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Have Your Wine and Bathe in It, Too

I'm fascinated with the idea of vinotherapy, which is basically spa treatments that involve wine or grape extracts. Picture being massaged with fresh grapes, their skins and pulp reinvigorating your skin. Or being scrubbed with a mixture of grapeseed, honey and brown sugar. Or bathing in a giant wine glass filled with Merlot.

OK, that last scenario doesn't exist, but the first two are real. All you have to do is travel to Bordeaux to experience treatments with names like "premier cru facial," "Merlot wrap," and "crushed Cabernet scrub" at Caudalie Spa (or you could just book an appointment at the New York outpost, although the views won't quite be the same). The treatments are thought to defy aging by toning the skin with the antioxidants found in grapeseed polyphenols and the resveratrol from grapevines.

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And actually you can bathe in red wine, sort of, although it won't be in a giant wine glass, sadly. The "grape marc bath" is described as being enriched with gently exfoliating grape marc, which are the grape skins, pulp and seeds. Actual wine can't be used, as the alcohol will dry out your skin, but leftover grape gunk provides a more authentic experience anyway, don't you think?

But what if you're not Amare Stoudemire and don't have $550 to shell out for a weekly wine bath? Well, there are alternatives. Like this public version that can be found in what's billed as a hot spring amusement park in Hakone, Japan.

Photo by Amusing Planet

So do these grape-based treatments actually leave you looking and feeling younger, or is it all just a waste of perfectly good wine? It's hard to tell. There's been no scientific evidence to back up any of these claims, although Caudalie is so confident in their treatments that many of their products have been patented. Me, I think I'll stick with drinking my Merlot instead of bathing in it.

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