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Wacky spa treatments

What’s the craziest spa treatment you’ve ever heard of? That’s probably nothing compared to these bizarre services from around the world.


Cactus massage and tequila body scrub
You’re probably used to your favorite mixologist asking if you want your tequila with or without salt, lime or lemon, etc. But if you’re vacationing in Mexico and opt for a little R&R at the spa, be prepared for the aesthetician to ask if you’d like a side of cactus with your tequila body scrub. This super exfoliating body treatment (clients are massaged with loofah-like cactus pads) aims to rid your skin of most impurities. Maybe body shots are good for you?
Local reaction
Molly LaHood, the supervisor at NoMI Spa (800 N Michigan Ave, 312-335-1234), says that while she’s apprehensive about trying anything with “needles,” she’d be open to offering similar treatments at NoMI. “I’d definitely have to do more research about the treatment, but the alcohol portion is no surprise because it can cleanse the skin better than traditional beauty products,” she says. “We do offer seasonal beauty treatments like the Bourbon Scrub in the fall.”
Try instead
NoMI’s seasonal body polish ($120), a sweet cream sea-salt scrub for exfoliating, paired with a strawberry moisturizer that contains vitamins A, B and C.

Pepto-Bismol facial
Not only does Pepto-Bismol provide relief for an upset stomach, but it’s also said to serve as a healing mechanism for adult acne. The active ingredient, subsalicylate (comparable to salicylic acid) treats and prevents future breakouts for acne sufferers. As far as we can tell, it’s not available in any spas, but it was featured on the Dr. Oz show.
Local reaction
Jenifer Goldsmith, master aesthetician at the Ruby Room Inn & Spa (1743-45 W Division St, 773-235-2323), says the treatment is beyond absurd. “What’s the point of going to the spa for a treatment that you can do at home? There’s nothing special about that.”
Instead try
Ruby Room’s Deep Cleanse facial ($120), which incorporates a double exfoliation and Arcona products (some of which contain salicylic acid) to nourish and revitalize the skin’s surface.

Red-wine bath
We always assumed the best vino came in a bottle, not a bathtub. But it appears that a spa day in Germany includes soaking in a tub filled with red wine (minus the cheese and crackers). The treatment is supposed to reduce the appearance of cellulite and leave your skin feeling soft.
Local reaction
Julia Simmons, spa director for theWit Hotel (201 N State St, 312-467-0200), can see this service being offered in Chicago. “The exfoliation, hydrating and antiaging components make it appealing,” she says. “If it was in demand, we’d most likely say yes.”
Instead try
The Spa at theWit offers a variety of baths. We like the Rehab Me ($35), a salt bath of peppermint, spearmint and eucalyptus to relieve muscle tension.

Snail secretion rejuvenator
Folks in Chile allegedly have their finger on the pulse when it comes to sunscreen trends—via a snail secretion rejuvenator. They say snail slime will not only revitalize the skin’s surface, but it also serves as a shield against pollution and UVA/UVB rays.
Local reaction
Leah Chavie of Leah Chavie Skincare Boutique (2457 N Halsted St, 773-327-7051) isn’t impressed with the goopy regimen. “I understand people are always looking for the next big thing in skin care, but there [isn’t a need] for the fluff,” she says. “These wacky trends are just ways to get people’s money.”
Try instead
The boutique offers an Intense Pulsed Light treatment ($250) that targets unsightly age and sun spots.

RECOMMENDED: Our full guide to spas in Chicago

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