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Your bathtub or shower stall can be an oasis of relaxation and restoration, providing you with a bit of "me time" in the middle of a busy day. Selecting the right products to take into that special space with you can help you get the most out of your daily ritual. Both natural loofahs and synthetic poufs exfoliate and cleanse the skin, but which is best for you?

The Synthetic Pouf

A bath pouf is a cleansing aid made out of synthetic mesh panels bunched together in the center to form a ball. They come in a variety of colors and usually can be found in your local drugstore or supermarket. They generally cost less than $10, but they need to be replaced regularly. Experts recommend replacing your shower pouf every three weeks in order to prevent the accumulation of bacteria and yeast.

Benefits of a Shower Pouf

Unlike washcloths, shower poufs do not need to be laundered. After use you can simply rinse a pouf, then hang it to dry. The use of a shower pouf also makes your bottle of bodywash last longer. Unlike washing with your hands, a shower pouf increases lather production, and unlike a sponge, a pouf does not absorb product. Additionally, those with sensitive skin may find that a pouf is less irritating than a loofah.

The Natural Loofah

A loofah is not man-made like a shower pouf. Loofahs are made from part of a plant that is a member of the cucurbit family. The part of the plant that is made into a shower aid is its fibrous seed pod. Although the term loofah is often misused to describe natural sea sponges, the two are not the same thing. Sea sponges are a member of the animal kingdom.

Benefits of the Loofah

Genuine loofahs can be harder to find than shower poufs. It may be necessary to visit specialty beauty-supply shops or order them online. In general, loofahs can last longer than shower poufs because they can withstand being sanitized by soaking in a solution of bleach and water. When dried between uses and sanitized weekly, a loofah can last for a month or more. Like a shower pouf, a loofah will help you get the most out of your bodywash by increasing lather production, and it does not require trips through the washing machine.