Left it too late again? All your good intentions to gym this winter and say no to that extra slice of pizza never materialised? Like me then, you are probably considering slightly more radical interventions such as spa treatments to get your body summer ready.
There is only so much you can achieve at home or at gym. Sometimes you need the professionals to step in, if you are ever going to venture out to the beach again. Fortunately there is still hope for the likes of us, as there are a number of spa and salon treatments that are really effective.
Here are a few that I highly recommend:
Laser hair removal
Laser hair removal works through pulses of highly concentrated light emitted from the laser into the hair follicles. The pigment in the follicles absorbs the light and destroys the hair. There are several different laser hair removal technologies and treatments on offer, so do read up on the specific technology the salon of your choice uses and refer to online reviews.
Although laser treatment really does work wonders in removing hair, there are risks involved, such as temporary redness and discoloration in the treated area if exposed to sun too soon. It is therefore important to use sunscreen on the treated area for at least one week after each treatment.
You will need four to six sessions, spaced about three to six weeks apart, to target all of the hair follicles in the specific area. Depending on the size of the treatment area, you can expect to see results after three to four sessions. As you need to space the sessions over a couple of months before you see real results, now is the time to start!
In the lead up to summer many salons offer specials, such as pay for 4 treatments and get 2 free. It’s worthwhile to shop around.
Despite a healthy diet and regular exercise, many of us have stubborn areas where fat accumulates and is difficult to eliminate without intervention. The most common areas are the love handles, lower stomach, arms, thighs and hips.
Thanks to new technologies, it is now possible to reduce stubborn fat pockets and improve body contours without surgery, scars or downtime. Two of the most popular technologies used by spas include Cryolipolysis and Laser Lipo. Both procedures are a healthier alternative to traditional liposuction and serve to remove excess fat with little to no pain or downtime involved.
They are quite different in approach though: Laser lipo is based on melting the fat by means of a high concentration laser that causes fat cells to open up and release their contents. On the other hand, Cryolipolysis uses extreme cold temperatures to literally freeze the fat away. A cupped device is placed on the skin of the treatment area, where it then transmits temperatures just low enough to freeze fat cells, thereby destroying them. With both procedures, the fat is eliminated by the body during the weeks following treatment.
Keep in mind that body contouring is not a miracle cure, you will still need to eat healthy, drink loads of water and get regular exercise. Most treatment sessions last between 20 and 40 minutes and you will need to schedule at least two sessions per week, for a period of four weeks (for optimal results you need 4 to 6 sessions). Make sure you have the time available before beginning the course of treatments and shop around for good deals as these treatments are quite pricey.
Exfoliation is an essential step to achieving a healthy summer glow. It gets rid of all the dry, flaky winter skin cells and helps other skin care products such as lotions and moisturisers to penetrate the skin more effectively. If you are planning on using a self-tanning product – be it a professional spray tan or an at-home product – it’s also essential to exfoliate the skin in order to minimise the risk of a ‘streaky’ look.
A scrub or body polish is a spa treatment which exfoliates the skin on your body, leaving it feeling fresh, smooth, moisturised and soft. An abrasive product is rubbed and massaged into your skin, and is then rinsed away to reveal a moisturised layer of fresh, smooth skin.
A personal favourite is a ‘salt glow’ treatment. This natural salt and coconut oil exfoliating body treatment improves the skin’s texture, leaving it smooth and looking radiant. You can also add a body scrub to a regular massage, which it utterly blissful!
Now that your skin is squeaky clean, indulge in a relaxing treatment body wrap, and you are just about there! A body wrap is a spa treatment created to promote the extraction of dirt, toxins and excess water from the skin. A nourishing oil or mineral-rich formula is applied to your skin before you’re are wrapped in cotton, mylar bandages or a plastic film.
There is a wide range of body wraps available to enhance the health and appearance of your skin and reduce the appearance of cellulite (alas, we will never be totally rid of this particular affliction).
A body wrap typically takes 30 to 60 minutes during which you get to relaxed in a warm, cosy and low-lit room all by yourself. My family knows my favourite birthday treat is an exfoliating body massage, followed by a relaxing wrap during which I have been known to fall asleep and even gently snore .
Best foot forward
After a long winter of being crammed into tight shoes and boots, your feet are overdue for a bit of TLC. All you need is a proper salon pedicure, where your feet will be exfoliated and scrubbed with a pumice stone or foot file, making your toes and heels smoother, and callus free.
The best part of a pedicure is the foot massage, releasing the tension that builds up in your feet and calves and improving blood circulation. This not only helps your feet but also improves the overall health of your body.
Remember to take flip-flops or open sandals to wear afterwards. Spa-standard nail polish may take up to a few hours to dry completely (unless you’re having a gel polish pedicure, which dries instantly). Choose a bright and happy summer nail colour and off you go, you are now ready to conquer the beach!
What are your favourite spa treatments to prep your summer body? Pop them in the comments section below.