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What is a Facial?

Topics: Skin Care


Maintaining your skin’s health affects the appearance and the vitality of your face, a surefire way to keep you feeling youthful and revitalized. Whether you have dry, oily or acne prone skin, you may be the perfect candidate for a facial.

A facial is one of the most essential treatments of any esthetic skin care regimen. The esthetician uses a combination of therapeutic treatments for your face, including cleansing, extracting, exfoliating, massaging and moisturizing. How your skin responds to heat, stimulation, and exfoliation can tell an esthetician how to proceed with the treatment and even what to recommend for your skin care routine at home.

A facial always begins with cleansing your skin, which will remove makeup and impurities. If your skin reddens with the first cleansing, it may be sensitive or indicate a skin reaction called dermatographia, which literally means, skin writing. This type of skin reacts to every scratch or touch with redness and raised bumps. If you have dermatographia, you would not be a good candidate for manual exfoliation such as abrasive scrubs, microdermabrasion or treatments with extreme heat. If there is little reaction seen after cleansing, generally a more aggressive treatment can be performed. 

Next, your esthetician will begin to exfoliate your face. This will remove any dead skin cells on the surface of the skin as well as extract any dirt or clogged pores. Proper exfoliation will promote a healthy complexion. 

In most facials, extractions are performed when necessary, either manually or mechanically. Some estheticians use their fingers to manipulate skin and push the blocked pore up and out of the follicle. The steam and exfoliation soften and loosen the clogged pores so they are easily extracted without discomfort. When extractions are done professionally, there is very little risk of scarring or any permanent mark.

After your pores have been unclogged, your esthetician will stimulate your face by massaging your facial muscles. This will promote healthy skin growth.

A mask is typically applied after extractions. Clay-based masks are used for oilier skin types and hydrating-based masks are best for those that are drier. Some clay-based masks may contain acne fighting additives like sulfur, but even clay alone helps remove excess oil. The hydrating masks can contain beneficial antioxidants, along with humectants like aloe, beeswax, hyaluronic acid or honey.

Once the mask is removed, the skin is ready to absorb the next application. A corrective serum or moisturizer is applied to the entire face or specific area. A topical vitamin C is often used because it is needed for various healthy skin activities, especially collagen formation, but it is also a great topical antioxidant.