Paraffin wax is a mineral wax derived from petroleum, very soft to the touch and with a low melting point that makes it cool enough to immerse your skin in. It is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as a treatment to soften and smooth skin among other uses. Paraffin waxes have also been used for massage therapy as far back as the Roman Empire.
Today, paraffin treatments have become a popular treatment offered in spa and salons, as a luxurious addition to manicures and pedicures, in which hands or feet are dipped into a bath of warm paraffin wax to create a thick coating that will retain heat for several minutes. As the wax hardens, the paraffin's natural emollient softens skin while the heat opens the pores. When the cooled wax is pulled away from the skin, it also removes dead skin cells, leaving skin even visibly smoother. Paraffin is an excellent moisturizer because it forms a light waterproof coating over your skin that helps it retain the oils produced by your body. This "waterproofing" makes paraffin treatments great for soothing and healing dry, cracked skin -- particularly winter-worn hands and feet -- because it offers protection from external elements.
As if these were not enough benefits, other uses for paraffin wax treatment include sports-related injuries, arthritis and other rheumatic conditions, tendonitis, bursitis, sprains, and pulled muscles as well as other elderly health conditions [source: Sports and Physical Injuries Clinic].