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Body Polish: What Is A Body Polish?

Lay Back, Relax and Enjoy the Scrub

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Woman receiving body scrub, overhead view
Randy Miller /Photographer's Choice/Getty Images

A body polish is a popular body treatment that exfoliates and hydrates your skin, leaving it smooth and soft.

A body polish is primarily a treatment for the skin -- sort of like a facial for the body. It should not be confused with a massage,

A body polish can be done with any number of materials -- salt, sugar, coffee grounds, rice bran, pecan hulls -- usually mixed with some kind of massage oil and aromatic like essential oils. If the polish uses salt, it might be called a salt scrub, salt glow or sea salt scrub. The exfoliation is usually followed by a shower and an application of body lotion.

What Happens During a Body Polish?

A body polish usually takes place in a wet room, which has a tile floor and a drain. The therapist may offer you disposable underwear, the leave the room. You will start face-down on a massage table covered with a towel, a sheet or a thin piece of plastic, or on a special wet table that has a Vichy shower overhead. In that case you won't have to get up to be rinsed off.

The therapist will return and start by gently rubbing the exfoliant on your back, the backs of your arms, and the backs of your legs and feet. You are draped with a towel or sheet, so only the part she is working on is exposed. Then you turn over and she does the other side.

When the therapist is finished, you usually step into a shower to rinse off. Be sure to rinse thoroughly so you don't take little granules back to the table. And don't use shower gel -- it's good 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.

If you step into the shower, the therapist will put clean sheets on the treatment table while you're showering and step out of the room again. You dry off and lie face-down on the treatment table underneath a sheet or towel. Then the therapist returns and applies body lotion or oil.

Other Things You Should Know About Body Polishes

  • Some spas do body polishes in a room without a shower and remove the exfoliant with steamed towels.
  • You can get a body polish on its own, but often it's the first step in a body wrap , often a seaweed or mud wrap.
  • You can also combine a body polish with a massage. Get the body polish first because it is stimulating, whereas the massage calms you down. Some spas have signature treatments that combine both body polish and massage.
  • Salt and other exfoliants can be abrasive, and some therapists have a heavier hand than others. Individuals also differ in their skin sensitivity. If it feels too harsh, speak up.
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