SpaSeekers’ guide to body polish spa treatments
There’s nothing quite like the skin-softening, head-to-toe bliss of a professional body polish, and the radiant glow achieved with the exfoliating treatment to help you feel and look refreshed in next to no time.
If you’ve never enjoyed a spa day or spa break, or you’ve simply yet to experience a relaxing and invigorating body polish, you might not know what to expect.
As well as defining the treatment, this page explains what usually happens during a body polish, its health and beauty benefits, and the variations available at spas. You’ll also find some FAQs answered towards the end of this page.
What is a body polish?
A body polish is perhaps best thought of as a ‘facial for the body’. During this spa treatment, the therapist applies a polishing formula comprising a natural exfoliant - such as salt, sugar, coffee, rice bran or pecan hulls - and aromatic essential oils to the entire body (minus the face and genital area). The aim is to remove dull, dead skin cells, while promoting the healthy production of new ones, for improved appearance and condition.
While body polishes can be booked as a standalone spa treat, they are often recommended before (or offered as part of) a detoxifying body wrap treatment.
Enjoying a tension-busting full body massage after an invigorating body polish is also highly recommended.
What health and beauty benefits does a body polish provide?
The indulgent pampering experience of a full body polish provides multiple benefits:
A calm mind: Lying down on the treatment table and allowing a qualified aesthetician to take care of your skin will provide you with some valuable time to reflect, or simply unwind and forget all your troubles.
A re-energised body: The therapist’s moving hands teamed with the gritty texture of the exfoliating formula will aid blood flow and promote the movement of energy around your body. Most men and women feel physically re-energised and mentally calm after a polish treatment.
A healthy complexion: In addition to stripping your body of dead skin cells, the increased blood flow to your epidermis throughout the treatment will aid the efficient production of new cells and blemish-busting collagen. A body polish will also hydrate your skin, providing a top-to-toe healthy glow and a softer, more youthful complexion.
A terrific tan: A build-up of dead skin cells anywhere on the body can prevent the smooth and even application of a false tan. A body polish is the ideal preparation before undergoing a spray tan or applying any other body bronzing product.
More effective results from topical creams: Dead cells, dirt and oil build up in the epidermis can prevent topical creams from working as well as they should. A body polish will allow these creams to be more easily absorbed.
Types of body polish spa treatments
While there are countless body polish treatments offered by the 500+ spa venues we represent nationwide, many of them fall within one of these popular categories:
Himalayan salt rub: Say goodbye to dry, flaky skin with this body polish featuring Himalayan rock crystal - the purest salt on the planet - to replenish and optimally balance the essential minerals naturally present in your skin.
Nourishing body glow: Often ideal for those with sensitive skin, these body polishes usually comprise glow-boosting and condition-enhancing oils like aloe vera and jojoba, as well as especially gentle and soluble - yet effective - natural exfoliants.
Brightening body polish: This name is applied to a range of polishes designed to see tired skin cells eliminated head-to-toe for a brighter, more youthful complexion. The use of ground pumice stone and citrus oils is common but many spa resorts offer their own signature version of the treatment, featuring alternative ingredients.
Tan-optimising body polish: This skin-smoothing and dead cell-removing body polish is ideal before the application of false tan (lotion or spray), which can appear patchy or uneven without the right preparation
Anti-cellulite body polish: Formulated to help redistribute and decrease the formation of lumpy-looking fat cells (i.e. cellulite), these body polishes often comprise invigorating coffee within their ingredients to help stimulate circulation within - and improve the appearance of - ‘problem’ areas.
What to expect during your treatment
You should always contact us or visit the website of your selected spa to determine the exact details of your chosen body polish. However, these are the steps typically followed:
STEP #1 - CLOTHING REMOVAL: Before your body polish can begin, you will need to strip down to your underwear/bikini. A changing room or privacy screen will be provided so you can do this without feeling self-conscious. A large towel or sheet will be left on your massage table. You should lie on your front, get comfortable, and cover yourself before your therapist returns to the treatment room (you’ll be given plenty of time to do this). MORE INFO: Is full nudity required to enjoy a spa body polish?
STEP #2 - EXFOLIATION: Your aesthetician will carefully move the material covering you to expose a small section of your body at a time, so that the exfoliating formula can be massaged into all areas while ensuring your modesty throughout (treated areas will be re-covered). Once this process has been completed with you facing down, you’ll be asked to turn over so your front can be treated. Again, the towel or sheet provided will be used to prevent overexposure of your body.
STEP #3 - RINSE: Once you have been fully exfoliated, it’s time to rinse off the residual abrasive grain (or ‘bits’!) covering your body. If your body polish is performed inside a wet room - as is often the case - moving to another area to shower may not be necessary, since a purpose-designed Vichy shower is likely to be present directly above your massage table.
TIP: Do not use a shower gel or any other cleansing product when rinsing (unless instructed), for this could strip your skin of the radiance-boosting oils applied during your body polish
STEP #4 - MOISTURISATION: Once showered and dry, you’ll be asked to lie back down on the massage table, so your spa therapist can apply a rich body lotion or oil to both sides of your entire body. This final step will lock in moisture, encouraging suppleness and the longest possible results from your treatment.
Body polish FAQs
What’s the difference between a body polish and a body scrub treatment?
Although these terms are sometimes used interchangeably, the two treatments are often unique within the spa setting. While both promote skin moisturisation and the removal of dead cells through exfoliation, it is typically the case that only a body scrub sees the skin professionally cleansed as part of the treatment.
Those who choose a body polish will often be left to rinse off in a separate shower alone once fully exfoliated. Alternatively, the therapist may rinse the guest off using a Vichy shower located above the treatment table. Most body scrub patients, however, are likely to have their skin cleansed with further pampering products at this stage of the treatment, either with the aid of a Vichy shower or within another suitable facility.
How long does a body polish last?
The treatment itself can last upwards of 25 minutes, depending on the spa package chosen and whether other complementary spa treatments are chosen, such as a body wrap or massage.
How often should I have a body polishing treatment?
Due to the abrasive nature of the treatment, it is recommended to have a spa body polish no more than once a month. Between sessions, you can apply at-home scrubs to keep your skin smooth.
There are certain people who should avoid the treatment or seek advice ahead of time, including those who are pregnant or undergoing cancer treatment, or who have problem skin, skin sensitivity or circulation problems.
Is full nudity required when undergoing a spa body polish?
While your therapist will need to access most areas of your body to conduct a polish treatment, all spas allow and/or require their guests to wear underwear, or a bikini (some spas issue disposable knickers to prevent damage to guests’ clothing). The industry practice of ‘draping’ will also be used to ensure your modesty is maintained throughout the duration of your treatment.
To learn more about draping, please refer to the ‘Will I need to get naked during my spa visit?’ section on our What to Wear and Take to a Spa page.