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About Face: The Facts on Facials

Dec 16, 2007
A French massage text from 1907 describes a treatment invented by Dr. Jacquet which included a vigorous repetitive mobilization of the facial skin. Nearly a century ago, his method revolutionized skin care. Nonetheless, this method had certain disadvantages for the therapist (fatigue, reduced finger sensitivity) and for the client (discomfort and inadequate finger pressure). Today's facials are much less strenuous. After all, facials are not only meant to provide deep cleansing and hydration to the skin, the second-most popular spa service provides relaxation and rejuvenation as well.

A cosmetic treatment of the face, facials involve a variety of skin treatments during the hour-long procedure. After a light cleansing, an esthetician examines a client's skin through a brightly lit magnifying lamp. With a steam vapor directed at the face, the esthetician then begins the process of exfoliation, which removes dead skin cells from the skin's surface. Exfoliation is an important step in the facial as it helps to reveal younger and healthier-looking skin underneath. Exfoliation also provides rejuvenation to the skin and helps to prevent acne. Extreme cases of exfoliation, dermabrasion and microdermabrasion, actually remove the surface layer of skin by abrasion, or sanding. Both procedures are effective for sun-damaged skin or to remove scars and dark spots. Estheticians then extract blackheads if suitable for your skintype.

A facial massage follows to help relax the client and stimulate skin and facial muscles. Then, a rich mineral essential mask is applied to the skin. The type of mask varies according to skin type (dry, oily, combination, sensitive, mature). Afterward, the esthetician applies toners and protective creams to the skin.

Spas may offer different types of facials. The first, a Basic European Facial, is ideal for combination or sensitive skin. The deep cleansing and calming massage help to hydrate and purify the skin. A Mini Facial is ideal for someone who doesn't have a lot of time. The relaxing procedure cleanses and balances skin. It includes a natural exfoliation and stimulating massage. Renewal Facials is a great anti-aging treatment. For dry, mature, or damaged skin, the Renewal Facial retexturises skin, helping to elimated fine lines while evening out skin tone. Seaweed, a natural hydroxy acid is combined with alpha hydroxyl acids to exfoliate the skin. The result is fresher, supple-looking skin. An Oxygen Facial uses a mist of pure oxygen in part of its treatment, while the Acne Facial pays special attention to extractions.

Also gaining popularity, a Gentlemen's Facial is designed with the masculine skin in mind. The deep-cleansing facial addresses the needs of a male face, using products to exfoliate, cleanse, and relieve irritation from shaving, pollution, or environmental aggressions.

It's important to find a reputable day spa before making an appointment for a facial. Your esthetician should be a professional who has been trained in the field of skin care. Prior to beginning your session, the esthetician should wash her hands and have prepared an impeccably clean set-up. As the session begins, a good esthetician should inquire about your skin care regimen, and will provide advice on how to take care of your skin between facials.

Spa-goers also require an esthetician that will be responsive to any needs, especially as it applies to discomfort caused during the procedure. For the most part, facials are very relaxing experiences, so it's important any extractions are done without causing too much discomfort to the client. As with massages, a professional esthetician will follow your lead in how much chatting you want to do. During the facial, an esthetician may bring up any skin problems she has identified that may require a dermatologist.

Ideally, for those who can afford it, facials are recommended every four to six weeks because that is the time it takes for skin to regenerate. However, a facial at least four times a year can have great benefits as well. Most facials begin at $75 in a local day spa. However, they can be quite a bit more in larger cities, destination spas, and resorts. Specialized masks and serums can also increase the price. It's a good idea to speak to a spa staff regarding your skin type and needs prior to booking a facial.
About the Author
Geologix Inc. manufactures products using a proprietary formula featuring 34 natural minerals contained in the ancient sea water from the famous Michigan Basin -- a concentration of minerals higher than that found in any known body of water in the world. Mineral Essentials focuses on spa, skin care, and massage products to moisturize and provide anti-aging protection for great skin. Mineral Essentials, and Acheaway
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