Tuesday, 27 December 2016 15:49

Precisely Polished: A Mechanical and Body Exfoliation Treatment

Written by   Heather Kreider, L.E., R.N.

While exfoliation may seem like a fluff step in professional and homecare routines, it is actually critical for optimal skin health and a glowing, refreshed complexion. There is nothing quite like the look and feel of skin that has been recently exfoliated. Although exfoliation is suitable for all skin types, choosing which exfoliation method will work best for each client can be challenging.

For skin care professionals, the variety of exfoliation approaches are nearly endless. However, choosing which product to use on a specific skin type to achieve both a safe and effective outcome requires adequate education. Furthermore, professionals need to practice and master the techniques to apply them successfully.pic-1

Grain Size
When perfecting exfoliation techniques via mechanical exfoliation that uses a substrate scrub for both face and body, it is important to choose grain size wisely. Not all scrubs are created equal. Different areas of application will require different grain sizes. Delicate facial skin requires gentle exfoliation with a scrub that contains a substrate of a smaller size, such as fine corn cob meal, seeds, or small-grain volcanic pumice.

Using too large of a grain with harsh edges can cause microscopic abrasions, leading to skin irritation and, possibly, the spread of bacteria, which can cause more breakouts.

When considering a mechanical scrub for the body, skin care professionals do not need to worry as much about grain size. Skin on the body has less sensitivity and can withstand exfoliation with larger grain ingredients, such as sugars, salts, dried citrus peels, and seeds. Still, practice caution not to over-exfoliate and irritate the skin.

Exfoliation is one of the most important steps in skin care. It loosens and removes corneocytes, revealing softer, glowing, and refreshed skin. It also improves the effectiveness of topical products, allowing them to penetrate more deeply after the top layer of skin has been removed. By making exfoliation a priority, never shortcutting best practices, skin care professionals will see optimal spa treatment results and deliver the exceptional spa experience every client deserves.

Before the skin care professional begins exfoliation on the client's face or body, they should ask the client about any allergies or sensitivities to ingredients. They should also inquire if the client is using any products or taking medications, such as prescription-strength retinoids, in order to identify possible contraindications or likely interference with specific products or ingredients. The professional should then analyze the surface area of the skin to be treated and assess for areas of skin breakdown or disease, such as acne, wounds, or sensitivity.

Step-By-Step Procedure Facial Treatment

1. Cleanse the face with a skin type-appropriate cleanser and rinse the skin well, removing all debris and remaining residue.

2. Proceed by applying a skin type-appropriate exfoliating cleanser, such as a cream-based exfoliant for dry, sensitive skin or a gel-based foaming exfoliating cleanser for oily skin.

3. Using gentle, slow, circular movements, manually exfoliate the surface of the client's skin, ensuring that all areas are covered. Be cautious about over-exfoliating – do not exfoliate for an excessive period of time or use too much pressure.

4. Rinse the client's face thoroughly to remove all traces of exfoliant. Doing so ensures the client's comfort during all future steps in the treatment. When exfoliant residue is left behind, irritation
can occur.

5. Once the exfoliant is removed, a decrustation solution can be applied during steam treatment, along with galvanic current to soften and emulsify sebum and compactions in the follicle.

6. Perform light, manual extractions if the client has congested pores.

7. Cleanse the client's face one final time to prevent the spread of bacteria from the extractions.

8. Apply a massage cream or serum and perform a European massage. When the massage is complete, remove any remaining residue.

9. Apply a skin type-appropriate mask to the client's face and proceed with a hand, arm, and/or foot massage.

10. Once the mask has been thoroughly removed, apply toner, moisturizer, and SPF to the entire face, neck, and décolleté.


Body Treatment

1. Provide the client with appropriate draping towels or disposable spa body treatment wear.

2. Warm the body scrub in the hands and begin exfoliation at lower extremities, working upward on the client's body, one section at a time. Begin with their left lower leg, work up to the abdomen, then to the left arm and décolletage. Work down the opposite side of their body.

pic-43. Have the client sit up to exfoliate their back.

4. After having them lie back down, finish the exfoliation process with the feet, paying extra attention to the heel area.

5. Using gentle, slow, circular movements, manually exfoliate the surface of the skin, ensuring all areas are covered. Based on the client's needs and feedback, adjust the pressure being applied. Exfoliate each section for approximately 30 seconds to one minute, ensuring over-exfoliation does not occur.

6. Rinse the client using a handheld shower or Vichy shower until all remaining scrub is removed. The scrub can also be removed with steam towels.

7. Once the client has been thoroughly rinsed, drape the client with a large, warm towel and pat dry. Keep the client covered with a clean, warm towel to ensure comfort at all times.

8. Apply a corresponding body butter or lotion in a circular motion until it is adsorbed well into the skin.


Heather-KreiderHeather Kreider, co-owner of Makes Scents Natural Spa Line, has lived and breathed the spa industry for 19 years. Her credentials include post-graduate certification in advanced skin care at the International Dermal Institute and experience as an aesthetician specializing in European skin care. Besides her company's signature line of products, they also create custom formulations for spas that wish to offer their own distinctive treatments. All of their products are certified cruelty-free by the Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics. 717-824-3094 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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