What is a bath sponge?For about 6, 500 years, people have been practicing sponge diving to extract natural sponges. The sponges harvested in this way were very expensive, so they were considered a luxury product.
The first known bath sponges were obtained from the skeleton of Hornkiel sponge. This is a sponge species living in the water, which occurs mainly in oceans, rarely in fresh waters. By washing out, walking and air drying, the mesh skeleton is exposed, reminiscent of the substance of silk threads.
Until the modern era sponges were mainly used from the middle more, only from the mid-nineteenth century kept by maritime trade and Caribbean sponges entry into the baths of Europe. They were used to cleanse and massage the skin.
For about 6, 500 years, people have been practicing sponge diving to extract natural sponges. The sponges harvested in this way were very expensive, so they were considered a luxury product. In England, for example, in 1870 imports of Mediterranean bath sponges made headlines for £ 113, 000. At about the same time, therefore, began to cultivate bath sponges by artificial propagation - with medium success.
Due to the progressing industrialization and development of new synthetic materials, most of the bath sponges used today are artificially manufactured. However, with a return to natural products, the demand for natural sponges is increasing again.
Shapes, types & types
Basically bath sponges are divided into natural and synthetic sponges. Among the most commonly used natural sponges are the Spongia officinalis ("common bath sponge") and the coarser Hippospongia equina ("horse sponge") from the Mediterranean. Also important are Caribbean bath sponges like Spongia barbara, Spongia graminea or Hippospongia lachne. The bath sponge is one of the multicellular organisms that feed on plankton. It is a high-performance filter: it sifts almost 2, 000 liters of seawater daily.
Due to their animal origin, natural sponges are about ten to twenty times more expensive than an artificially produced bath sponge. But not all natural sponges are suitable for cosmetic use. This is reserved for horny sponges. When dry, the horn sponges are fibrous and rough when soaked in water, but leave a pleasant feeling on the skin when used with gentle circular movements for wet massage. They dissolve dead skin cells and stimulate blood circulation. The skin becomes soft and the tissue is massaged.
The finest natural sponge is the bath sponge harvested on the Syrian and small Asian coast. Consumers especially appreciate those bath sponges that have a regular round or conical shape. The tenderest bath sponges from the eastern Mediterranean are bought almost exclusively for consumption in Paris.
The so-called Konjac bath sponges are also enjoying great popularity. They are made from the plant fiber of the white konjac plant, which belongs to the family of the arum family. Strictly speaking, they are not really sponges. Modern artificial sponges are not as absorbent as natural sponges and remain harder in their structure. This effect is appreciated by some users.
Structure & functionality
A natural bath sponge consists of a framework of horny threads, which are arranged in mesh or mesh. The material is called spongy. Chemically, it is a collagen-like protein that serves to crosslink the sponge needles. However, the horny sponges suitable for cosmetic applications do not form sponge needles, which is why their complete skeleton exclusively consists of spongin. This guarantees the soft consistency of the bath sponges. Although spongy is rough when dry, it becomes very tender when in contact with water.
Natural sponges are robust and extremely durable if properly cared for. Bath sponges have always been refined by, for example, washing them in hot soda solution. However, the finishing always takes place at the expense of durability.
People who do not want to use natural sponges because of their animal origin, but also do not tolerate modern artificial sponges, can resort to natural sponges of plant origin. Here is primarily the Luffa sponge to call, which is obtained from the Luffa cucumber. Loofah sponges are harder than natural bath sponges and are especially suitable for body scrub.
Medical and health benefits
In addition to skin care and stimulation of circulation, bath sponges are also used in other areas. In the past, sponge compresses were used in surgical practice to remove wounds from liquids. For this purpose, one made use of the enormous suction power of natural sponges. An iodine-containing sponge was also used in the past to treat goiter. Furthermore, find small cut natural sponges in feminine hygiene as an alternative to the tampon use.
Bath sponge is also used today to filter water, for example in the field of aquaristics. The main application of the bath sponge remains, however, due to its Kostspieligkeit, the cosmetics. Here it is used for foaming and applying care products in the bathroom, such as soaps, shower baths or exfoliating lotions. These are massaged into the skin with gentle circular movements.
Due to its natural fibers, the skin can be gently exfoliated even with the sole use of the bath sponge. It gently removes dead skin cells and stimulates the blood circulation of the skin at the same time. Natural sponges are hypoallergenic and are suitable for the care of all skin types, even for the sensitive part of the face. They can also be used for dry brushing after Kneipp.