When paraffin wax baths are offered as a service at a spa or nail salon, the hands or feet are typically dipped into a tub of warm paraffin wax -- often two or three times -- to create a thick coating that will retain heat for several minutes. As the wax hardens, the paraffin's natural emollient softens skin and the heat opens pores. When the cooled wax is pulled away from the skin, it also removes dead skin cells, leaving skin smoother [source: Barajas].
Paraffin wax treatments are also beneficial to dry, cracked hands and feet. Paraffin is an excellent moisturizer because it forms a light waterproof coating over your skin that helps it retain the oils produced by your body. This "waterproofing" makes paraffin treatments great for soothing and healing dry, cracked skin -- particularly winter-worn hands and feet -- because it offers protection from external elements [source: Clar et al.].
For more information on paraffin wax treatments, check out the links on the following page.
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- Barajas, Erin. "Building Custom Pedicures." Nails Magazine. (Accessed 9/16/09)http://www.nailsmag.com/Channel/FEET/Article/Story/2009/01/Building-Custom-Pedicures.aspx
- Clar, E.J.; Her, C.P.; Sturelle, C.G. "Skin Impedance and Moisturization." Society of Cosmetic Chemists of Great Britain. (Accessed 9/16/09)http://journal.scconline.org/pdf/cc1975/cc026n07/p00337-p00353.pdf
- Cosmetics Info. "Paraffin." (Accessed 9/16/09)http://cosmeticsinfo.org/ingredient_details.php?ingredient_id=447
- Harris, R., Millard, J.B. "Paraffin-Wax Baths in the Treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis." Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases. Vol. 14, no. 3, 1955. (Accessed 9/16/09)http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=1006816
- Merck Manuals Online Medical Library. "Treatment of Pain and Inflammation." (Accessed 9/16/09)http://www.merck.com/mmpe/sec22/ch336/ch336f.html
- Myron, Elizabeth. "The Evolution of Paraffin Treatments." Skin Inc. Magazine. (Accessed 9/16/09)http://www.skininc.com/treatments/body/19398959.html?page=1
- National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. "Questions and Answers about Arthritis and Rheumatic Diseases." (Accessed 9/16/09)http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Arthritis/arthritis_rheumatic_qa.asp
- Sandqvist G., Akesson A., Eklund M. "Evaluation of Paraffin Bath Treatment in Patients with Systemic Sclerosis." Disability and Rehabilitation. Vol. 26, no. 16. 2004. (Accessed 9/16/09)http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15371046
- Southwest Wax. "Paraffin Waxes." (Accessed 9/16/09)http://www.southwestwax.com/paraffin.html
- Sports and Physical Injuries Clinic. "The History of Paraffin Wax Therapy and the Benefits It Can Bring." (Accessed 9/16/09)http://www.injuries-clinic-oundle.co.uk/page26.htm
- Underwriters Laboratories. "Paraffin Bath Search Results." (Accessed 9/16/09)http://www.ul.com/global/eng/pages/search/index.jsp?q=paraffin+bath&site=default_collection&x=0&y=0
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration. "CFR - Code of Federal Regulations Title 21." (Accessed 9/15/09)http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/CFRSearch.cfm?fr=349.14&SearchTerm=paraffin
- Wallace, James Smythe. "Chemical Analysis of Firearms, Ammunition and Gunshot Residue." Boca Raton, FL: Taylor and Francis Group, 2008. (Accessed 9/16/09)http://books.google.com/books?id=dHbHS5GhCN4C&pg=PA107&lpg=PA107&dq=nitrate+test,+paraffin+wax&source=bl&ots=x0Nsew-lP-&sig=Vxz1NItBzl8NfZiGjStEAvvgfks&hl=en&ei=CrSxSr-mLJTWNrz6vPIN&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=5#v=onepage&q=nitrate%20test%2C%20paraffi&f=false
- WebMD. "Osteoarthritis Treatments: Know Your Options." (Accessed 10/15/09)http://www.webmd.com/osteoarthritis/guide/osteoarthritis-treatment-options