How to use Paraffin and its benefits
Paraffin is derived from petroleum, coal or shale oil that consists of a mixture of hydrocarbons. Cosmetically, paraffin wax is applied to the hands, feet and face, helping make skin supple and soft. When applied to the skin, it adds and boosts moisture levels of the skin after the treatment is complete. It can also help open pores and remove dead skin cells, paraffin treatments can also be used to provide pain relief to sore joints and muscles.
Paraffin wax was first created in 1830 by the German chemist Karl von Reichenbach. In the 1950’s doctors wanted to alleviate their patients’ arthritis pain and started using paraffin wax, three decades later, during the 1980s, it became widely used as a beauty treatment. You will find paraffin wax treatments on the list of services at nail salons and spas.This hydrating wax has benefits that go beyond skin-deep.
Paraffin wax is a clear, odourless natural emollient that is solid at room temperature. Paraffin is cosmetically formulated to include essential oils and vitamins to benefit the skin. Paraffin varies in colour when essential oils have been added.
- Paraffin begins to melt above 37°C
- It has a working temperature between 46 and 68°C
- The boiling point is above 370°C.
Is Paraffin safe?
Paraffin has a low melting point, which means it can be easily applied to the skin at a temperature low enough not to cause burns or blisters. However, if you have overly sensitive skin, paraffin wax may cause heat rash which results in small red bumps that can be itchy and uncomfortable.
You should not use paraffin wax if you have:
- poor blood circulation
- numbness in your hands or feet
- any rashes or open cuts, abrasions, or sores
BENEFITS OF PARAFFIN
Paraffin wax treatments are frequently used in spas or manicuring salons due to their hydrating and skin softening benefits. By applying a hydration cream or balm to the skin similar to collagen the benefits are increased due to the absorption of product. The targeted area is either dipped into a paraffin bath or brushed with paraffin to evenly coat and seal the skin. This acts as an osmotic film which due to the warmth, increases circulation to the skin and opens pores, which allows the hydrating elements to penetrate the outer layers of the skin. Paraffin is great for treating dry skin and moisturising cuticles without damage to the nails.
After being applied to the body, the wax encases the treated area, trapping heat and relaxing the surrounding tissues. This makes it particularly helpful for treating stiff joints and alleviating pain associated with arthritis (Osteoarthritis & Rheumatoid), fibromyalgia, bursitis, tendonitis and sore muscles. Although residential clinics or spas may cover the entire body, paraffin wax treatments are typically used for limbs. Paraffin acts like a form of heat therapy and can help increase blood flow, relax muscles, and decrease joint stiffness. Paraffin wax can also minimise muscle spasms and inflammation as well as treat sprains
Facials are skin-care treatments that include exfoliation, steam, moisturisers, masks, peels and massages. Applying ampoules or collagen lotions before the application of the paraffin, means the combined effect of the treatment is increased and more beneficial as the heat from the paraffin supports the dilation of pores for a deeper penetration of active ingredients while also hydrating and smoothing the skin.
Facial skin is not the only area that needs exfoliation and moisturising. Spas provide a variety of skin treatments for the entire body: aqua therapy, body polishes, body wraps and Vichy showers. In aqua therapy, you soak in aqua-jet tubs with aromatherapy oils, moisturisers and exfoliates. These soaks improve circulation and exfoliate and hydrate the skin.
Paraffin wax baths
Paraffin wax baths are large enough to submerge your hands or feet. The baths are heat-producing appliances & thermostatically controlled, so when paraffin wax is added to the bath, the wax melts into a warm liquid in which hands, feet or elbows can be immersed. Because paraffin wax has a low melting point it is generally safe for extended skin immersion.
Application of paraffin
When paraffin wax baths are offered as a service at a spa or nail salon, the hands or feet are typically dipped into the bath of warm paraffin wax, often two or three times to create a thick coating that will retain heat for 15-20 minutes. Due to the seal created by the paraffin, the warmth created causes the paraffin’s natural emollient softens skin, and the heat opens pores. When the cooled wax is pulled away from the skin, it also removes dead skin cells, leaving skin smoother.
Paraffin wax treatments are also beneficial to dry, cracked hands and feet. Paraffin is an excellent moisturiser because it forms a light waterproof coating over your skin that helps it retain the oils produced by your body. This “waterproofing” makes paraffin treatments great for soothing and healing dry, cracked skin.
Body Exfoliants & Scrubs
The main benefit of body exfoliants & scrubs is how they aid in removing dead skin cells, which helps promote clearer and softer skin. The added advantages of using a body scrub can include skin-smoothing benefits. Body Scrubs & exfoliants are a great prepping product before any paraffin treatment.
The leading method of restoring our body’s natural glow is through exfoliation. A body exfoliant or scrub works to clear away dry and dead skin cells, leaving skin refreshed, brightened and oh so soft and smooth. Look for ingredients known for their skin smoothing benefits, like sugar scrubs for body exfoliation or other natural sources of glycolic acid. Body scrubs with sugar are great for gentle exfoliation without the irritation. Using Paraffin after an exfoliation helps keep the skin smooth and soft locking in moisture.
How often should you exfoliate?
As a general guideline, start off using body scrubs once per week, and then gradually increase to 3-4 times per week. If you are new to exfoliation, first test on one part of your body. Using an exfoliating body scrub daily can aggravate the skin, while exfoliating too sparingly won’t be effective, and you’ll still end up with those frustrating clogged pores and hardened skin that brought you here in the first place.
Can you over-scrub your body?
Of course! Just because your skin might feel tougher and more resilient than that of your face it is possible to over-exfoliate. You may initially notice skin signs such as redness, dryness, flaking, inflammation, or even experience breakouts getting worse, and it can also lead to premature ageing.
“A younger skin will need less exfoliation than someone that is 40+ for example. Our skin cells shed naturally every 28 days, a process called keratinisation but as we get older this slows down.
Benefits of body scrub & why you should use it:
- Removes dead skin cells that have collected on the surface
- Promotes cell renewal
- Promotes clearer and softer smoother skin
- Helps to prevent those painful ingrown hairs
- The oils make the hair softer making hair removal easier
- Your moisturiser will absorb better on fresh skin
- Reduces the appearance of hyperpigmentation
- Can help minimise the appearance of large pores
- Works wonders for keratosis pilaris (aka chicken skin)
- Reduces stress
Types of body scrub
Sugar vs Salt vs Coffee – Which is better?
Sugar Scrub Benefits – Sugar scrubs tend to be better for sensitive skin and are a great option for the face. Sugar scrubs are less abrasive than salt scrubs and they do not burn if you have a cut from shaving. These work great for exfoliating sensitive areas.
Salt Scrub Benefits – Salt scrubs are better for rough skin that could benefit from deep exfoliation, like the feet. They also have detoxifying benefits. They can extract toxins from the body and ease inflammation.
Coffee Scrub Benefits – Coffee scrubs improve circulation and help skin becomes more uniform in appearance. They can also reduce the appearance of stretch marks while giving you a radiant glow.
A Scrub or Peel?
There are two types of exfoliation:
Mechanical exfoliation (using an exfoliator, scrub, etc.)
Exfoliators and scrubs contain abrasive granules, which can be gentle or rough on the skin, depending on their size and shape. The finer the granules, the gentler and more effective they will be. When you massage a scrub over the skin, the granules it contains will slough away dead cells and impurities.
Chemical exfoliation (using a peel)
Typically made with fruit acids, chemical peels loosen the bonds between dead cells, which then peel off naturally, without needing to massage the skin. You simply apply the peel and leave on for the recommended time. This action also stimulates skin cell renewal.
It is worth noting that some acids are stronger than others and can be highly irritating if they’re used in excessive concentrations. They should therefore be used with great care, especially if you have sensitive skin. We call these acids AHA and BHA, and they come mainly from fruits or the willow tree (for salicylic acid), but they can also be synthesised.
Whether you opt for mechanical or chemical exfoliation, the results will be the same: afterwards, skin feels purer and softer, and looks more radiant.