Wine facials might sound like another case of wasting something that's meant to be imbibed, not put on your skin. In some ways the concept is related to the same idea behind chocolate facials -- red wine contains antioxidants called polyphenols. It has also been touted as good for improving cardiovascular health, protecting arteries and raising levels of good cholesterol (HDL). Other ingredients in red wine, including the alcohol itself as well as a compound called resveratrol, may have heart-healthy benefits. As with chocolate, doctors caution that it's all about moderation.
Do these really translate to benefits to the skin? Some people think so. Fans say that wine facials improve circulation, help to even skin tone and brighten dull skin. Spa-goers in Jaipur, India, where wine facials gained popularity a few years ago, claim that they help to relieve stress, anxiety and even headaches. Typically, the wine is mixed with a medium such as aloe vera gel (the type of wine itself is chosen based on skin type -- rosé is said to be better for sensitive skin) before being massaged into the skin.
At some spas, using wine and wine-making byproducts such as seeds and pulp is known as vinotherapy. Often, these spas are located near wineries that also boast resorts. In 1993, owners of the Chateau Smith Haute Lafitte in Bordeaux, France, met with a professor from the Bordeaux Faculty of Pharmacy, who explained the antioxidant properties of grapes. Five years later, they opened the first of several Vinothérapie (trademarking the name in French) Spas. Wine facials are now available at various spas around the world.
Now that you're craving wine and chocolate, let's take a look at an unusual facial using something that your skin already gets in a different form: oxygen.