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Stealing the Limelight

Cathy Christensen December 2009 issue of Skin Inc. magazine
limes on a yellow plate

Lime has always been one of my favorite flavors; its tangy tartness dances on the tongue and livens up any dish—or drink, for that matter. The summer before I went to college, I visited a friend in Oklahoma and had my first experience with a drink called cherry limeade. There really is nothing like this drink; it’s as refreshing as lemonade, but with a different kick, and is still something that I crave on summer days.

Who can deny the element limes add to alcoholic beverages—what would a margarita or mojito be without lime? And a Corona seems naked without the juicy green wedge crowning the bottle. Limes always have me thinking summer thoughts and, in the middle of winter, the treats of summer are where my mind wanders.

In the kitchen

Limes, or Citrus aurantifolia, grow on trees in tropical and subtropical climates, are 1–1.5 inches in diameter, oval-to-round in shape and have a thin peel that ranges in color from yellow to green. The largest producer of limes is Brazil, followed by Mexico and the United States, with its lime production taking place mainly in southern Florida.1 There are many different types of limes, but the main varieties are Mexican and Persian. They are an excellent source of vitamin C and are enjoyed in a variety of ways, including in soups, marinades, dressings and desserts.2

Spa cuisine chefs use lime to flavor and star in many dishes and drinks, including the following:

Vietnamese Beef Salad, a savory dish with a marinade and dressing featuring freshly squeezed lime juice—Mountain Trek Fitness Retreat and Health Spa, Ainsworth Hot Springs, British Columbia, Canada;

Thai Tuna Seviche Salad, including coconut-lime chutney and spicy chilies—SpaTerre, The Hotel Viking, Newport, Rhode Island;

Beer Steamed Shrimp Cocktail with Avocado Vinaigrette & Mixed Greens, including lime juice in the vinaigrette—Golden Door, Escondido, California;

Lime Soup with Tortilla Strips and Chicken—The Heartland Spa, Gilman, Illinois;

CaCactus Drink, an antioxidant-rich prickly pear drink with lime—Laja Spa at Casa de Sierra Nevada, San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico; and

Lemongrass and Lime Leaf Broth with Jasmine Rice and Fresh Vegetables—See this recipe from The Spa Ritual in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

In the spa

Limes also offer solutions to many spa challenges. Lime oil is extracted from the peel of the fruit and is used in body oils, cosmetics, hair oils, toothpastes, soaps and deodorants, to name a few.3 Also, because limes are high in vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant, lime oil and products containing it can help smooth skin and reduce the appearance of dark spots.4 Lime oil has an astringent quality that helps improve skin tone, and its antiscorbutic, or scurvy-preventing, properties, help detoxify and clear skin of waste material, which is especially useful in fighting cellulite. It can assist with poor or compromised circulation and can help clear oily skin as well, not to mention it has an uplifting scent that adds to any skin care treatment or product5, including:

The Margarita Scrub, which is a natural exfoliating treatment featuring a blend of lime, orange, apple and tangerine essential oils with tequila, sunflower oil and salt—The Spa at Four Seasons Hotel, Los Angeles at Beverly Hills, Los Angeles;

The Desert Spa Lemon-Lime Facial, which revives tired skin—The Desert Spa, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico;

The Key Lime Salt Body Scrub, which polishes dull skin with a lime-scented salt scrub and finishes with a coconut-lime body cream—The Spa at Cheeca, Cheeca Lodge & Spa, Islamorada, Florida;

The Wild Lime Blossom Scalp Treatment, which uses fresh citrus oil to replenish hair and invigorate the senses—Stowe Mountain Lodge, Stowe, Vermont;

The Citrus Salt Glow, which combines lime and lemon essential oils with Australian sea salts for an uplifting exfoliation—Jurlique Spa at Mayfair Hotel & Spa, Coconut Grove, Florida;

The Mayaimi Tropical Feet Treat—For this step-by-step how-to from Canyon Ranch Hotel & Spa at Miami Beach, Miami Beach, Florida, log on to, and;

The Green Tea and Lime Leaf Body Exfoliate with Vichy Treatment—See the step-by-step how-to from Cooper Spa at Cooper Aerobics Center in McKinney, Texas, to test this offering for your own clients.

Lime is an extremely popular ingredient in professional skin care products as well, due to its tangy scent and even more tantalizing benefits. It’s included in the following products:

Beauty Secrets’ Ytsara Detox Body Mask contains 18 herbs and essential oils, including kaffir lime, to assist with the elimination of toxins.

Youngblood Mineral Cosmetics’ Minerals in the Mist blends of pure essential oils, minerals and vitamins for hydration and protection, including Restore, which features lime, grapefruit and rosemary.

Yon-Ka Paris’ Crème 93combats excess T-zone shine and revitalizes skin using ylang-ylang and lime.

Elemis’ Exotic Lime and Ginger Salt Glow features lime peel to energize, cleanse and purify the skin.

Bubalina’s Tropical Lime line uses lime essential oil to stimulate cell renewal while smoothing and softening skin.

Biotone’s Green Tea & Lime Leaf Salt Glow helps soothe anxiety, improve circulation and restore depleted energy.

Keyano Aromatics’ Coconut Lime collection provides protection, hydration and skin-soothing aspects for facials, body treatments and pedicures.

Prime lime

Its refreshing scent, tangy flavor and incredible skin benefits can bring a splash of summer to the winter days at your spa. Invite clients to try a variety of lime-based treatments and tastes from your spa, quenching their thirst for that summer feeling by coming through your doors.


1. (Accessed Oct 5, 2009)

2. (Accessed Oct 9, 2009)

3. (Accessed Oct 9, 2009)

4. (Accessed Oct 9, 2009)

5. (Accessed Oct 9, 2009)

6. (Accessed Oct 9, 2009)

7. (Accessed Oct 5, 2009)



Quick Facts: Lime

  • Christopher Columbus took citrus-fruit seeds, probably including limes, to the West Indies on his second voyage in 1493.1


  • Limes were formerly used by the British Navy to prevent scurvy, hence the nickname “limey” for the British.1


  • Limes provide enzymatic cooking action that turns raw seafood into ceviche without using any heat.2


  • The rinds of juiced limes can be used to clean copper-bottomed pots and pans.2


  • Lime juice and its oil help reduce body odor due to their vitamin C and flavonoid content.3


  • The Association for a Better Lime Experience (AFABLE), a lime advocacy group, was founded in 2003 to promote lime’s flavor and health benefits.6


  • Most limes marketed in the United States are grown in Mexico.7


Recipe: Lemongrass and Lime Leaf Broth with Jasmine Rice and Fresh Vegetables

From The Spa Ritual, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Lemongrass and Lime Leaf Broth with Jasmine Rice and Fresh Vegetables

Makes 1 serving


1/2 ounce chopped onion

1/2 ounce chopped garlic

1/2 ounce chopped ginger

1/2 ounce chopped celery

2 ounces chopped lemongrass

1/4 ounces lime leaf

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil

4 cups water

6 tablespoons 1/4-inch diced carrots

6 tablespoons 1/4-inch diced celery

6 tablespoons 1/4-inch diced red pepper

6 tablespoons 1/4-inch diced yellow pepper

1⁄3 cup uncooked jasmine rice



1. Heat olive oil in a large pot at low heat.

2. When hot, add onion, garlic, ginger, ½ ounce chopped celery, lemongrass and lime leaf, and sauté for 3–5 minutes, until fragrant.

3. Add salt and pepper; stir.

4. Add water and simmer at medium heat for 30 minutes to create the broth. Strain the liquid to make approximately 2 cups broth. Taste for seasoning, and add salt or pepper as needed.

5. During this time, prepare the uncooked jasmine rice according to package instructions.

6. In a warm bowl, add 3 tablespoons each of the carrots, celery, red pepper and yellow pepper. Top with 1 cup jasmine rice.

7. Add remaining chopped carrots, celery, red pepper and yellow pepper on top of the rice.

8. Pour hot broth into bowl and garnish with cilantro.

Treatment How-to: The Green Tea and Lime Leaf Body Exfoliate with Vichy Treatment

From Cooper Spa at Cooper Aerobics Center in Dallas and McKinney, Texas 50 minutes

The antioxidant blend used during The Green Tea and Lime Leaf Body Exfoliate with Vichy Treatment assists with soothing anxiety, improving circulation, restoring energy and revitalizing the skin.

Treatment duration:

Treatment cost: $105

Ingredients needed for green tea and lime leaf exfoliate:

1 cup fine-grade Dead Sea salts

1/2 cup grape seed oil

2 drops green tea extract

2 drops green tea and lime leaf customized essential oil

Other product:

1/4 cup green tea-lime leaf shea body butter

Equipment and supplies needed:

Vichy shower table

Wet treatment room

6 regularly sized towels

1 full-sized body towel

Small bowl

Mixing utensil

Massage room

Massage table


Room setup:

The Vichy table should be set up with one towel for beneath the body, one towel that acts as a cushion for the head and one full-sized body towel for appropriate coverage of the client. Once the table is complete, prepare the body exfoliate using the small bowl and mixing utensil. Mix the green tea and lime leaf exfoliate, combining the salts, grape seed oil, green tea extract and the green tea and lime leaf customized essential oil. Warm the exfoliate and body butter by running hot water into the sink and placing the bowls in the hot water. Lastly, set a towel in a convenient place for client to use to dry off after using the Vichy shower.

Step 1: Before the service, ask the client to complete a health history form.

Step 2: Greet client in the relaxation room and address any health issues or concerns that have been noted on health history. Ensure your client is not allergic to any of the ingredients added in the exfoliate. Note that cleansing and exfoliation spa therapies are not recommended for those who are pregnant, or suffer from heart disease, irregular blood pressure, open wounds, highly sensitive skin or have shaved 24 hours before to the treatment.

Step 3: Before beginning the service, make sure all client questions and concerns are answered.

Step 4: Inform the client that you will be stepping out of the room for her to disrobe and ask her to lie faceup under the body towel on the table.

Step 5: After allowing sufficient time for the client to get comfortable, return to the room and ensure that your client is warm and comfortable.

Step 6: Gently apply the green tea and lime leaf exfoliate to the body, starting at the feet and working your way up the body to the chest. Apply the scrub in a circular upward motion toward the heart, along with an effleurage technique to ensure proper lymphatic drainage.

Step 7: Once the exfoliant has been applied to the front of the body, ask the client to sit up while keeping the towel in place in order to exfoliate the back and gluteus. Repeat method described in Step 6.

Step 8: Ask client to remain sitting up while you warm the hand control to a desired temperature to rinse off the exfoliate.

Step 9: After rinsing, help client lie back down on a clean towel before proceeding to Vichy rinse.

Step 10: Turn on the Vichy shower allowing the water to reach a desired temperature before pulling it over your client. Request that the client lets you know if the temperature is too warm or cold, and adjust it to her needs.

Step 11: Once the temperature is correct, position the showerheads to hit all the body parts. Make sure all the showerheads are on and trickling on your client at all times.

Step 12: Pat your client’s face as needed in order to keep the face dry and comfortable from the Vichy’s water spray.

Step 13: Allow five minutes of relaxing water massage for the client while you make sure all the salts are dissolved, leaving no exfoliate on the skin. After five minutes, turn off the Vichy shower and push it away from client.

Step 14: Pat the client dry and assist her in sitting upright before leaving the room to allow the client time to dry off and slip on her robe in private.

Step 15: Meet your client in the hallway with a glass of lemon water and escort her to the massage room for the remainder of the service. Ask your client to lie facedown under the top sheet, as you will now be completing her service with a 25-minute Swedish massage.

Step 16: Once the client has disrobed, return to the room and administer the Swedish massage for 25 minutes using the green tea and lime leaf shea body butter. Ask the client to turn over in the middle of the service to complete the massage while she is faceup.

Step 17: Once you have completed the massage, inform your client in a soft voice that her service is now complete. Let her know you are leaving the room to allow her time to re-robe when she feels ready.

Step 18: Greet the client outside the room with another glass of lemon water. Walk her back to the relaxation room, where she may relax before leaving the spa.

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