Your physician wants to see you for a yearly check-up, your dentist wants to see you every six months for cleanings……and your esthetician wants to see you regularly for facials. Facials have been written off as indulgent cosmetic spa treatments, but in reality they offer so much more than just an aesthetic boost. When you schedule a facial, you are booking an opportunity for your skin to be examined by a licensed esthetician, who can identify any existing skin problems and recommend products and skin care tips based on your unique skin type. Your skin is exposed daily to the environment, pollutants, skin products, stress, and hormone fluctuations, which all affect the face you present to the world. Just like regular dental cleanings for your teeth, regular facials for your face provide a deep clean that simply cannot be achieved at home with daily maintenance cleanings. Even if you have clear skin with no visible issues, a scheduled facial will deeply clean, rehydrate, and refresh your face. The experience will also allow your skin to be checked by a licensed esthetician, who can detect any skin care needs you are not meeting and offer solutions to keep your face healthy and clear year-round.
So what can you expect when you arrive for your first facial treatment?
- First, your esthetician will want to examine your face and discuss any skin issues you have. Make sure to report any and all skin problems you encounter, the types of products you use, the medications you take, any allergies you have, and if you are pregnant or not. These are critical pieces of information your esthetician needs to know, in order for him or her to avoid any ingredients that will irritate your skin or cause an allergic reaction. This information will also help your esthetician determine your specific skin type and the most effective treatments.
- Next, your esthetician will design a facial for you that utilizes the products, treatments, and ingredients that will most effectively meet your skin care goals. Not every facial is the same – your esthetician will formulate a treatment that uses a combination of masks, peels, creams, and exfoliators to match your individual needs.
Now that your esthetician has determined your skin type and skin care needs, here is what a typical facial treatment will include:
- Your facial will begin with a face massage. A facial massage activates the sympathetic nervous system (the system responsible for the fight/flight response) and softens and relaxes the muscles in the face. There are several pressure points which facilitate lymphatic drainage – lymphatic drainage clears toxins, fluid build-up, and puffiness from underneath the skin. A massage also increases circulation, thus ensuring that fresh blood and nutrients are reaching the skin cells in the face. Most importantly, a facial massage induces feelings of relaxation, decreases stress levels, and elevates mood. Stress is one of the leading causes of acne breakouts.
- Next, your face will be cleansed thoroughly. Steam will be used to open up facial pores and draw out the dirt, debris, bacteria, and dead skin cells that clog up pores and cause skin irritation and acne.
- An exfoliating agent will be used to slough off the top layer of dead skin that builds up on the face and causes skin to look and feel dull, rough, and dry. Exfoliation has numerous benefits: it removes dead skin cells to make way for new cell regeneration, which makes skin look brighter, smoother, and more even in tone. Exfoliation also increases skin’s absorption ability by clearing away the dirt and debris that clogs up facial pores and prevents hydrating and cleansing products from penetrating deeply. Chemical exfoliators are most commonly used during facials, because they are gentler than abrasive physical exfoliators.
- Your esthetician may use an extraction tool to draw out and eliminate whiteheads and blackheads, which form from bacteria, dirt, and oils that get trapped under the skin. Extraction tools are a safer and more effective tool than “popping” blackheads and whiteheads. The popping method can lead to damaging acne scars.
- If you are prone to breakouts, your facial may involve a chemical peel with salicylic or glycolic acid to treat acne and acne scars.
- Your esthetician may employ other carefully formulated masks, peels, creams, or lotions for the purpose of moisturizing the skin, brightening complexion, soothing and reducing the appearance of under eye bags and dark circles, and otherwise clearing the skin of damage from environmental toxins, the sun, and bacteria.
If you are able, schedule a facial every 1-2 months, to keep your skin looking fresh and well-hydrated. Choose a spa that is hygienic, has a good reputation, and employs experienced licensed estheticians to administer facials. During this treatment session, you skin will be open and vulnerable to new and unfamiliar substances and ingredients, so it is especially important for you to choose a clean and trustworthy facility. Make sure the esthetician is opening fresh, sanitary tools for one-time use at each session, and ask to have a patch test done on your arm before allowing new products to be used on your face. If you receive a facial at a spa that does not meet proper hygiene standards, you are at risk for infections and skin irritations. Most importantly, know that a facial is not a substitute for a solid at-home skin care routine. You should be cleansing, moisturizing, and applying sunscreen daily to keep your face clean and healthy.
Ready to get started? Florida Dermatology and Skin Cancer Centers recommends Ageless Allure Medispa for one-of-a-kind facial treatments that will rejuvenate your skin and revitalize your spirit – peruse the spa’s facial options, here.