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The Evolution of Paraffin Treatments
By: Elizabeth Myron
Posted: May 30, 2008, from the June 2008 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
From stove top to tank-heating, paraffin, as it is known today, has evolved from origins of being brushed on wounds by the French for its therapeutic benefits. Moving into the beauty industry, it has been used for its esthetic value of moist heat tissue regeneration, becoming identified as thermotherapy. Paraffin therapy also is known to be successful in reducing pain and stiffness around joints by removing excess fluid from the surrounding tissue while also providing lubrication and reducing the signs of aging.
Yet knowing the therapeutic benefits of paraffin doesn’t make the delivery process of the liquid any easier for treatment therapists. Many in the professional industry have long been waiting for the next generation system that will deliver paraffin to the treatment site quickly, simply and more hygienically than traditional methods. With a reinvigorated interest and new ideas on the subject, paraffin treatments are back and here to stay.
Paraffin is a clear, white liquid matter that is tasteless, odorless and can be obtained from hydrocarbons through dry distillation of petroleum. Paraffin has many uses and can be found in various items in the cosmetic industry, including creams, lipsticks and hair products, as well as being used to waterproof material or as an ingredient in candle-making. Identified in the 1830s by German scientist Karl Ludwig von Reichenbach, paraffin wax has earned quite a name for itself in the beauty industry, especially in regard to its ability to help revitalize lifeless, aging or undernourished skin.
When in liquid form, paraffin has the ability to expand and mold itself in and around the peaks and valleys of the skin. On cooling, it quickly begins to contract, compacting its molecules closely together and solidifying itself around the contours of the area being treated. This creates an encapsulated envelope, eliminating the loss of heat.
When applied as heated flowing fluid, paraffin has the ability to transfer heat to the skin’s tissue, creating natural thermal energy and enabling the active product applied under the paraffin to possess energy that can transfer active ingredients into the skin. Through this method, skin is transformed with the use of infusion.