One of the most frequent questions I get asked is whether there are any benefits to facials. I can answer based on my experience with having oily, acne prone skin from the onset of puberty. As a teen I knew nothing of facials, I heard about them only when I started working in my early twenties.
After my first facial I immediately noticed an improvement in my skin. I had tried antibiotics, prescription topical treatments and other over the counter medications. Some of these helped for as long as I was taking them. I continued to have regular facials and my skin has improved from being excessively oily and pimple-ridden to being smoother and much less oily.
Seeing the difference in my skin is one of the reasons I decided pursue a career in aesthetics to help others look and feel better.
Let us take a look at the different components of a facial and discuss the benefits of each stage to take some of the mystery out of the process.
This is a key stage in the facial process. The aesthetician must examine your skin and there are two popular tools for doing this, the magnifying lamp and woods lamp. The magnifying lamp gives you clues as to the person’s skin type. The presence of open pores, whiteheads and blackheads may indicate oilier skin types, whereas invisible pores and surface dehydration may indicate skin of a drier nature.
The woods lamp exposes conditions which are not visible to the naked eye. It is a diagnostic aid to determine if someone has a fungal infection on their face or scalp. It also reveals the early signs of sun damage which are not visible to the naked eye. Normal skin will not fluoresce or shine under the ultraviolet light.
Once the correct assessment is made of your skin and information on your lifestyle and medical conditions are obtained, the aesthetician can follow through with the proper treatment.
After cleansing, your skin will be exposed to steam from the facial steamer. This is a process many find relaxing and soothing, but it has other benefits. The steam helps to open the pores and detoxify them. Sometimes ozone is added to the steam which helps to disinfect the skin, a great option for the acne prone skin type.
The steam also prepares the skin for extraction, allowing for safer extraction.
Dr. Marilyn Suite notes that “for patients with acne who have persistent blackheads despite appropriate acne treatment, careful extraction of these without breaking the skin is useful.”
This is the part of the facial everyone usually hates! But are extractions necessary? Extractions are not always necessary. If you are blessed with normal skin free from any whiteheads or blackheads you do not need to have extractions done. If you are averse to extractions communicate this to your aesthetician.
Enzyme peels digest dead skin cells on the surface of the skin to allow for easier extractions. So the peel in addition to your steam, make the process easier. Usually the extraction phase should last no longer than five minutes. If there are additional extractions to be done they can be done a few weeks later at your next facial. Sometimes it is not possible to remove all of the blackheads or whiteheads at one time, since some of them may need time to come closer to the surface.
For those of you, who perennially have their hands on the face picking and squeezing at their pimples, professional extraction is a much better solution.
Remember when you pick at your skin with your dirty hands and nails you are introducing bacteria into the pores which contribute to inflammation and scarring.
High Frequency Treatment
This treatment uses a high frequency current which creates warmth in the body tissues and stimulates nerve endings. The benefits are increased blood circulation, healthy cell functioning and the promotion of skin healing.
At some point during the facial you will have a massage which leads to smoother, firmer and healthier skin. There is also lymphatic massage which can help to drain any retained fluids from under the eyes to reduce under eye puffiness.
Afterwards, the aesthetician will apply a mask or ampoule appropriate for your skin’s needs.
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