In a world where, for better or worse, looks matter, we’re all trying to find tricks, tools and products to help us look our best. After all, it’s not just about how you actually appear, it’s also about how you feel, and one of the best ways to feel more confident is to flaunt glowing skin that looks as radiant as you feel. Once upon a time people swore up, down and sideways that a facial was a foolproof way to achieve a flawless, clear, and gorgeous complexion. But is that still the case? Are skin facials outdated, and do they even work to make your skin look its best?
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First of all, we need to discuss what a facial is and what happens when you turn your skin over to an esthetician. A facial is a beauty treatment for your skin, typically performed at a spa or dermatologist’s office, where your skin is surveyed by an expert, and they then use a number of different products, techniques and tools to remove dry or dead skin, balance and rehydrate your skin and prevent or cure acne, depending on your needs. Sometimes facials also involve extractions, which is when an esthetician removes blackheads or whiteheads that clog your pores. If it doesn’t sound entirely pleasant, that’s because it isn’t. But it’s also important. As Marie Claire reports, according to Yaffa Rabe, a master esthetician and skin specialist at Dorit Baxter Day Spa, “the skin is filled with oil that’s trapped in the pores—it’s not up to you to extract it…we’re supposed to nurse our skin, not be the doctor of our skin. When you look in the mirror you see the depth of the oil and you’re not trained to remove it. You could be causing damage that takes months to repair or does not repair at all.” In other words, your duty is to take care of your skin as best you can at home, on your own time. But when it comes to truly getting down and dirty to clean, cure and revitalize your skin, you need a little expert intervention.
And that’s where a facial comes in handy. A facial is an opportunity for a trained professional to help give your skin the love, pampering and boost it needs. Your esthetician will see what you can’t see (they have revealing lighting and super intense mirrors and magnifying lenses), and they will be equipped to treat your skin accordingly in ways you cannot manage at home. Between steam treatments, exfoliation, masks, blackhead extractions and more, your skin will get quite a beating in the best possible way. Think of it as tough love to achieve the glowing results you want. Because when it comes to facials, part of the fun is actually while you are in the treatment room, and part of the fun is when you get to enjoy the results of that treatment for weeks to come.
In addition to the physical benefits of regular skin facials, there are mental and emotional benefits as well. After all, some skin issues aren’t just a matter of how you care for your skin; they are also a result of stress and exhaustion. Think of a facial as a spa treatment in addition to a part of your skin-maintenance routine. Many facials include aromatherapy products to help set the mood, soothe your skin, relax your mind and relieve stress. Plus, for that time during your treatment—typically 30 minutes to one hour—your only focus is on your own well-being. No cell-phones, no emails, no responsibilities and no stress; just time for yourself to improve your energy, attitude and appearance. And don’t underestimate the importance of me-time; taking time to just be can improve your focus, help you unwind, increase concentration in other areas of your life, help with problem solving and boost overall happiness.
So while a facial is definitely good for your skin, and good for your mind, it’s also important to be a little skeptical about any advice you receive during your facial. Doris Day, M.D., clinical associate professor of dermatology at New York University Langone Medical Center says that while she is a fan of facials (as long as they are done by a licensed professional) it’s important to “enjoy the process, but take the advice with a grain of salt…think of a facial as a treat rather than a medical treatment.” At the end of the day, are facials a good idea? Absolutely yes. Consider this your excuse to go enjoy a little facial pampering today.