What is a facial? Why do I need one?
A facial is a professional cleansing, purifying, and beautifying treatment of the skin on the face and neck. Facials are the number one treatment performed by estheticians, and a good way for your therapist to get a good understanding of your skin prior to suggesting more aggressive treatments.
For most people, facials can be scheduled every four weeks, although your therapist may recommend a different schedule. There are many variations of facials based on different needs, as well as different lengths of time. A mini facial may be only 20–30 minutes in length, while a more luxurious version may be 75–90 minutes in length. Tell your esthetician exactly what you want to get out of your facial, and she will be able to recommend a facial to meet your needs.
What to expect
Facials are generally very relaxing and soothing. Your esthetician will explain to you what the treatment steps will be. Be sure to communicate with your esthetician during the facial if any product burns, itches, or if you need anything or have any questions. Otherwise, just lie back and enjoy the experience. A basic facial generally includes the following steps:
- Makeup removal and cleansing of the skin.
- Skin analysis.
- Exfoliation by mechanical, enzymatic or chemical means.
- Massage of the face and neck, to aid in relaxation and stimulate blood and oxygen flow to the skin.
- Extraction of blackheads and other impurities, either manually (using gloved hands and cotton or tissue around the fingers with gentle pressure to remove the impacted pore) or using a metal extraction implement designed to clear blocked pores. This can also include the use of a lancet (a small, sharp blade to lift the dead cells of the skin prior to extraction).
- Application of a serum and mask targeted to your skin type (dry, oily, mixed, sensitive, or mature), followed by a sun protection product.
After the facial
After a facial, your skin will probably be soft, smooth and well hydrated. However, if multiple extractions were needed or if you required a fair amount of exfoliation, your face may be somewhat rosy for one to two hours or more, depending on how sensitive your skin is. This is quite normal. You can apply mineral makeup after your facial if there is some redness you want to conceal.
What about home care?
Your esthetician will discuss professional home care products that will enable you to continue the improvement in your skin following your professional treatment. This way, you will be using products that maximize the benefits and prolong the effects of your treatment.
What is a chemical peel?
A chemical peel is an acid solution that is applied to dissolve the outermost layer of skin cells, which then sloughs off over the following days to reveal the fresher, younger layer below. Peels are highly effective in treating a large range of skin concerns such as aging, sun damage, acne, mild scarring, improving skin brightness and evening skin tone.
Peels can be light, moderate or deep. Light peels require no downtime from work and your normal activities. Moderate peels may require a day or two, and deep peels can require a week or more of downtime to allow the skin to fully heal. Estheticians who are not working in a medical setting perform light to moderate peels only. Deep peels can only be performed by a physician, or under a physician’s supervision.
Preparing for treatment
Most skin colors and types can benefit from chemical peels, though it is best to check with your esthetician about which peel might be right for you. If you’re taking acne medication, Retin-A or Accutane, talk to your esthetician and/or doctor about stopping the medication before and during treatment to avoid complications. Your esthetician can review any other contraindications with you prior to your treatment to determine if a chemical peel is right for you.
What to expect during a chemical peel
The skin is cleansed and a prep solution will be applied to remove surface oils and allow the peel to penetrate the skin evenly. Any sensitive areas that cannot be treated will be protected with a thin film of petroleum jelly. Your eyes will be covered to protect them. One or more chemical mixtures will be applied, such as glycolic acid (from sugar cane), trichloroacetic acid (similar to bleach), salicylic acid (wintergreen—good for acne), lactic acid (from milk), or a combination peel called a Jessners peel. The peel will be applied in 1–3 layers, depending on the depth of penetration intended. The acids react with the skin to produce a “controlled wound,” allowing fresh skin to regenerate and emerge. A tingling, burning or hot sensation is normal. Most peels remain on the skin only a few minutes, and are closely watched by the esthetician. A fan may help you stay more comfortable. After some peels, a neutralizing solution is applied to stop the peeling action. Other peels are self-timed and stop on their own.
After the peel
After most peels, the skin will be pink to red, and look shiny and tight. It is vital to apply sunscreen of SFP 30 or greater to the skin for the next 48 hours, minimum. You must also stay out of the sun, as your skin will be very sensitive to UV rays and could be damaged by sun exposure. The skin will begin to flake or peel within two days after the treatment, unless you had a lactic acid peel—these encourage moisture retention and may not produce any actual peeling. Sun-damaged areas of your skin will appear darker at first, then will lighten. This is normal. Deeper peels can produce peeling for a week or more. To assist in removing the flaking skin, an enzyme peel or light microdermabrasion treatment is sometimes scheduled a week or so after the initial peel. For maximum results, a series of peels is usually recommended, and may be necessary for treating challenging issues such as hyperpigmentation.
Thanks to the wonders of science and innovation by skin care professionals, you can choose from a wide range of anti-aging treatments. You need not have wrinkles or discoloration to actively participate in an anti-aging regime—many smart consumers begin caring for and protecting their skin at a young age.
Consumers today are opting for minimally invasive procedures to avoid downtime and the unmistakable appearance of having had surgery. People may notice after treatments with your skincare professional that you simply seem healthier, happier, less tired, and more confident.
Some anti-aging treatments your skincare professional may be able to provide are a wide variety of facials, chemical exfoliation, microcurrent, microdermabrasion, ultrasound and phototherapy (exposure to light-emitting diodes or intense pulsed light).
Who can benefit from anti-aging treatments?
Anyone who is smart enough to use sunscreen is already participating in an anti-aging regimen, and there is so much more you can do. Treatment recommendations will vary according to skin type and condition, chronological age and skin maturity, level of sun damage (everyone has some), and the goals you have for your skin. Your esthetician can outline your options and make recommendations.
What to expect
The results of your treatment may be obvious right away or may take some time to achieve. This depends entirely on your program and the methods used. Your skin care professional should be able to outline realistic goals for you. In some cases, skin is in poor condition and needs to be strengthened and conditioned before anti-aging treatments can be performed. If you are suffering from acne, dermatitis, or rosacea, you may have to set your anti-aging goals aside until you’ve cleared those symptoms. The good news is you may gain younger-looking skin as a side benefit of clearing and treating these conditions.
What about home care?
Your esthetician can provide the best guidance on caring for your skin after a treatment. She may have products available for your use. It’s key to commit to a home care regimen in order to maximize your investment in the treatments your esthetician provides.
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