Time for a Bacial

I have had facials and I have had back massages. But I’d never had a back facial, so I was really looking forward to getting a back cleansing treatment from Zoe at Essa Salon and Spa in Westbury.

Let’s face it. Our backs often get ignored, not due to indifference, but because we can neither see them nor reach every inch. Since it is one part of our body that is covered most of the time, it’s fairly easy for the oil and sweat glands to become clogged, which can lead to acne or dry and itchy skin.

Sure, there are special tools we can use to clean back there, but moisturizing is dicey. Any other treatment of our backs usually gets taken care of during full body treatments. And how often do we indulge in those? Back facials, or “bacials,” can take less time, and in this busy world, saving time is always a plus.

When I arrived at Essa, the first thing I experienced was a gracious welcome in a bustling salon and a small bottle of water delivered on a tray with a glass. Nice touch. Soon Zoe arrived and ushered me downstairs away from the activity into a small, serene, Asian-inspired spa area. The tiny changing room was across the hall from the tiny treatment room, both of which were very cozy.

At Essa, they call their back facial a Cleansing Back Treatment. Once Zoe had me settled onto the treatment table, she massaged a cleanser onto my entire back. She favors the Yonka line of products from Paris, which are big on the aromatherapy element. The scent was indeed soothing, and who doesn’t love to have their back massaged?

Zoe used hot towels soaked in essential oils to gently wipe away the cleanser. She then applied a delicious-smelling exfoliant, rubbing it in and around my back thoroughly. Again, she gently removed the scrub with hot towels.

Next up was a relaxing massage with a moisturizer. By this time, it would have been easy for me to slip into a deep sleep, but I held my ground. I didn’t want to miss a moment. Zoe applied a rich mud-like mask to my back to draw out toxins and then wrapped me in those yummy hot towels. While I “cooked,” she massaged my arms and hands with a sweetly-scented moisturizer. Here is where I really had to focus on staying awake, especially when she left me for a few minutes, alone with the softly rhythmic music and lulling scents.

When she returned, Zoe removed the mask with heavenly scented hot towels. She also explained that back treatments are relaxing and healthful for everyone, but they are especially helpful to those with back acne. Corinne at Drew Patrick Spa in Bay Shore agrees, adding that athletes, or people who perspire a lot, also find great benefit in back treatments.

“Back cleansing treatments are like facials for the back,” she says. “The benefits are the same as a regular facial. The skin can be unsightly at first but, after treatment, the appearance will improve and pores will become unclogged.”

I have had the opportunity to visit Drew Patrick Spa several times, always with pleasing results. The locker rooms are beautifully tiled and include a steam shower. The full spa experience is offered to Back Cleansing Treatment clients, with a lush robe, towels and slippers, and they are often treated to time in the Quiet Relaxation lounge, where they can enjoy relaxing, sipping tea and eating natural snacks. There is also a neck warmer to serve up that extra level of relaxation.

“Our Back Cleansing Treatment includes all of the special touches as our regular facials,” added Corinne. “The estheticians begin by analyzing the skin [followed by], full cleansing, exfoliating and end with a back masque. While the masque is drying, our clients are treated to a head, neck, and arm massage by their therapist. The environment is uniquely special in its décor, soft lights, warm treatment beds and the music that is played in the spa.

Suffice it to say, if you are an athlete or someone who works and plays hard, if you have back acne or other skin issues, or if you just want to be pampered but do not want a whole body massage or treatment, a “bacial” is the perfect way to both tune up your back and tune down the stress!

toni munna

Toni Munna is a native Long Islander who is always on the lookout for products that fulfill their promise to firm, hydrate, slim, soothe, de-wrinkle, plump, relax, de-stress, and just generally make you look and feel better. She a firm believer that wellness enhances beauty and has been testing beauty products and reviewing spas for you since the fall of 2006. You can reach her with questions at toni@lipulse.com.