You see it in candles, crayons and lipstick. As a child, you probably even used it to decorate Easter eggs. It's wax. Wax plays a starring role in beauty treatments as well -- it's a popular way to remove unwanted body hair from legs, arms, chests, eyebrows and bikini lines. But you may not know that wax has another cosmetic use: the paraffin wax bath.

Paraffin wax is a mineral wax derived from petroleum [source: Cosmetics Info]. Unlike the wax used for depilatory procedures, which is viscous and sticky to bond to hair and skin, paraffin wax is a soft wax with a low melting point, which means that it melts at a temperature cool enough to safely immerse your skin. Paraffin wax is an emollient approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as a treatment to soften and smooth skin [source: U.S. Food and Drug Administration].

Paraffin wax has a long history of treating a variety of physical conditions. In fact, it was used in massage therapy as far back as the Roman Empire, and, in more recent years, it's become a popular physical therapy treatment for people with sports-related injuries [source: Sports and Physical Injuries Clinic].

Today, paraffin wax treatments are offered at many spas and salons, and these treatments are good for more than just softening and smoothing the skin. Read on to learn more about paraffin wax treatments and how they work.