The first days of fall are always tinged with a touch of wistfulness for the passing summer. Fortunately, that feeling quickly vanishes as crisp clear air, vibrant leaves and beckoning playing fields deliver on the promise of a new season.

As summer surrenders to cooler temperatures, there is no better place to mark the passing of the season and restore your inner tranquility than at your local spa. With an allure that is both earthy and sensual a facial brimming with luscious and healing herbs, fruits and vegetables provides the perfect way to regroup.

The sensory appeal of skin care products laced with rich aromas and saturated with colors is undeniable. The extra bonus is that these products go far beyond the feel-good factor; high concentrations of plant based nutrients are found in the intensely colored fruits and vegetables so typical of the fall harvest. These phytochemicals act to support the skin in many different ways: stimulating the healthy growth of new skin cells; actively aiding the production of skin firming collagen and elastin; inhibiting hyperpigmentation and providing antioxidant protection against damage caused by sun, stress and environmental challenges.

Yummy skin care options abound this fall. Juicy blueberries, cranberries and pomegranate flaunt their glory as prominently on the spa menu as they do in our local restaurants. Science supports their use as skin food - extracts from the skin and juice are rich in anthocyanins, antioxidants which protect the skin from free radical damage, while the seeds provide a quickly absorbing oil rich in essential fatty acids. Most typically youll find berries used as a nourishing mask, though their enzyme activity also finds them used as a gentle, but very effective, skin smoothing peel.

Cranberries are a member of the same botanical family as blueberries and are well known for their strong anti-microbial activity. This activity makes cranberry juice a successful remedy for urinary tract infections; the astringent and antimicrobial qualities also make cranberry extracts particularly useful for the treatment of oily, breakout prone skin. As a result cranberry extract is often found in cleansers, or as a skin balancing toner; expect to see clearer skin with regular use of these products.

For many of us the best, most relaxing wish-it-went-on-forever part of our facial is the massage. Aside from the sheer pleasure of having stubborn knots eased away, skin benefits greatly from nourishing oils. Depending on your skin type you may find your therapist using an omega-rich oil from walnuts, sunflower or almonds, or they may select an infused floral oil chamomile or rose are often used for their profound abilities to soothe both skin and psyche. Of course, its impossible to think of fall without thinking of pumpkins and spas everywhere will be featuring pumpkin based treatments. Though many think that the pumpkin found its highest calling in a Thanksgiving pie, the reality is that the familiar orange flesh provides a host of phytochemicals that nourish and treat the skin. An exfoliating pumpkin peel contains powerful natural enzymes and is an excellent way to instantly brighten post-summer skin by sloughing away dead skin cells and dull pigment. Pore-refining salicylic acid, beta-carotene, zinc and other skin friendly nutrients hydrate, stimulate collagen production and fight free radicals, making pumpkin a sophisticated treatment for many different skin types.

So, while the kids are doing their homework, tell them you have homework of your own, and hit the spa. Its a wonderful education chemistry, biology, nutrition, botany and best of all; you can learn what it feels like to truly relax!

About Christine

Christine has spent almost every day of her working life at the spa, a journey that has seen her cultivating spa customers in Asia and Australia as well as in the United States. Inspired by the power of the spa experience to change lives, she thinks that the only thing better than working in a spa is going to a spa where other people do all the work!

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