Paraffin wax facials were developed in the 1960s but paraffin has been used in holistic medicine since the times of the Roman Empire. They are touted for their ability to clean your pores, reduce wrinkles, moisturize your face and relax you. The process involves an esthetician covering your face with a protective gauze mask. The esthetician will then brush warm paraffin wax over the gauze. The gauze will prevent the wax from burning your skin but will also allow the nutrients and heat to work its magic. When the wax dries the gauze is pulled away and your wax remnants are washed away.
Paraffin wax has a high heat capacity and is able to retain that heat longer than other facial substances. The heat in a paraffin wax facial opens the pores of your skin. This is because the heat causes you to sweat, which loosens the dirt and grime in your skin. This loosening allows you or the esthetician to remove stubborn black and white heads.
The warmth from the paraffin wax makes the blood vessels in your face expand. This causes more circulation to the face, which is what brightens your complexion.
Because paraffin wax is able to retain and transfer its heat effectively it is often used to calm stiff joints. In facial treatment, however, the wax soothes overworked facial muscles. This has been linked to wrinkle reduction and tension in the face muscles.
Most estheticians advertise that their paraffin wax facials will moisturize your skin unlike any other treatment. This is because they apply an intense moisturizer such as collagen elastin cream or silk oil before the paraffin wax is applied. When the wax is applied, your pores open. This allows for a very deep penetration of moisturizer. Often the moisturizer is sealed into the skin with an ice-cold face bath. This process is especially recommended for those with very dry skin.
The heat retention of the paraffin wax provides a calming therapy. Paraffin wax facials are especially popular in cold climates and among pregnant or older women who are suffering from pain or stiffness of their face muscles.
Kaye Wagner has been working in the fields of journalism and public relations since 2006 and is a recipient of a National Hearst Award. She is particularly interested in home-and-garden projects, as well as beauty and fashion writing. An avid traveler, she also writes travel reviews and guides. Wagner earned a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Brigham Young University.