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Beautifying the Body

Contact Author Mary Bemis May 2006 issue of Skin Inc. magazine

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“Clients not only are concerned with anti-aging treatments for the face, but for the body as well,” says Ursula Longo, spa director at the PSYC at The Parker Palm Springs in Palm Springs, California. “The body is not to be neglected.”

To help restore skin’s elasticity, the spa offers Extended Youth, a two-hour body treatment that is popular with 30-plus women—specifically those who recently have given birth, and men seeking to combat sun damage.

Spa away the age

At the new Spa Avania at Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Gainey Ranch in Scottsdale, Arizona, one of the more popular treatments is the De-age Body Wrap. Spa director Kyra Johnson believes that clients should start anti-aging treatments while in their early 20s. “The idea of anti-aging is about taking steps to prevent premature aging. Aging is natural, and skin will lose elasticity. We can, however, slow down this process by taking good care of our skin from the inside out and the outside in. The best possible thing to do to prevent premature aging, stretch marks and cellulite is dry brushing,” asserts Johnson.

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When it comes to the best anti-aging spa treatments, Howard Sobel, MD, founder of Skin & Spa Cosmetic Surgery Center in New York, says, “Scrubs will help eliminate dry dead skin cells and smooth skin texture. Wraps will aid in eliminating water retention for temporary results.”

“For optimal health of the skin, it’s necessary to remove dead skin cells through exfoliating with sea salts or mildly abrasive products, such as body scrubs, loofahs and brushes,” says Tiffany Craig, spa director at The Spa at Four Seasons Hotel Chicago. “This refinement of the epidermis not only makes the skin smoother, but it actually improves microcirculation, enhances penetration of products and accelerates the growth of new cells—all of which lead to more youthful-looking skin.”

At-home spa tips

Each of the spa directors I spoke with agrees that in order to truly care for the skin and to extend the anti-aging benefits of specialized spa treatments, clients need to be properly educated on at-home spa basics. “People are looking for body treatments that work, as well as things they can do at home,” says Betty Jane Grieco, spa director at Aquagene Spa at the Pink Shell Beach Resort & Spa in Fort Myers Beach, Florida. Clients who book body treatments, such as the Marine Algae Body Wrap (50 minutes, $120), are given a body brush and an instruction sheet to use at home.

Craig recommends a professional body scrub once a week, as well as the use of an exfoliating shower gel every day. She also suggests that her spa clients apply a luxurious moisturizing body cream after each daily shower or bath.

“If you want to take care of the body the same way as the face, you have to care for it daily,” says Aida Bicaj, an international skin care specialist and esthetician in New York. “The best way to take care of the skin on the body is to never use soap because it is very drying,” she says. Bicaj instructs her clients to exfoliate daily with a loofah and a creamy exfoliant. Afterward, she notes that it’s important to use a regenerating and hydrating body lotion that contains lactic acid. Other beneficial ingredients include flax oil and jojoba, according to Sobel, who suggests choosing gentle exfoliating scrubs that contain these two substances. “Look for products that will help gently eliminate dry dead skin cells and re-moisturize and re-nourish skin,” he advises.

To keep your body ageless, perhaps Johnson has the best at-home advice that treats the body from the inside. “Drink plenty of water, eat a well-balanced diet, don’t smoke, and avoid an excess of alcohol and sunburns. Exfoliate and use generous amounts of moisturizer. Laugh a lot, avoid unnecessary stress and get enough beauty sleep.”

The future of body treatments

What are spa directors predicting for the future of body treatments? Sandra Sadowski, spa director at La Prairie at The Ritz-Carlton in New York, believes that the industry will see more anti–aging treatments that use “more medical equipment in combination with old-fashioned skin care.” Meanwhile, Dan Mohr, director of The Peninsula Spa at The Peninsula Chicago, observes two distinct trends in body services. “Treatments that are organic and made with natural ingredients are requested more and more by clients. Also, treatments that are indigenous to the location of the spa and that use local ingredients are growing in popularity. Clients want something unique that also offers natural results,” he says.

The Renovateur Revitalizing treatment—one of the spa’s more popular anti-aging treatments—utilizes a blend of sunflower seeds and essential oils in its exfoliating scrub. Sobel predicts, “Spa body treatments will incorporate the new science of proteins and peptides that will help re-educate skin to act younger again. Today, the technology is very expensive, and skin care products that have those ingredients are primarily face creams. We will learn how to integrate the best of the medical world with the holistic, feel-good desire for full-body treatments to achieve results that will be more than temporary.”

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On the Menu: Body

With these anti-aging body treatments, the focus is on rehydration and renewal, revealing more youthful-looking skin.

Elixir Paraffin Wrap

Location: The Spa at Four Seasons Hotel Chicago

Time & Cost: 50 minutes, $130

This signature body treatment begins with an exfoliating Dead Sea salt scrub combined with a creamy moisturizer infused with essential oils. An organic oil containing juniper, lavender and grapefruit then is massaged over the body, followed by a warm paraffin body wrap.

Extended Youth

Location: PSYC at The Parker Palm Springs, Palm Springs, CA

Time & Cost: 120 minutes, $320

With an application of a revitalizing and firming concentrate serum, this anti-aging experience regenerates and restores. An application of a skin-toning gel comes next, and the client is dusted with a freeze-dried seawater powder that heats and liquifies the gel into a mask. A bath follows, and the treatment ends with a firming body serum and cream massage.

De-age Body Wrap

Location: Spa Avania at Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Gainey Ranch, Scottsdale, AZ

Time & Cost: 60 minutes, $130

“The De-age Body Wrap counteracts the multiple adverse effects caused by biological processes, tissue relaxation, free radicals and atmospheric pollutants,” explains Kyra Johnson, spa director. It also is said to neutralize the formation of stretch marks. The treatment begins with a Tranquility Aromatherapy Ritual, followed by a full-body application of a firming anti-aging body serum. Next, the client is wrapped in a thermal blanket while the therapist performs a stress-relieving head, neck and shoulders massage. An application of a special serum to problem areas and a touch drainage massage using a firming massage cream complete the service.

California Renewal

Location: Spa at La Costa, Carlsbad, CA

Time & Cost: 50 minutes, $145

“Smoother, younger skin is revealed” after this treatment, according to the spa menu. This popular service begins with a full-body exfoliation. After the scrub is applied, the client showers and returns to the table for a soothing and healing aloe and arnica flower body wrap. The treatment ends with a massage using a choice of moisturizer.

Vie Essence of Life Exfoliating Treatment

Location: Kohler Waters Spa at Destination Kohler, Kohler, WI

Time & Cost: 75 minutes, $195

Marine and seaside botanical extracts are the star ingredients in this refining body treatment that is customized to the client’s need for hydration and age-repair results. Beginning with a rich body butter scrub, a massage includes gentle stretching and pressure-point techniques on the face and feet.

Hydrating Body-refining Wrap

Location: Remède Spa at St. Regis Hotel, San Francisco

Time & Cost: 90 minutes, $190

Working to restore tone and elasticity in the skin, this treatment begins with an exfoliation, and includes a remineralizing and hydrating parafango wrap.

Luxe Moisture Indulgence

Location: La Prairie at The Ritz-Carlton, New York

Time & Cost: 60 minutes, $170 or 90 minutes, $235

This treatment begins with a very gentle full-body exfoliation using La Prairie’s Essential Exfoliator, a mild apricot scrub, followed by an application of the Cellular Hydralift Firming Mask—an intensive firming, hydrating and nourishing mask. Finally, the client receives a circulatory massage using the brand-new Skin Caviar Luxe Body Emulsion, which seals in moisture and leaves skin luminous.

Renovateur Revitalizing

Location: The Peninsula Spa at The Peninsula Chicago

Time & Cost: 90 minutes, $275

The skin first is exfoliated using a special blend of roasted sunflower seed, lemon, thyme and clove essential oils. Next, a mudlike wrap of volcanic mineral powder is applied to the body. A cold-stone facial massage and hot-stone body massage also are included.

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