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 vigorously, and massaged across and into your skin, and is then rinsed away to reveal a moisturised layer of fresh, clean and smooth skin
What is a scrub good for?
There are many benefits to a body scrub or polish. A body scrub will exfoliate your skin, sloughing off dead skin cells and rubbing away hard and flaky skin, leaving it feeling soft and smooth. Scrub or polishing products usually include an oily base which moisturises and soothes your skin as it is scrubbed.
A scrub can be really invigorating as well, and improve the circulation of blood and lymph to the surface of the skin, helping to fight cellulite and improve your skin tone.
A good body scrub or polish forms the basis of other body treatments
the oils used can relax or stimulate your senses ready for any similarly-focused treatment that you might be having afterwards.
Before you go
There's nothing to do before you go except have a shower. This is really just courtesy for your therapist! You will be able to keep your knickers on, and they may give you disposable pants.
Scrubs and body polishes are suitable and safe for just about everyone. It's not an invasive treatment, and doesn't involve you assuming any odd positions.
You should not have a scrub if you have cancer or if you have a fever. You should also seek expert advice if you are allergic to anything or have a skin condition of any kind. Anyone with fragile, broken or sunburnt skin is well advised to skip this treatment as well, as a very vigorous scrub may hurt more than heal, however this is really something that a good therapist will take into account. Some conditions make some products, and some kinds of scrub a bad idea for you.
As with all spa treatments, make sure you are clear about any medical condition you have, or treatment you are receiving, so that you can be sure of a treatment that is safe and appropriate for you.
What to expect when you have a scrub or body polish
Different spas have different facilities, and so give scrubs in a slightly different way. It is usual to have it lying down, and if you're lucky on a heated plinth or table to keep you warm while you have your treatment. The table or plinth will get wet during the treatment as the product is washed off your body. The therapist should screen you discreetly, or leave you for a few minutes while you take off your robe and lie down between towels already laid out for you on the table.
Somehow, despite the fact that they scrub and wash your whole body, you'll be almost entirely covered for the whole treatment, as towels are expertly rolled and folded to maintain your dignity.
Before the treatment begins, the therapist may ask you what kind of product you prefer, giving you a choice of smells or asking whether you want to feel relaxed or revitalised by the body scrub. They should also tell you something about the product and procedure so that you know what's going to happen.
The scrub will usually start with one side of your back, and the product will be swept up and down your body simultaneously - this is really invigorating. The therapist will then work across your body, rubbing, scrubbing and massaging one area at a time, and then rinsing you off with warm soft water and covering you with a towel before moving on to the next part. At the end of the treatment you should be left to have a good shower to get rid of any remains of the product.
The treatment usually takes about 30 minutes.
A body scrub is a great treatment as it makes you look and feel good. After a good body scrub, your skin should feel really soft, smooth and silky; you should feel pampered and energised. It's a great one-stop treatment as well as fitting in well with others, as part of a spa ritual or spa package.
A body scrub is one of the treatments that you can recreate something of at home as part of your body care routine. Whilst it won't be such an indulgent experience, a good exfoliation with body scrub is something that you can really enjoy as part of a long luxurious home pamper, and is great for your skin. It's a good way to remove dry skin - just massage into damp skin in a gentle circular motion and then rinse thoroughly with warm water. Body scrubs tend to leave you with beautifully soft skin, but if you feel you need to, add a good moisturiser, shea butter or lotion. It also allows you the freedom to choose specific products if you have sensitive skin or are vegan.
Different types of scrub
While there may be variations in how the scrub is given, the main difference between scrubs is usually just the product used.
Salt and oil: finely granulated salt is mixed with an essential, moisturising oil. The salt might be sea or mineral
Sugar scrub is also used - a mix of sugar with oils or creams
Loofah: some body scrubs use cream and a loofah to slough off dead skin cells
Herbal: a therapist may mix a herbal oil with the exfoliating scrub, such as rosemary, lavender or aloe vera, depending on your skin type and whether the scrub is designed to wake you up or relax you
Fruit (edible!): some body scrubs mix crushed seeds with fruit oils - lemon, lime and grapefruit peel oil, oatmeal and other edible products to nourish and soothe the skin
Why not try a body scrub on your next spa day? This article was updated in November 2018