In recent years, it's become trendy to advertise the natural and organic properties of products. For people who prefer to bathe with natural products, sea sponges offer the chance to soap up and scrub down with a product manufactured by Mother Nature herself. However, as with any natural or synthetic product, sea sponges have their benefits and downsides.
On the plus side, many people consider natural sea sponges to be eco-friendly. Sponges are able to grow back after they are harvested, so they could be considered a sustainable resource. Also, the harvesting process isn't believed to involve chemicals or by-products that damage the environment, which adds to the green factor [source: Brown].
Also, the rough surface of the natural sea sponges can be a good exfoliating tool for some. Tough sponges can help scrape away dead cells lingering on your skin with the potential to clog pores. By exfoliating, you'll reveal the fresh skin underneath and help keep pores free of impurities.
However, using any kind of sponge -- whether it's natural or synthetic -- might be too abrasive for some skin types. If you have sensitive skin, dry skin or a skin condition such as psoriasis, you might prefer to bathe using just your hands or a very soft cloth, since using a sponge or regular washcloth could be irritating to the skin [source: Casey]. Also, if you have oily skin that tends toward acne, harshly scrubbing your face with a sponge can just make you break out more. If so, avoid sponges altogether, and gently wash your face and pat it dry to discourage additional breakouts.
If you're still not sure whether natural sea sponges are for you, keep reading to learn how they compare with synthetic sponges.