The Importance of a Facial

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Clients frequently ask me certain questions.  One of the inquiries that comes up a lot is, “what is the importance of a facial?”.  The answer…A LOT!  Facials…I’m sorry…good facials are one of the most powerful weapons in your anti-aging arsenal.  Regular facials will help to keep your skin exfoliated, hydrated and looking fresh.  A well-done facial should include the following steps:

  • Cleansing- by properly cleansing your face, your esthetician will remove all make-up and surface pollution.
  • Toning- toning your skin will help to re-establish its natural pH-balance.
  • Exfoliation- proper exfoliation is paramount to a good facial.  By removing dead surface cells your esthetician will be able to reveal a brighter, fresher complexion.  Additionally, the removal of dead cells will enable the proper absorption of products to your skin.  Exfoliation can be achieved through manual means (i.e.- scrubs or gommages) or through chemical means (i.e.- peels).  Personally, I incorporate BOTH of these methods into all of my facials; there is nothing like a double-exfoliation to make your skin glow gorgeously!
  • Steam- believe it or not, steaming your skin is one of the most inessential parts of your facial.  No, steam does not “open up” your pores.  Steam feels nice and a lot of clients don’t feel as if they’ve had a proper facial without being steamed.  So what exactly does steam do?  It can help to activate certain products and it can help to soften the skin up a bit before extractions.  Also, when used for the appropriate length of time, steam can be hydrating.  WARNING: over-steaming can have an adverse affect on your skin.  Generally, steaming in excess of 10-minutes or so (unless done so as to purposely activate a specific product) can actually dehydrate your skin!
  • Extractions- extractions are an important piece of the facial.  This is where your skin undergoes the “deep-pore cleansing” process.  Your esthetician will go over your skin and will remove all of your blackheads.  IMPORTANT: this process should be performed by hand.  NO tools should ever be used for the purposes of extraction as they will greatly increase the odds of permanently scarring your skin (this means no metal loop extractors…which, by the way, are illegal to use during facials in NYS)!  *If you own a metal loop extraction tool, may I suggest getting rid of it.
  • Massage- massage is a KEY element of your facial.  Not only should the massage portion of your facial feel amazing but it has numerous other benefits for your skin.  Ideally, you should not be receiving a facial massage with whatever generic product is lying around the treatment room; your esthetician should be hand-selecting the products used on your face for your skin and its current needs.  Massage helps to relax the muscles beneath the skin which, in turn, will make your skin appear smoother.  Additionally, massage stimulates the flow of blood and lymph; this helps to oxygenate your skin and to carry away toxins.
  • Mask- the facial mask is a lovely portion of the facial, which many of us do not have the time to do at home on a regular basis.  Despite my best intentions, I RARELY ever find the time to do a facial mask at home!  Different masks net different results, so again your esthetician should hand-select your mask based upon your skin’s current needs.
  • Final Hydration- no facial is complete without the application of a high-quality, hand-selected eye cream and day cream.

Now, are these all of the steps to every professional facial?  Of course not.  I myself do incorporate a number of additional steps into all of my facials; however, these are the absolutely essential steps which should be performed in any facial.  Typically when a facial is done well you should not be too red or blotchy afterwards.  Also, you should not break out following a facial (this is one of the most long-lived ‘old wives tales’ in the history of facials)!

Having regular facials will play an important role in helping your skin to age as gracefully as possible.  With that said, it is very important to note that facials are meant to “super-boost” your home care regimen.  If you abuse your skin (via: smoking, drinking excessively, tanning or continuously eating crap) then you cannot reasonably expect a monthly facial to save your face.  An experienced esthetician should educate you about your skin and how to take proper care of your complexion at home.  Personally I always tell my clients that their home care regimen is the most important piece of the puzzle.  Ultimately, you will get more “bang for your buck” by having facials done seasonally and using high-quality professional products at home daily than you will from having monthly facials and using poor-quality products at home.

The bottom line?  Budget yourself wisely and stretch your dollar to net your best results.  Invest in high-quality products for home use on a consistent basis.  Have professional facials done when you can.  Take care of yourself properly (eat well, get proper sleep, stay out of the sun, don’t smoke and go easy on the booze) and you will look good for your age.  That is the truth.

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