5 spa treatments (other than massage)

How athletes can benefit from ultrasound wands, microneedling, and more

With facials going high-tech, probiotics popping up in our primping products, and skin needs being determined via a computer, beauty is having a trendy moment. And while some trends may be worth trying, there’s something to be said for tried and true products and treatments.

Amidst an age of machinery in the spa, the below advancements stand out as high performers in the beauty world that have stood the test of time. "They are universally effective and they work for everyone; they do the job that nothing else can do. They box out any other competition,” says Amanda Al-Masri, vice president of spa services at Equinox. Consider them the staples of every good esthetician’s toolbox.

High-Frequency Treatments

When used as a part of a facial post-extraction, Tesla’s high-frequency electric current (applied via a glass electrode) sanitizes your skin, says Sarah Garland, the senior manager of spa planning at Equinox. Safe for all skin types, you won’t be red post-treatment, either. “It’s been around for a long time and is considered old-fashioned, but it’s hung around because it really works,” says Garland. How it works: “It oxygenates the skin and creates heat, which kills bacteria.”

Ultrasound Wands

Yes, this is the same ultrasound technology found at your doctor’s office. Using sound waves, one side of the wand-like device scrubs the skin (helping exfoliate by vibrating away dead skin); the other also helps push masks, serums, and products deeper into your skin, Garland notes. “It’s amazing for stimulating collagen production and removing dead skin cells.” Because ultrasound waves reach both the skin and the muscle underneath, they can have a muscle-relaxing effect, she notes—a form of wrinkle therapy.

LED Light

LED light (different wavelengths of UV-free lights) shined from a light-emitting diode can be used both as a part of a facial or as a stand-alone treatment (think: clean or exfoliate). The idea: Different colors of lights work to solve different problems beneath the skin. The color that works best for you will depend on your skin type. “Red light would be for dry, dehydrated, or mature skin,” says Garland. “Blue light would be for acne-prone skin.”


Used in a facial, microneedling involves using tiny needles to create micro-tears in the skin, explains Garland. “Your skin’s natural healing response wants to fix this, which stimulates collagen and elastin." Beyond that, the process can help with product penetration, particularly with serums, she adds. Just note: While it’s not painful, per say, you’ll leave reddened—a normal response that shows your skin is working. “When your skin responds with redness, it means your skin is healthy,” says Garland.

Sheet Masks

Sheet masks are seeing a resurgence for a reason: They’re easy to use, readily available, good for travel, and effective at providing your skin a solid dose of nourishing ingredients. “Look at the first four ingredients of a mask,” suggests Kate Weinberg, a regional spa manager at Equinox. “Collagen should be one of the top ones. You also want to make sure there’s not a paraben listed, and that water is high on the ingredient list.” Also, the mask should be what it says it is. “If it says it’s pumpkin, there needs to pumpkin in the first four or five ingredients,” underscores Weinberg.

Try: Elemis' Pro-Collagen Hydra-Gel Eye Mask or Rodial’s products including Pink Diamond and Dragon's Blood masks for lips and eyes and Bee Venom for spot treatments, suggests Weinberg.

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