Cracking open a bottle of vintage and using it as an anti-ageing skin treatment? Sounds awfully like something legendary beauty Cleopatra, the extravagant Queen of Ancient Egypt, might do! Take a look atvinotherapy – the new spa treatment craze sweeping the world…
What is Vinotherapy?
Vinotherapy (or wine therapy) originated, where else but, France –where wine is a way of life. Vinotherapy’s not quite what you imagine, though – it’s a beauty therapy in which wine residue is used as a restorative skin treatment. Wine residue, not to be confused with the sediment (or ‘dregs’) in the bottle, are the bits left over from the wine making process – the seeds, stems, skins and pulp of wine grapes. This residue is called marc in French or pomace in Italian and is traditionally used to make French eau-de-vie de marc(often simply called marc) and Italian grappa – a potent after-dinner firewater, drunk neat to aid digestion.
An Elixir of Youth?
Eau-de-vieis brandy in English, but the phrase translates literally as ‘water of life’, giving you some indication of the powers assigned to it by the French. But canthe marc used to make marc brandy also be used to give the skin a youthful glow when used as a topical skin treatment? Proponents of vinotherapy say yes, since wine residue:
- Is a natural and effective skin exfoliant
- Contains antioxidants called polyphenols which sooth, soften and cool the skin, reducing inflammation
- Contains free radical scavengers which fight free radicals in the skin, promoting the repair of damaged skin.
Vinotherapy Spa Treatments
Vinotherapy is increasingly popular in wine-growing regions of the world – France, Italy, Portugal, Spain, California in the USA and now, right here in the Winelands of the Western Cape. No prizes for guessing why vinotherapy on a wine estate has caught on as theperfect spa getaway – soak away life’s stress in a warm and comfortingvinotherapy bath, follow it with an luxuriousgrape oil spa massage and rejuvenating vinotherapy facial…then kick back with a glass or two of the best Estate wine, nibble on cheese and olives andtake in the breathtaking beauty of the vineyards below. La dolce vita, indeed!
Is Drinking Wine Good For You?
Since slathering ourselves in wine residue turns out to be beneficial to our skin, what about knocking back the vino itself? Turns out that, in moderation, that’s good for us, too! The health benefits of wine include:
- Lowering the risk of heart disease
- Reducing the risk of developing Type II Diabetes
- Lowering the risk of stroke
- Slowing brain decline associated with ageing
- Cutting the risk of colon cancer
- Promoting longevity
- Helping our skins stay younger looking, for longer –since antioxidants (especially in red wine) mop up damaging and ageing free radicals.
Note, though, that too much wine has the opposite effect – increasing the risk of liver disease, drying the skin and exacerbating the appearance of wrinkles, amongst other things. Everything in moderation – drinking one or two glasses of wine daily is sufficient to reap the health benefits. Santé!