Exfoliation involves the removal of the oldest dead skin cells on the skin's outermost surface, and has been used for many years to help maintain skin.
Credit is given to the ancient Egyptians for the practice of exfoliation. In Asia, it started hundreds of years ago. The etymology of the word exfoliate comes from the Latin exfoliare (to strip off leaves).
Shanghai is an extremely polluted city. Many inhabitants walk in the streets with masks and it is very easy to get sick on arrival if you don't have the right nutrition, good sleep and daily vitamins intake.
I arrived tired from a 20 hours journey forgot to look for the vitamins at the bottom of my suitcase, slept an average of only 5 hours a night for the last 3 weeks and changed drastically my nutrition and routine in the last few days. I am also tremendously jet lagged with 12 hours difference ahead.
As everyone knows, new skin cells are created in the skin's lower layer, the dermis. Over time, cells migrate to the surface of the skin and become more acidic. During their 30 day journey, they die and become saturated with keratin. Keratin is important because it protects the skin from outside elements.
My last 12 months have been an accumulation of stressful toxins due to intensive activities and overwhelming life events, and through the aging process like everyone else, my natural process of skin erosion became uneven, giving my skin a dry and rough character. I realize I must do something quickly , before the New Year , tonight.
I call the reception to enquire about the spa located at the 55th floor . It is managed by ESPA and features 10 treatment rooms including 9 multi function treatment rooms and a Harmony Suite where two guests can enjoy the treatments at the same time.
I decide to quickly put a robe on, plunge in the magnificent rooftop pool, overlooking the city of Shanghai at distance I can feel the year slowly go by. A long shower and a warm Jasmine tea offered by miss Sandy Wang the Spa and Fitness Manager are the perfect starters for a life's unforgettable experience.
Designed by renowned Richard Farnell, the spa combines striking modern lines and Art Deco detailing with extremely high quality finishes both in the spa and relaxation area. A dramatic combination of angles and unique shapes are consistent with the style and design of all other areas in the hotel.
I am now taken by a quite young Chinese woman to the waiting room. Here, floor to ceiling windows as well offer the same unparalleled views of the pool this time with the ' pearl" right in from of me . The spacious treatment rooms and showers, are alternating hues of Amber, Aqua and Emerald mosaics probably Bisanza, matching perfectly the wooden floors.
I take time to enjoy the crystal steam room, rock sauna, and ice fountain prior to my treatment to unwind and soothe aching muscles or wash away the city in the refreshing experience shower. For the ultimate indulgence experience the Harmony Suite, complete with personal steam, spa bath and breathtaking views across the Huangpu River.
After an unformal l chat sipping my warm tea , exploring different aromas of the ESPA essential oils, Sandy suggests that I experiment a combination of a 90 minutes ancient- and -modern Chinese treatment called Jade QiYun paired with an ESPA detoxifying Body Oil whose ingredients, 100% natural. I am asked how I would like the pressure of the massage and if I am allergic to any product and let to my treatment room overlooking the legendary Bund as the night falls upon us.
Obedient, I am now lying on the most comfortable and warm massage bed. The total body experience will apparently restore "Qi" and "Yun", rebalancing both my mind and body. Myy area of stress, neck and shoulder tension are being targeted with no pity releasing the effects those have on my skin. While experienced hand travels around my body with a mild pressure , I can't help seeing ' the movie' of the past year, the ups and downs, the hard and soft moments, the joys and challenging times.
A stimulation deep- cleansing back exfoliation follows , the aromas of the Juniper berry, Grapefruit, Lemon, Eucalyptus and Cypress are acting as powerful agents removing the outer layer of my dead skin to reveal the newer skin beneath, and like a Kafkian's Metmorphosys the shedding of the outer layer unclogs my pores, keeping my skin clean, and helping reducing breakouts.
Like the old year, slowly my old skin is blending with the salts of the prepared scrub to finally be dissolved in water leaving my pores open, releasing unwanted water and receptive for new nourishment and fresh moisture. The wrinkles are left to the past.
Fresh and clean, I fall asleep during the treatment, a profound dream showcases hope and premises for the new year to come. Pure like a child I am now ready to face the elevator who will take me back to the world's best suite life can offer tonight.
2012 is young and my skin too.
The Spa: Ritz Carlton Shanghai Pudong
The Products: ESPA
The Designer: Richard Farnell