The Truth About Professional Body Scrubs And Wraps

When reading a spa menu, massages and facials may grab your attention. But what about the body scrubs and wraps? Here’s what you need to know before your next self-care Sunday.
Written by Samantha Stone
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The Truth About Professional Body Scrubs And Wrapsbruce mars/Unsplash

When reading through a spa treatment menu, massages and facials may grab your attention first. But what about professional body scrubs and wraps? These body treatments are indulgent and pampering, and their benefits actually go beyond relaxation. From sloughing away dead skin cells to flushing out impurities, these spa services can serve a purpose — but are they really worth the extra investment? We’re breaking down everything you need to know before booking your next spa day.

Professional Body Scrubs

The skin is the body's largest organ, and, contrary to what your face-focused skincare routine might imply, it extends well below the neck. Just as you use physical and chemical exfoliants on your complexion, the body can benefit from exfoliation, too. “Body scrubs exfoliate the skin, buffing away dead skin cells and revealing younger, more evenly textured skin,” says Dendy Engelman, MD, a board certified dermatologist at Shafer Clinic Fifth Avenue in New York City. Another benefit? “They can also allow products to penetrate more deeply,” she notes.

Whether you opt for an at-home body scrub or a professional treatment, the smoothing and brightening benefits are similar. But, when it comes to professional body exfoliation, you can expect the full pampering experience. For most spa scrubs, your aesthetician will first apply the exfoliating formula to the entire body, scrubbing away dead skin and boosting circulation. From there, a mineral-rich body mask and/or moisturizer is applied to nourish the skin.

Depending on the spa, there could be a number of scrubs to choose from. Common options include:

  • Sugar Scrub
  • Salt Scrub
  • Herbal Scrub
  • Coffee Scrub
  • Grain, Fiber, Nut, or Seed Scrub

So, which one is best? Dr. Engelman says the smaller the particle, the better. “Scrubs can be abrasive,” she cautions. “Large and/or rough particles, like walnut or apricot-pit scrubs, can be too rough on skin, causing redness, irritation, and even tiny injuries that risk getting infected.” As she explains, there is no need to roughly scrape the skin. “Smaller, softer particles — ideally those that dissolve or melt into the skin — are effective at buffing away dead skin cells and are less likely to cause irritation or injury,” she adds.

Professional Body Wraps

Similar to body scrubs, there are often an array of professional body wrap treatments to choose from. Depending on the type, they can help with detoxification, hydration, and even blood circulation. Regardless of the type, you can bet they will leave you with soft, smooth, and hydrated skin. Here’s what to can expect from a professional body wrap:

  1. First, your technician will use an exfoliant to prepare the skin
  2. After the skin has been prepped, the esthetician will apply the mask and tightly wrap the body (usually in plastic or towels)
  3. Once cocooned, the therapist will leave you to rest for about 30 minutes to let the mask work its magic

Detoxifying wraps (usually using seaweed, mud, or clay) can stimulate the lymphatic drainage system. “They can also tighten and firm the skin and even help you lose water weight,” Dr. Engelman says. If dry skin is a concern, hydrating wraps (which tend to involve creams and gels) can “soothe skin” and “help lock in moisture,” she adds. Treatments with caffeine, meanwhile, may be able to temporarily minimize the appearance of cellulite and spider veins.

Are Professional Body Scrubs & Wraps Worthwhile?

You may be wondering: Is it worth paying top dollar for professional body treatments? Dr. Engelman says that because pro formulas are more potent than over-the-counter body care, they can have more of an impact. With that said, if you don’t have the access or the budget to regularly indulge, at-home products are a worthy alternative, she notes.

Whether you’re booking a body scrub or wrap treatment, it’s important to manage your expectations. Dr. Engelman cautions that results are temporary, with most lasting only a couple of days or weeks. In the case of detoxifying wraps, for example, she says any weight loss or slimming is due to a transitory loss of fluid, not fat. To more consistently reap the benefits, Dr. Engelman recommends getting these types of treatments on a monthly basis — that’s a doctor’s order we will happily get on-board with!

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SAMANTHA STONEis a contributing writer for AEDIT.

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