The dermis, or lower layer of skin cells, is constantly producing new cells and sending them to the surface, or epidermis. When they reach the surface, they die. As we grow older, production slows down and dead skin cells collect, causing the skin to be dry and dull to the eye and touch. Exfoliation—the removal of dead skin cells—is especially important to keep skin from becoming too dry after a winter of indoor heating and cold weather.
With that in mind, I dropped in on Blue Water Spa in Oyster Bay for their signature Vanilla Brown Sugar Body Scrub. The name of the spa genuinely reflects the feel of the place, with blue walls and a serene ambience that sets the tone of your spa experience. The owner, Rachel, is an aesthetician whose specialty is skincare, and she gave me quite a few good tips while we sat and chatted before my scrub.
The treatment room had a heated table, always a plus in my book, and Marsha, the aesthetician and massage therapist, made me comfortable immediately with her warm and nurturing personality. When I was settled on the table, she rubbed an amazing vanilla-scented sugar scrub into my skin, including the oft-disregarded belly (but only after asking). She maintained just the right pressure; scrubbing too energetically can burst delicate blood vessels under the skin.
Once she finished with the scrub, Marsha wrapped me in a blanket and then a sheet of plastic while she prepared the shower. After rinsing and drying, I was surprised how incredibly moist and soft my skin already felt.
The massage that followed was excellent! After the exfoliation, my skin was primed for maximum moisturizing potential. Marsha used a rich, vanilla-scented lotion and I was treated to a full massage. When she finished, I was relaxed and my skin felt like velvet.
Leah, owner of Tranquility, a feng shui salon and day spa in Mount Sinai, says that a body scrub is for nearly anyone, but people who suffer from extremely dry skin or fluid retention will find this spa’s scrub, The Body Beautiful, particularly helpful. “Exfoliating dead skin cells leaves your skin with a healthy glow,” she said. “It also encourages the natural flow of circulation and bodily fluids, it leaves your skin silky and smooth, and it is just plain relaxing.”
At Tranquility, they focus on providing a peaceful atmosphere to enhance treatments for optimal relaxation. After experiencing The Body Beautiful, as with all the treatments they offer, you finish with a rain dome shower, a complimentary fruit platter, choice of beverage and a neck warmer.
“Our spa is a feng shui spa, and we incorporate that philosophy in all we do here,” Leah said. Feng shui is based on the belief that all things are “alive” and have energy. While that may be an over-simplification, the idea behind feng shui is to achieve a healthy flow of that energy.
Exfoliation should be an important part of any skincare regimen, year round, for both face and body. While there are plenty of products you can buy and scrubs you can make at home for your weekly ritual, there is nothing quite like a trip to the spa for a pampering and renewing exfoliation. If possible, going at least four times a year at the start of each season is optimal. Let the glow begin!