Spa vacations are enjoying a surge in popularity as more people discover the pleasures and health benefits of the spa wellness experience.  Once the province of the rich, spa treatments are becoming more mainstream, an interest that becomes keener in cold weather when skin grows dry and itchy from cold air.

The terminology is specialized, so the first step is acquiring a basic vocabulary of spa-related terms.  It all seems complicated at first, but spa treatments fall into a few broad categories using variations on the same principals.

Here are a few treatments often mentioned in spa literature and promising relief for seasonal dryness and other skin problems:

·     Exfoliation- This was originally an agricultural term meaning “removal of leaves,” and it denotes any treatment designed to remove dead skin cells.  When this is done, the living skin  underneath is soft, supple and has a healthy appearance.  Dryness and itching are greatly reduced, and the rash that sometimes accompanies them disappears.  When treatment is repeated periodically, it can bring complete relief from winter dryness through an entire season.  Appearance is improved by the removal of fine lines and scarring.  Removing the dead skins cells can be accomplished by peels which are applied as liquids, allowed to dry and removed, taking cells with them.  These are often based on natural plant substances because their natural oils usually do not irritate the skin.  Another approach is microderm abrasion using salt, sand or some other abrasive substance.  Due to their fine texture, these materials cause no discomfort during or after treatment.  Special showers are also used for exfoliation, sometimes following a peel or a scrub.

·     Waxing- Removal of dead skin and unwanted hair can be accomplished by waxing.  The wax is made for this purpose and is generally based on plant substances containing natural moisturizers.  Synthetic preparations are sometimes used, but tend to be harsher and sometimes cause irritation.  While application of wax might seem a fairly straightforward process, it actually involves a great deal of skill and should only be done by trained professionals for best results.  When done properly, waxing can remove hair for up to eight weeks, and repeated treatments usually result in slower, thinner regrowth.  This is an improvement over shaving, which stimulates thick regrowth.

·     Wraps- This technique consists of soaking towels in various natural substances and wrapping the body so the skin will absorb these substances.  Since many plants contain natural moisturizers, antifungal agents and other healthy products, this is a good way of bringing good health and texture to skin without using harsh synthetics.  The materials used will differ, but fruit juices and wines are a favorite and have their own category called “vinotherapy.”  Sometimes grapes are crushed into the skin, while other treatments use Merlot, Cabernet or other wines.  Some wraps sound good enough to eat, with names like Papaya-Pineapple Crème and Mango-Passion Fruit Yogurt.

·     LED treatments- It sounds like sci-fi, but science has shown that the application of bright light to specific areas of the skin can have long-term health benefits.  Results not only improve the skin, but can rejuvenate the entire body.  It may be difficult to find a practitioner of this technique, but it is becoming more popular and recognized all the time, and more spas should begin offering it in the near future.  This is completely different from artificial tanning, which uses different wavelengths.  There are no harmful UV rays to cause unwanted side effects.  The treatment works because LED light stimulates the formation of collagen in the skin, eliminating fine lines, crow’s feet and wrinkles.  LED lights generate very little heat, so there is no discomfort at all.

·     Microcurrent stimulation- The proponents of this treatments claim it can remedy a wide variety of problems including those of the skin.  It is an outgrowth of acupuncture, but uses tiny electrical impulses instead of needles.  It can relieve pain, oxygenate skin cells and promote greater cell health, resulting in long-term benefit to the skin and the whole body.

By using some of these techniques, you can say goodbye to winter dryness, fungal outbreaks and other skin issues.  Contact your local spa and discover what they can do for you skin.This post is provided by the creative team at Pingup. Pingup is a mobile scheduling app and spa booking tool that allows users to book appointments at Phoenix spas, Boston spas, and wherever else spa centers are found across the country.