skin irritation or breakout. It makes me ask myself why I’d been avoiding sponges for so long.
From my routine, you could see that although I’ve had zero side effects with wonderful results, I’ve also been very strict in ensuring my sponge is clean and properly dried. I didn’t use it daily on my face. Exfoliating daily isn’t the wisest idea. I’d definitely encourage anyone to embrace the sponge lifestyle, but with certain things to follow:
How To Care For Your Sponge
- Use a soft sponge. Avoid the unnecessarily hard ones, especially if you have sensitive or dry skin.
- If you use the same sponge for your face and body, I advise starting with your face. The reason being your face is more reactive to germs than the rest of your body and with proper cleansing daily is also less loaded with dirt. Washing the face first as the sponge is freshly soaked and cleaned, is a wiser choice rather than going to the nooks and cranny of your body then bringing it back to your face.
- Ensure to clean your sponge regularly by soaking it in vinegar water or leaving it to sit in a bowl of water and antiseptic.
- Ensure you air dry it properly, preferably outside where it’s airy and lit. Germs and bacteria breed perfectly in damp -and dark- environments.
- Do not scrub your skin too hard. The material of the sponge is coarse enough, scrubbing aggressively does more harm than good.
- Ensure to replace your sponge as often as possible. Because of its affordability, this should cost little to nothing.
Through this test so far, it comes to show that sponges aren’t as bad as they seem. And work a lot better than our finger despite claims that fingers work just as fine. With proper care and regular replacement. You could use even use the same sponge for your face and body. You’re good to enjoy the wonderful exfoliating benefits of your sponge.
Do you use a sponge on your face?
Have you had any negative experience with Sponges so far?
Let me know!