Have an At-Home Spa Day

With cringe-worthy economic headlines published just about every day lately, I'm delighted to recommend my favorite new spa: It's affordable, walk-in appointments are never a problem, and the staff is positively delightful.

That's right - I'm talking about the spa you can create for yourself in your very own bathroom with a few of my favorite at-home treatments:

  • What's a spa without a relaxing soak? Start your day with a luxurious bath in lavender scented water - studies have shown that the smell of lavender slows brain waves, making it a great complement to your R&R.
  • While you're in the bath, give tired eyes a little TLC. My favorite anti-inflammatory product for eyes is simple chilled (caffeinated) tea bags - caffeine is an excellent way to constrict blood vessels and minimize redness and puffiness.
  • Next up? A top-notch facial. For about the price of a movie ticket, you can buy yourself the equivalent of several pricey microdermabrasion treatments. In my opinion, the right facial scrub sloughs off dead skin cells and improves skin's texture just as well. Just one caveat: anyone with sensitive skin (acne, rosacea, or just a tendency to become red and flushed) should avoid the friction of abrasive scrubs.

If you have dry skin, follow that up with a moisturizing mask that's an absolute steal: Slather on Noxzema or cold cream, leave it on for 25 minutes, then rinse and apply your regular moisturizer to damp skin.

Finally, try a treatment that you can actually sleep through! This is one of my favorite tricks - it's like a very mild chemical peel: Apply ¼ teaspoon of your regular retinoid (Retin-A, Tazorac, or Differin, for example) to your face before bed. That's more than the pea-sized amount I recommend for daily use, and will cause your skin to peel after about four days. A couple of days after that, though, your complexion will be positively radiant, it's texture will be smooth, and even clogged pores will be noticeably clearer.

  • It's winter in much of the world - but if you're missing that summer glow, I have good news: Almost all self-tanners, from drugstore bottles to the spa spray-on variety, use the same active ingredient, dihydroxyacetone (DHA). Before you try your hand at this treatment, though, do as the spas do and exfoliate well - that's the best way to avoid splotches and uneven color.
  • What's a spa day without a manicure? It can be hard to get the hang of grooming your own nails, but these simple tips will go a long way: File nails into a square shape, so they'll be less likely to break. And file them in one direction only - a back-and-forth motion will only weaken nails. For moisturizing your nails and cuticles, I find that common household oils, like olive or safflower, are even better than pricey cuticle creams.
  • Finally, before you hit the sack, try one more overnight trick: Slather your hands and feet with a rich moisturizer - plain old petroleum jelly is one of my favorites! And put on cotton socks and gloves. When you wake up, your hands and feet will be softer than even the most decadent spa treatment could make them.

Wishing you great skin!

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Dr. Baumann is author of the best-selling book, " The Skin Type Solution." To learn more about her revolutionary skin typing system, visit her Web site, SkinTypeSolutions.com.

All of Dr. Baumann's recommended skin care products are available online, and a portion of proceeds goes to The Dermatology Foundation.
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