June 27, 2011

Spa appeal: De-stress and pre-prep your bridal beauty routine

Call the experts to action when whipping face and figure into top shape for your big day.

It goes without saying that all the planning and preparation that goes into organising a wedding can take its toll on your physical wellbeing.

Stress caused from constant phone calls to caterers, florists and of course, finding that dress, can cause or further aggravate many skin conditions including acne, eczema, psoriasis, rosacea and cold sores – and who wants a break-out on their big day?

“Ongoing day-to-day stress adversely impacts your immune system,” says world-renowned ayurvedic dermatologist Vaidya Rama Kant Mishra.

“The skin is an organ, widely connected to the rest of the physiology as well as the mind. So it’s natural that like the rest of you, your skin can be negatively affected by stress.”

One of the best ways then to combat both stress and skin complaints, and to ensure that you’re relaxed and revived on your wedding day, is to visit a day spa.

In recent years, the humble day spa has come a long way. A hybrid of a beauty salon and a health retreat, day spas, also known as destination or medi spas, place a greater emphasis on a client’s overall health – both inside and out.

With experts on hand and treatments ranging from therapeutic Swedish massage, shiatsu, aromatherapy and reflexology to non-surgical facelifts, botox injections and even nutritional advice, day spas offer enormous benefits, including minimising the effects of stress on the body, preventing premature ageing and even helping to assist weight loss.

Australian celebs like Laura Csortan and former Miss Universe Jennifer Hawkins have long championed the positive health benefits of visiting a day spa, so calling a revitalising ‘timeout’ should be a mandatory addition to the to-do list for all brides-to-be.

Day spa at home

If you prefer the comfort of your own home, or your wedding budget doesn’t stretch to professional treatments, make your own bathroom a day spa with these top tips for a DIY day spa experience.

Switch off. For ultimate relaxation and de-stressing put your mobile phone on silent, take your home phone off the hook, and don’t be tempted to check emails. It’s not the time to think of these things.

Prepare. Get all the products you’ll need together (think: bath oils, shower gels, exfoliating scrubs, loofahs, essential oils and moisturiser). Grab a bathrobe and slippers, and for a true day spa experience, heat up some towels in the dryer so they’re toasty warm.

Light up. Candles create a relaxing atmosphere. Place a couple around your bathroom, and if you have one, an oil burner as well. If you have a favourite relaxing CD, put it on too.

Scent it. Adding a few drops of essential oils to your bath will make your bathroom smell delicious. Having a shower? Put a little of the essential oils in each corner – the scent will rise with steam.

Start with a scrub. Ditch scaly dry skin with an exfoliating scrub or loofah brush. Dampen your skin first, and then hop out of your bath or shower. Using an exfoliant while in the water is a waste – it’ll wash straight off. Apply your scrub, and work on one area of your body at a time, focusing on drier areas such as your heels, knees and elbows.

Rinse and relax. Follow with a yummy bath or shower gel. If showering, try a spot of at-home hydrotherapy. Turn your shower on full blast and let the water jet give your back and shoulders an excellent massage. If returning to the bath, add some Epsom or sea salts and let any aches or pain soothe away. Relax for around 20 to 30 minutes and let your thoughts go, before hopping out.

Moisturise. The best time to moisturize your body is straight after bathing while your skin’s still warm. Slather on a hydrating cream or body butter, and don’t rush. Take time to massage your limbs while rubbing it in and then cover yourself up with a robe and socks to keep heat in. If you want to follow up with a skin-toning product, now is the time.

Chill. Don’t rush back into your daily duties. Make the most of your cleansing and calming routine and refrain from strenuous activities. Drink plenty of water.

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