A salt scrub's primary purpose is to exfoliate your skin, removing the outermost layer of dead skin cells and leaving your skin softer and smoother.
At a spa, the salt scrub is followed by a shower and an application of body cream, or lotion, leaving your skin feeling very soft and fragrant. Alert! Many states allow people without a massage license to give salt scrubs and other body treatments. This means you might get someone still in school, or an esthetician who is more skilled at facials. I recommend you ask if you're getting a licensed massage therapist when you book a salt scrub.
What Happens During a Salt Scrub?
A salt scrub usually takes place in a wet room, equipped with a shower. The scrub is generally a blend of sea salt, sweet almond oil and some aromatic essential oil like lemon, lavender, or mint.
As the client you are either laying on a massage table covered with a towel or sheet or a thin piece of plastic, or you are lying on a wet table that has a shower attached to it. You are offered a pair of disposable underwear, and men are usually required to wear them. You are draped with a towel, and only the part the therapist is working on is exposed.
As you lay on your stomach, the therapist rubs the salt scrub gently over your skin. The abrasiveness of the salt removes the dead skin cells. Then you turn over and the therapist exfoliates the other side. If they rub too hard, be sure to let them know.
When the therapist is finished, you may be asked to step into a shower to rinse off all the salt. Don’t use soap or shower gel because you want to keep the oil and aromatics on your skin. If the spa is doing the treatment on a special wet table, the therapist will either rinse you off with a hand-held shower, or turn on a Vichy shower, a special six-headed shower that is parallel to the table.
After you dry off, the therapist applies a lotion. Don't expect a full-massage unless it's part of a longer signature treatment, often called a "ritual" or "journey" (usually involving a scrub, wrap and massage.)
You can get a salt scrub on its own, but often it’s the first step in a body wrap , often a seaweed or mud wrap. That’s because exfoliation prepares the skin for products like seaweed or algae that detoxify the body by stimulating circulation through vasodilation of blood capillaries.
You can also combine a salt scrub with a massage. Get the salt scrub first because it is stimulating, whereas the massage calms you down.
Salt is fairly abrasive, and some therapists have a heavier hand than others. Individuals also differ in their skin sensitivity. If the salt scrub feels too harsh, speak up.