Your Visit to the Spa: The Complete Guide SEE FULL GUIDE prev next Sand Baths Mud Baths Ayurveda Microdermabrasion IPL Treatment Extractions Brazilian Waxing Brazilian Wax Cost Skin Analysis Exfoliation What Is a Spa? The Top Reasons to Visit a Spa How to Read a Spa Menu What Is a Spa Treatment? What Is a Body Treatment? What Is a Facial? What Does a Massage Feel Like? Make the Most of a Massage The Most Popular Massages How Often to Get a Massage How Often to Get a Facial What's an Esthetician? Massage Technique Basics How to Use Spa Gift Cards Day Spas Destination Spas Spa Hotels Korean Spas Wellness Spas Mineral Springs Spas Spa Etiquette: 101 Destination Spa Costs Day Spa Costs Massage Costs How to Tip at the Spa How to Tip at a Medical Spa What to Do When a Massage Hurts Being Nude at the Spa Should You Undress for a Massage? How Does Massage Draping Work? Are "Happy" Massages Legal? Male vs. Female Masseuses Children in the Spa Swedish Massage Full-Body Massage Asian Massage Hot Stone Massage Couples Massage In-Room Massage Deep Tissue Massage Thai Massage Therapeutic Massage Sports Massage Aromatherapy Massage Relaxation Massage Chair Massage Facial Masks Anti-Aging Facials Microcurrent Facials Hydrafacials Chemical Peels Photo Facials LED Facials Reflexology Body Wraps Hydrotherapy Vichy Showers Cellulite Removal Spa Manicures Body Polishes Sugar Scrubs Body Scrubs Korean Body Scrubs Salt Scrubs Gommage Your Visit to the Spa: The Complete Guide close Overview Inspiration Spas What Is Gommage? Written by Anitra Brown Anita is a spa expert who has written about, worked in, and visited some of the world's best spas for the past 20 years. Tripsavvy's Editorial Guidelines Anitra Brown Updated 05/16/19 Share Pin Email Image Source/Getty Images Gommage is a product that exfoliates the face or body, leaving skin feeling silky soft. (The word gommage comes from the French word that means "to erase" because the rubbing action is similar to erasing a word written in pencil.) Gommage was a very popular form of exfoliation during facials before the advent of stronger, faster, and more effective chemical exfoliants like alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs). Today, most estheticians opt for the more powerful forms of exfoliation during professional facial. So how does gommage work? You apply a paste to the skin, allow it to dry slightly while gentle enzymes digest dead skin cells on the surface, then rub it off -- taking dead skin cells with it. There is something very satisfying about seeing all those white flakes that come off your face, but in truth, most of what is coming off is the product itself. The dead skin cells are microscopic. Since gommage is a more gentle form of exfoliation for people who used to abuse their face with apricot kernels, there is a growing number of home products. Some of the most popular include Yonka Gommage 305, Cure Natural Aqua Gel, Boscia’s Exfoliating Peel Gel, Koh Gen Do Soft Gommage Spa Gel, Peter Thomas Roth FIRMx Peeling Gel, and Arcona Brightening Gommage Exfoliator. They typically range in price from $35 to $50. How Does It Work? Gommage combines chemical exfoliation through the use of enzymes with mechanical exfoliation through the action of rubbing. The enzymes in the gommage are proteolytic, which means protein dissolving. Enzymes digest the dead skin cells sitting on the surface. Once the paste is dried, it is rubbed off, taking dead skin cells with it. One commonly used enzyme in gommage is papain, which is derived from papaya fruit. (Interestingly, papain is also used as a meat tenderizer because of its ability to soften tissue and dissolve protein.) Other commonly used enzymes are bromelain, derived from pineapple, and pancreatin and trypsin, both derived from meat by-products (vegan alert!). Gommage is a cream or paste that is thinly applied to the skin and then allowed to dry and form a hard crust, which takes anywhere from a few minutes to ten minutes, depending on the product. Then the esthetician (or you) removes it by rubbing, taking dead skin cells with it. The gommage rolls up off the skin as it is rubbed, picking up the skin's outermost dead skin cells with slightly sticky ingredients like xanthan gum, algae derivatives, or even paraffin. Most of what flakes off the skin is the product itself; It is important to stabilize the skin on the face, which you can do by making a "peace sign" with one hand and rubbing between the "V" with the fingers of the other hand. Tips While gommage is generally gentle, there are a few caveats. Don't use gommage if you have older, thinning facial skin. Don't use gommage together with other exfoliants like body polishes or AHAs. Don't use gommage if you have sensitive skin, broken capillaries, or pimples. Gommage is sometimes used in body treatments, particularly if the spa doesn't have a wet room. They are highly effective but more labor-intensive than a salt glow or body scrubs. If a spa has a wet room they will usually offer a scrub where you shower off afterward. You don't shower after gommage. Sand Baths Was this page helpful? Thanks for letting us know! Share Pin Email Tell us why! Submit The Importance of Exfoliation at the Spa and at Home Enhance Your Complexion With a Popular Spa Treatment Facials Go Electric How Facial Masks Can Help Your Skin Try a Salt Scrub for Smoother Skin The 12 Best Natural Sunscreens of 2021, According to Dermatologists The Sweeter Side of Body Scrubs What Is a Body Polish, and Why Do You Need One? 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