excerpt from American Spa magazine by Nanci McArdle.
As a spa professional, I am aware of the skin-saving benefits of citrus-centric products and treatments in the spa. While most menus feature a number of facials, massages, and wraps utilizing various citrus fruits, there are several that often take center stage, such as lemon, orange, and grapefruit. But recently, limes are gaining recognition in the skincare arena as a refreshing alternative. Known as the lemon’s little green cousin, lime has all the benefits of other often-used citrus fruits, as well as a few more.
Like the more commonly incorporated citruses, limes are packed with antioxidants and vitamins. They also contain alpha hydroxl, a fruit acid that acts as a natural exfoliant. Their natural juices act as an astringent, making them ideal for clients with oily and acne-prone skin. In addition, lime peels inhibit melanin production, which helps brighten clients’ skin and combat hyperpigmentation. Containing more than double the amount of vitamin C than lemons, limes are not only a delicious garnish for cocktails, but they are also quickly becoming a key ingredient in spa products and treatments.
In the citrus family, lime might even provide more benefits than other fruits, according to Aleks Vranicic, vice president of sales and technical training for Yüm Gourmet Skincare, which offers a number of products containing lime. “Interestingly enough, lime is the only fruit that is used before it is mature,” says Vranicic. “Because it is still green, it has more acid than other citrus fruits. It is the least sweet of the citrus fruits. It can be used as a natural preservative. It contains the third highest concentration of vitamin C in comparison to all citrus fruits. Lime is also purifying, so it reduces bacteria that causes acne. It is a natural antibiotic, is anti-carcinogenic, and detoxifies. It tightens pores and temporarily reduces oil production for a clearer, brighter complexion.”
At Nob Hill Spa at the Huntington Hotel, (San Francisco) clients can experience a sublime service with Sothys Lime & Patchouli Body Event Treatment ($140, 50 minutes). “The treatment from Sothys is such a wonderful way to greet each season,” says spa director Ania Mankowska-Allard. “We incorporated lime into the treatment for its energizing and toning properties. Overall, it is really a one-of-a-kind treatment, very softening and nourishing at the same time, and the textures and scents are expertly combined.”
According to Kelly Roberts, owner of Kelly’s Spa at The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa (Riverside, CA), the summer is the perfect time to offer clients refreshing treatments featuring citrus ingredients, including lime. “Sunny summer days and the destination of Riverside as the pulse of California’s citrus industry inspired me to create the Orange Blossom Body ($65, 20 minutes),” she says. “This intensely delicious, vegan, and gluten-free body polish features botanical extracts and essential oils that will leave the skin looking sun kissed and smooth. Limes—together with oranges, coconuts, and mangoes—provide a rejuvenating experience that also hydrates and smoothes skin with a charge of antioxidants. The heavenly scent whisks clients away to a tropical destination and leaves them with radiant, velvety-soft skin.”
Adding local flavor to a lime-infused service, The Spa at Esperanza, An Auberge Resort (Cabo San Lucas) offers men the Corona Beer & Lime Facial ($185, 75 minutes). The treatment uses steaming hot towels to deep clean the skin before an exfoliation and a massage using beer- and lime-infused ingredients. “This treatment leads to total relaxation as the stress and tension are worked out of the neck, shoulders, and scalp,” says spa director Jose Ramon Garcia. “The lime also refines the pores while tightening and lifting the skin.”
In addition to the skin benefits, lime also offers an invigorating lift for the senses, says Ella Stimpson, executive director of spa operations at The Spa at Wynn and The Spa at Encore (Las Vegas). “Lime and lime oil stimulate and energize, and the aroma is uplifting and refreshing,” says Stimpson. “Lime may also help mental clarity and encourage creativity, and it has antiseptic, astringent, and antioxidant properties.” To take advantage of these properties, guests of either spa can opt for the Good Luck Ritual ($280, 1 hour 40 minutes), or the Thai Oil Massage ($280, 100 minutes), which blends Thai stretching with Thai-influenced massage techniques. The experience uses a lime camphor oil to deliver a stimulating, warming sensation to help muscle tissue respond. Whether through products or treatments infused with lime, it’s easy to keep refreshed by adding a twist of lime.