Posted on :
Mon October 05, 2009
By Shahnaz Hussain
With the concept of “total well being” gaining ground, spa treatments are becoming increasingly popular. Among these is body polishing, a top-to-toe body care procedure that helps to remove dead skin cells through exfoliation, revitalizing the skin and making it smoother, softer, brighter and healthier. As we all know, the skin sheds dead cells. Very often, these accumulate on the skin surface, making the skin dull and blotchy. Removing dead cells not only smoothens and refines skin texture, but also accelerates the normal cell renewal process. Scrubbing away the dead cells improves the skin’s ability to absorb products too. Blood circulation to the skin surface also improves. The entire process induces relaxation and provides a sense of well-being.
Body Polishing has also become more popular because of several other benefits to the skin. It is also an effective way of treating sun-damaged skin, where the ingredients are adjusted to suit the individual need. Or, the treatment may be focused to help dry skin, or to unclog the pores. Rough areas of the body, like the elbows, knees and heels may be given specific attention.
Actually, this concept of body polishing is not really new. In the olden days, in India, “ubtan” was made at home for just this purpose. It consisted of ingredients like wheat bran (choker) gram flour (besan), yogurt or cream of milk (malai), turmeric (haldi), etc. All these were mixed together, applied on the body before bathing and left on for a while. It was then washed off with water during the bath, helping to clear away the dead cells and make the skin soft and smooth. Sometimes, the body was first massaged with sesame seed (til) oil. Did you know that sesame seed oil has sun-protective properties and counteracts sun-damage? After the oil massage, “ubtan” was applied and washed off after half an hour, while bathing. The washing off and scrubbing away of the ingredients helped to clear the skin of dead cells, leaving the skin smooth, bright and glowing, with a translucent quality.
Such treatments are much more relevant today, because of our exposure to pollutants and grime in urban air, as well as high stress levels. That is why body polishing is becoming so popular. It is cleansing, purifying, de-stressing and rejuvenating. The healing hands of trained therapists and masseurs take over, in a serene and peaceful ambience. Earlier, these treatments were based on pampering the body and uplifting the mind. But today, spa treatments are not merely pampering luxury treatments, but considered a requisite to beauty, stress management and total well-being.
Different ingredients are used and the forms of body polishing may vary. For example, some spas use salt, or sugar, to exfoliate the skin. Or, other treatments, like body massage, may be included, for added value. In the Shahnaz Signature Salons, the formulations used for the treatments rely on the rich Indian herbal heritage, comprising of plant and natural ingredients that are known for their beneficial effects on the skin and body. They not only cleanse and soften the skin, but also draw out toxins. One of our premium procedures is the Diamond Body Polish, which is designed to invigorate the entire body, smoothing away dead epithelial cells with a Diamond Scrub. The scrub is applied on the body and rubbed gently on the skin with circular movements. It is a deep cleansing treatment and has a powerful revitalizing effect. The body is then massaged with a Diamond Cream and also includes deep tissue massage, which is ideal for removing fatigue and soothing both body and mind. The massage is an important part of Body Polishing and helps to tone and relax underlying muscle tissues, apart from nourishing the skin. It also improves blood circulation and flow of oxygen to the tissues. In fact, it has innumerable benefits for vitality and good health. After the massage, the Diamond Mask is applied. The diamond content in these products is in the form of “bhasma” (ash).
You can also give yourself a body polishing treatment at home:
Body scrubs are easily available nowadays, but you can make one at home, using common kitchen ingredients. Or, you can even add some exotic ingredients or essential oils. The most common ingredients that you can use for scrubs are almond meal, oatmeal or wheat bran (choker). To this, you can add dry ground orange and lemon peels, or even coarse salt or granulated sugar. Orange and lemon peels should be dried thoroughly in the sun and kept in a tightly closed container. Almond meal can also be made and kept in a dry container. Yogurt, milk or oils can be added to such ingredients. You can use any vegetable oil that is available at home, like sunflower, or safflower oil, sesame seed (til) oil, or olive oil. If you wish to use other oils, look for apricot kernel oil, jojoba oil, or avocado oil. A few drops of essential oil can be used to add fragrance and also for their own particular benefits. You can choose from essential oils of rose, lavender, neroli, geranium, and so on. It is important to remember that essential oils should not be used by themselves. They must be added to carrier oils, or lotions, in the right proportion. A soft wash cloth, or a loofah, is sometimes useful and enhances the body polish treatment.
Besan (gram flour), curd and a little haldi also make a good scrub, specially for removing tan. The paste should be applied and then washed off after half an hour.
Coarse salt makes a good scrub, but it should not be used on sensitive skin. Almond oil can be added to salt and rubbed on the skin. Granulated sugar can be an excellent scrub. Mix it with sunflower oil till it becomes a paste. Apply and rub into the skin. Rinse off after 15 minutes.
Or, take ground dry orange and lemon peels, oatmeal and ground almonds (almond meal). Add a little olive oil and rose water. Apply on the skin and rub gently with circular movements. Then wash off with water.
Oatmeal works wonders on the skin. Egg white, honey and curd can be added to oatmeal, mixed into a paste and applied, washing it off after half an hour. It helps to cleanse and soften the skin effectively and is especially good for blackhead prone areas like the back. If the skin is dry, add honey, milk and a little almond oil to the oatmeal and then apply. After 15 minutes, moisten with milk and scrub the body gently, rinsing off with water.
Home Body Polish
For a body polishing treatment at home you will need a scrub, massage oil, small and large towels, a wash cloth. It can be done once a week.
Scrub for Exfoliation: Use sesame seeds, dried mint leaves and honey. These ingredients are not normally used, but they have a remarkable rejuvenating effect on the skin. Crush the sesame seeds coarsely and powder the dried mint leaves. Mix them with a little honey and apply on the skin. Sesame seeds actually have sun protective properties and also soothe sun-damaged skin. It helps to remove tan and produce an even colour tone. Mint has a stimulating effect and adds a glow to the skin, while honey moisturizes and softens the skin.
Massage Oil: Make a fragrant body massage oil based on Aromatherapy. A combination of essential oils works wonders. Add 5 drops each of Cinnamon Oil, Lavender Oil and Rose Oil to 100 ml pure olive oil. Essential oils should never be used directly on the skin. They must be diluted with pressed oils. Cinnamon Oil relieves fatigue and muscular tension, while Lavender induces relaxation. Rose oil is said to have a calming effect on the mind. It also improves blood circulation to the skin surface and tones the skin. Olive oil, of course, is ideal as a body massage oil, as it not only nourishes and softens the skin, but restores the normal acid-alkaline balance of the skin. It is also a good carrier oil for essential oils.
Start with exfoliation. Mix the scrub ingredients and apply them on the face and body. After 15 to 20 minutes, rub gently on the skin with circular movements. Pay attention to the knees, elbows and heels. Wash it off with water.
Then have your oil massage, with the fragrant oil (mentioned above). Small circular strokes can be used on the joints of the arms, like shoulder, elbow and wrist joints. Follow long up and down stroking movements on the arms and legs. It is best to work along the natural muscle contours. The abdomen should be massaged with wide circular movements, starting out from the navel and going outwards. For the upper abdomen, the direction should be from right to left, while for the lower abdomen the circular strokes should be from left to right. You will need somebody to massage your back for you. The massage should be from the base of the spine, working upward and outward from the backbone to ribs. For self massage, one can easily learn a few easy strokes to ease tension in the neck area, or parts of the body that one can reach easily.
Skin “brushing” helps the elimination of toxins. The entire body surface can be brushed, using a rough cloth. Begin from the feet and go upwards. Then brush from lower to upper arms. Go across the shoulders and back. Brush gently on the chest and abdomen.
Spa treatments, like body polishing, not only provide an ideal route towards de-stressing the body and mind, but also towards looking good and feeling great.