Spa Glossary



Acne: Acne is characterized by the presence of pimples or “zits”, blackheads, and whiteheads. This occurs when oil and dead skin cells become trapped within the hair follicle, creating a plug within the pore.  It chiefly affects the face, neck, chest, and back.

Acupressure: Finger massage that releases tension and improves the flow of energy (chi) throughout the body by applying pressure to the “energy points” or meridians in the body.

Acupuncture: An ancient oriental healing technique discovered and developed more than three thousand years ago, acupuncture is based on Taoist philosophy. The aim is to balance the energy meridians to permit the body to “heal itself. A relatively painless technique, it is administered by inserting fine needles at key points of the body that relate to different organs in order to relieve muscular, neurological and arthritic problems, cure disease and relieve pain.

Alpha Hydroxy Acid: Alpha hydroxy acids are known for their anti-aging effects, found in a variety of skin care products including moisturizers, cleansers, eye cream, sunscreen, and foundations. Alpha hydroxy acids in various concentrations are also used in chemical peels.

Aromatherapy: The use of fragrant, natural, botanical essential oils from plants, leaves, bark, roots, seeds, resins and flowers as a healing art. Aromatherapy refreshes and relaxes the skin while soothing the mind by helping to induce a sense of well-being. Each individual essence is used to produce a specific beneficial effect. Used in massage and facials.


Beta Hydroxy Acid: Beta hydroxy acid works mainly as an exfoliant. It causes the cells of the epidermis to become “unglued” allowing the dead skin cells to slough off, making room for regrowth of new skin. Beta hydroxy acid is reported to improve wrinkling, roughness, and mottled pigmentation of photodamaged skin after at least 6 months of daily application.

Bio-Lift Facial: Our signature anti-aging treatment offers results so dramatic, your friends may suspect you’ve had a facelift! This combination of custom-blended serums and botanicals, with the advanced technology of non-invasive electrical current, is extremely effective in reducing the appearance of wrinkles, puffiness, droopy eyelids and sun damage, and restoring vitality and a youthful luster and contour to the skin. Have a little work done with none of the “work!”

Blackheads: are follicles that have a wider than normal opening. They are filled with plugs of sebum and sloughed-off cells and have undergone a chemical reaction resulting in the oxidation of melanin. This gives the material in the follicle the typical black color.


Chemical Peels: Procedural treatment consisting of the application of a chemical agent designed to rapidly exfoliate, or “peel,” the skin. The most common agents used for chemical peels include: glycolic acid, lactic acid, salicylic acid, trichloroacetic acid (TCA), and carbolic acid (phenol). Chemical peels range in strength from light to deep, depending on the agent used and how long it is left on the skin. The strength of the peel performed is dependent on skin condition and desired results.  Chemical peels are used to improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, sun damage, skin discoloration, mild acne scars, and some forms of acne.

Cleanser: Is the foundation of a proper skincare regimen. It better respects the skin than bar soap and is used to remove make-up, dead skin cells, oil, dirt and other types of pollutants from the skin of the face. This helps to unclog pores and prevent skin conditions such as acne.

Craniosacral Therapy: A gentle hands-on massage centering on the head.


Deep Tissue Massage: A type of massage designed to free congestion of the muscle attachments. Deep work brings about realignment of postural distortions and restores proper range of motion. Liberation of emotional tensions may also result. Muscle function and awareness are balanced, and elasticity is revived.

Detoxification: The process of cleansing the body of accumulated poisons often from over-taxation due to addictive behaviors.

Dry Brushing: Dry-brushing exfoliating of skin to remove its dead layers and impurities and stimulate circulation.  It increases circulation, assists the skin in excreting toxins, encourages healing, stimulates, helps lymphatic drainage, and sheds dead skin cells, all of which can improve skin texture and cell renewal.


eMatrix: This treatment offers a unique combination of ablation and skin resurfacing leading to wrinkle reduction, skin tightening and lifting. After one treatment you can see improvements in Wrinkles, Skin laxity, Scars, Acne Scars, Textural irregularities, Tone, and Superficial skin lesions. It is the most advanced technology with minimal downtime, and safe for all skin color and types.

Epidermis: The epidermis is the outer layer of skin. The thickness of the epidermis varies in different types of skin. It is the thinnest on the eyelids at .05 mm and the thickest on the palms and soles at 1.5 mm.

Essential Oils: Aromatic liquid substances which are extracted from certain species of flowers, grasses, fruits, leaves, roots, and trees. Used in aromatherapy, massage and facial products.

Esthetician: Also called skin care therapists, are trained in the cosmetic treatment of the skin. They perform various cosmetic procedures including facials, body treatments, and waxing. Offering a variety of specialty spa treatments.

Exfoliation: Peels away dry skin cells and removes deeply trapped secretions that impede oxygenation.

Extraction: Is a treatment done by an esthetician during a facial. Gentle pressure is applied to the blackhead, and the plug of oil and dead cells is carefully coaxed to the surface. Most estheticians use their cotton-wrapped fingers to extract pore blockages, although some use a small metal tool called a comedo extractor.


Facial: A three-step treatment for the face that is designed to cleanse, tone, and moisturize the skin.

Facial Mask: A facial mask is a paste or gel applied to the entire, already-cleansed face. It often contains minerals, vitamins, essential oils, and/or fruit extracts. There are different kinds of masks for different purposes: deep-cleansing, by penetrating the pores; healing acne scars or hyper-pigmentation; brightening, for a gradual illumination of the skin tone. Some masks are designed to dry or solidify on the face, almost like plaster; others just remain wet. The perceived effects of a facial mask treatment include revitalizing, healing, or refreshing; and, may yield temporary or long-term benefits (depending on environmental, dietary, and other skincare factors).


Glycolic Acid: An alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) derived from sugar cane. One of the most well-known and widely used AHAs, glycolic acid is used to smooth wrinkles, fade hyperpigmentation and sun damage, and generally improve the tone and texture of the skin. As such, it is often used in anti-aging products.

Gommage: A massage-like treatment using creams to cleanse and moisturize.


Hand and Foot Treatment: a spa treatment that includes a standard manicure and pedicure, followed by a mask to soften and smooth the skin.

Hair Removal: The process of removing unwanted facial and body hair.  Preferred methods are waxing, threading, and light based hair removal.

Hot Stone Massage : A bodywork that involves the use of heated and cooled stones (Thermotherapy) applied to the body in various ways to bring about relief to stiff and sore muscles.

Hyperpigmentation: Often caused by sun damage, inflammation, or other skin injuries, including those related to acne. People with darker Asian, Mediterranean or African skin tones are also more prone to hyperpigmentation, especially if they have excess sun exposure.


IPL Foto Facial: Addresses Rosacea (redness), spider veins, age spots, uneven skin tone and sun damaged skin. Reduces sebaceous gland activity and destroys active acne. The combination of energies of light and bi-polar radio frequency, offers a complete solution to the challenges of skin treatment with reduced overall required energy output enabling safe, effective treatment.


LED: Skin powered by positive light, a noninvasive light energy to deliver an energizing, stress-relieving and skin rejuvenating experience.  It addresses wrinkles, redness, and the signs of bad skincare habits.

Light Based Hair Removal: Finally effective hair removal for all skin types!  This innovative device uses and intense pulsed light for a fast, gentle and more comfortable treatment. This is the first technology to effectively remove hair of all colors including white and grey.  Semi-permanent to permanent results.

Lymphatic Drainage: Therapeutic massage that uses a delicate pumping technique to drain lymph nodes of water and trapped toxins.


Manicure: Is a cosmetic beauty treatment for the fingernails and hands. A manicure treatment is not only a treatment for the natural nails but also for the hands. A manicure consists of filing, shaping of the free edge, treatments, massage of the hand and the application of polish.

Massage: The manipulation of skin, muscle, and joints (usually by hand) to relax muscle spasm, relieve tension, improve circulation, and eliminate wastes. Over 80 types of massage are in use today. Various forms include: acupressure, athletic, polarity, reflexology, rolfing, shiatsu, sports, Swedish, traeger, and watsu.

Microcurrent (Facial Technique): A powerful and effective tool to aid in the battle of anti-aging by diminishing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, improve the texture and appearance of the skin, and reducing the overall visual appearance of aging.

Microdermabrasion: Also referred to as mechanical exfoliation or micro-resurfacing, is a cosmetic technique that uses a mechanical medium for exfoliation along with adjustable suction to remove the outermost layer of dead skin cells from the epidermis. It is a non-invasive procedure, which is performed in-office by a trained skin care professional.

Milia: Are tiny white bumps on the skin, especially on the face. They are often filled with keratin — a hard, white substance. Unlike blackheads or whiteheads, they don’t have an opening on the surface of the skin and often appear along the eye contour. Sometimes they disappear on their own, but often they must be removed by an esthetician.

Moisturizer: Recommended for all skin types and ages.  Moisturizers are a complex mixture of chemical agents specially designed to make the external layers of the skin softer and more pliable, by increasing hydration and reducing evaporation. Naturally occurring skin lipids and sterols as well as artificial or natural oils, humectants, emollients, lubricants, etc. may be part of the composition.

Mud Wrap: A treatment which involves the application or submersion of self into mineral-rich mud in order to detoxify the body, loosen muscles, stimulate circulation, and hydrate & exfoliate the skin leaving it with a vital, healthy glow.


Nasolabial Fold:  Are facial features commonly known as “smile lines” or “laugh lines”.   They are the two skin folds that run from each side of the nose to the corners of the mouth. They separate the cheeks from the upper lip.  With aging the fold may become more pronounced and become cosmetically undesirable. The most significant factors that contribute to the prominence of the fold are excess skin, skin thinning, and excess cheek fat.


Oxygenating Facial: (Topical Hyperbaric Oxygen Technology) Most often mistaken as just “The Oxygen Facial” however our system incorporates cutting edge science and technology with extensive research. The system delivers serums composed of antioxidants, amino peptides and nano-hydraters to the skin through oxygen to moisturize, and super hydrate the skin immediately – leaving skin looking and feeling younger with a firming visible lift!  The treatment is relaxing, soothing and suitable for all skin types. The benefits are extensive and the system or treatment is also widely used to support cosmetic laser and surgical procedures and visibly improves the appearance of several common skin conditions such as acne, rosacea, prematurely aging and severely dry skin.


P50: Our best selling product at Rescue Rittenhouse Spa!  The P50, P50V and P50W balancing exfoliators are the unique fruit of 30 years of reflection and experience. P50 balancing exfoliators speed up the epidermis’ natural exfoliating process and the reconstruction of the epidermal shield. The fortified epidermis can then fulfill its protective functions completely, enhancing skin’s self-regeneration potential. Lotion P50, our most famous and coveted product, is the keystone to Biologique Recherche skin care treatment. All Biologique Recherche skin care treatments, whether administered at home or in a beauty institute, start with the P50 ritual. It is applied in the morning and in the evening. It gently exfoliates the skin, regulates excessive sebum secretion, moisturizes and helps maintain the epidermis’ acid pH. It prevents and treats in-growing hairs, and is therefore ideal for pre and post shaving skin care.

Pedicure:  Is a way to improve the appearance of the feet and their nails. It provides a similar service to a manicure. The word pedicure refers to superficial cosmetic treatment of the feet and toenails and comes A pedicure can help prevent nail diseases and nail disorders.


Refirme: The Refirme skin tightening procedure, via wrinkle reduction, features revolutionary technology that enables you to comfortably achieve a more youthful, tightened and lifted appearance. Refirme treatment is quick, safe and has no downtime. Refirme is a complete anti-ageing solution for targeting those telltale signs of aging, including, jowl and neck laxity, sagginess under the eyes, saggy brow lines, and nasolabial folds.

Reflexology: An ancient Chinese technique in which specific pressure points (usually on the feet, but also on the hands and ears) are massaged in order to re-establish the flow of energy throughout the body.

Retinol: Is pure and active Vitamin A. It works to increase cell turnover and exfoliation by stimulating cell production underneath the skin. The acceleration of cell turnover caused by the use of retinol will encourage the exfoliation of these dead skin cells and allow healthier cells to appear. Skin will appear smoother, softer; pores will appear smaller and less noticeable; and signs of aging will start to diminish.

Rolfing: Bodywork technique that improves balance and flexibility through deep manipulation of rigid muscles, bones, and joints; intended to relieve stress and improve energy.

Rosacea: Often begins as redness or flushing of the face. Small, red, pimple-like bumps can form on the face, but unlike acne there are no blackheads or comedones. Capillaries may be visible on the skin, contributing to the red appearance of the face.


Salt Buff: An exfoliating treatment where the body is rubbed with coarse salt to remove the top layer of dead skin and stimulate circulation.

Seaweed Wrap: A wrap of concentrated sea water and seaweed which diffuses minerals, rare elements, vitamins, proteins in the blood stream to revitalize the skin and the body.

Sebum: Sebaceous glands produce a substance called sebum which is responsible for keeping the skin and hair moisturized. Sebum is a light yellow, oily fluid.

SPF: The sun protection factor of a sunscreen is a laboratory measure of the effectiveness of sunscreen — the higher the SPF, the more protection a sunscreen offers against UV-B (the ultraviolet radiation that causes sunburn).

Sports Massage: Massage of foundation tissues directed specifically at the muscles used in athletic activities. This is a deep muscle massage often used around the joints. It combines classical Swedish style with trigger points, compression and electro-neuromuscular techniques to reduce soreness.

Steam Room: Tiled room in which steam is generated at high pressure and temperature to open the pores and eliminate toxins.

Swedish Massage: A classical European massage technique of the muscles with special oils by therapeutic stroking and kneading of muscle tissue to promote stress relief. It is used to improve circulation, relieve muscle pain and tension, increase flexibility and induce relaxation. It combines three basic strokes to the skin: long, firm strokes; kneading strokes; and small circles. This is the most requested and one of the most enjoyable massages.


Threading: An ancient method of hair removal, a very delicate procedure, making it suitable for even the most sensitive skin. The art of threading may be seen in the gentle and precise twisting of cotton thread which is moved and twisted along the hairs, it is with this motion that the thread traps the hair and lifts it out of the follicle.  Threading is often more effective and less painful than tweezing or waxing; hair re-growth becomes finer and more sparse after regular treatments and the top layers of skin are not peeled or traumatized in the process. It is an excellent option for those who use Retinols or are allergic to wax.

Toner: In cosmetics, toner refers to a lotion or wash designed to cleanse the skin and shrink the appearance of pores, usually used on the face.  Toners can be applied to the skin in different ways: On damp cotton wool (most frequently used method), Spraying onto the face using a vaporiser, or by applying a tonic gauze facial mask – a piece of gauze is covered with toner and left on the face for a few minutes.


VelaShape: Body shaping treatments that use a powerful combination of radiofrequency waves, infrared light energy, plus vacuum and mechanical massage. The precise heating ensures an effective, non-invasive treatment with no downtime. During our VelaShape body shaping treatments, non-invasive light and radiofrequency waves break up layers of fat while our technicians visually erase surface effects with specially designed rollers. The process reduces fat cells, contours your curves and reshapes problem areas like your stomach, back and thighs.


Wrap: The body is wrapped in a warm cloth soaked in an herbal solution to eliminate impurities, detoxify the body, and induce relaxation.

Waxing: The removal of body hair with hot wax.