Eco-Friendly Exfoliants

Dry skin can plague clients year round, and body scrub treatments provide the relief their parched skin needs most. These services are essential before baring skin on the beach or prepping for a spray-tan. Not all exfoliants are created equal, though, and it’s a worthwhile use of your time to check through your spa’s stock to make sure your treatments include effective and safe ingredients. For example, Illinois recently banned plastic microbeads, which are frequently found in facial and body scrubs, because the tiny particles slip through water filtration systems and end up polluting waterways and hurting wildlife. Now at least four other states are considering similar legislation to rid products of these pollutants by 2016 or 2017. Here are a few all-natural alternatives to microbeads:

  • Citrus: In the Bamboo and Wild Lime ($170, 80 minutes) treatment at Topnotch Spa (Stowe, VT), organic lime oil removes dead cells and improves the skin’s elasticity, courtesy of its innate powers of astringency and exfoliation. ­ E ritual calls upon reviving citrus and heated bamboo rods to massage the body and promote tranquility.
  • Diamond: Orogold Cosmetics relies on jewel essences for effective products. “Diamond is a very hard material, which makes it an excellent exfoliant to smooth, soften, and brighten the skin,” says marketing manager Stephanie Marks. “Diamond dust has the potential to be a reflective agent to boost skin’s radiance, giving skin the appearance of youth and vitality.”
  • Sea Salt: At The Setai Spa Wall Street (New York City), the popular Honey & Citrus Renewal ($195, 60 minutes) uses tangerine and sweet-orange essential oils with Dead Sea salt to exfoliate the body, promoting cellular regeneration. The polished skin is then massaged with a lotion that melds extracts of bergamot and orange blossom with infusions of vitamins A and E, pro-vitamin B5, red-tea antioxidants, and sea-algae extracts.
  • Sugar: This organic compound exfoliates without clogging pores and inherently retains liquid, according to Heather Lindbergh, Epicuren’s director of media and public relations. “As a natural humectant, sugar draws in moisture, keeping the skin hydrated and supple,” she says. “Nature’s troublemaker is also a natural glycolic acid, an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) that sloughs off dry, lifeless skin cells, promoting cellular turnover to generate more youthful-looking skin.”

What are you go-to exfoliants to polish guests?