Believe it or not, the power peel -- a treatment that essentially involves sandblasting the skin -- has replaced relaxing European cleansings as the hottest way to put your best face forward. But while it may leave your skin smooth and glowing, there is a downside. The process is a type of dermabrasion that propels microcrystals onto the skin and vacuums them out again. But the crystals are made of aluminum oxide -- and because of the association between aluminum and Alzheimer's disease, a treatment where the suspect particles can enter your nose and mouth is less than inviting. Now there's an alternative: a peel that uses custom-milled salt. The process involves more propulsion and less suction, and, says Dr. Jim Baral, who started to offer this option two months ago, there are visible benefits. "The salt peel is done with greater force, so the action is deeper and there is actually less redness. It's a bit messier, but I'd rather use something which is 100 percent safe." By spring, the Peninsula and Away spas will be jumping on the safer-salt bandwagon as well. When it rains, it pours.
Beauty to Go
If jet lag has you sleepily stumbling through airports with puffy eyes and morning hair, you'll be happy to know that there are new ways to beautify in the skies. Here are some space-friendly travel items that can make you feel pampered -- even in coach.
Nervous travelers should consider replacing a dry martini or Valium with Herban Essentials' Fear of Flying (pictured, above), a mix of relaxation elixirs that includes valerian to soothe the nerves, a range of essential oils, and single-dosage plastic cups for mixing a Rescue Remedy concoction. Anya Hindmarch -- the new accessories emporium at 29 East 60th Street -- sells a kit packed with products for "takeoff" (orange-blossom face splash, Philosophy moisturizer), "cruising" (Philosophy lip balm, plus a sleep enhancer to spray on the pillow), and "landing" (a hand towel, grooming gadgets, and a foot spray to refresh and reduce puffiness). With its cobalt-blue apothecary bottles, Naturopathica's Herbal Remedy Travel Kit (pictured, above) offers natural cures for all sorts of potential mishaps: echinacea to boost the immune system, lavender hydrolat (a toning spray), and some chamomile-peppermint tea for when you get tired of the stewardesses' brew. For peaceful slumbers try Origins Resume the Position, a nifty travel diffuser. Pull open the capsule to release a combo of essential oils that promise to help even the lightest of sleepers. As the plane begins its descent, jump-start your senses with Lancaster's Aromatopia, an energy blend of citrus, water lily, and nectarine. And there's no reason to haul your entire makeup drawer every time you travel: B'Box's matchsticks (at right) are tiny Popsicle-like lipsticks and eye shadows that can actually be used for up to 60 applications. And though they look good enough to eat, we suggest sticking to the airplane food.
Age-defying antioxidants -- from vitamin C to grape-seed extract -- have been turning up in every beauty product to come down the pike lately. For the future of beauty, turn to the tea leaves -- green tea to be exact. "Green tea is a more powerful antioxidant than vitamin C; it helps eliminate fine lines by promoting collagen production," says celebrity dermatologist Fredric Brandt, whose green-tea-based cosmetics line, lineless, is due to hit Bergdorf Goodman next month. Brandt isn't alone in the harvest: The tea can be found in Givenchy's Firm Profile cream gel, emerginC's multivitamin retinol serum, and in Bulgari's soon-to-be-launched Hydra Thé line (pictured). And if you run out of lotion, you can always take healing green tea the traditional way -- by drinking it.