A facial is a multi-step, multi-purpose skin treatment including steam, face masks, exfoliation, cleansing, a face massage and a variety of creams and lotions. There are many types of facial treatments, and choosing the one you need depends on your skin type, skin issues and goals. Some are highly moisturizing, others are firming and restoring, while some focus on problem areas and certain skin conditions. Others just enjoy the relaxing aspects of a facial.
The Basic Steps of a Facial
Consultation A facial begins with a consultation. You will fill out a form with questions about your skin concerns, drugs and supplements you take, and products you are currently using and your expectations with your visit. Retin-A and other drugs can affect your skin and what kind of treatments the esthetician recommends. More commonly, the esthetician will simply ask about your skin concerns.
Cleansing Usually, the esthetician starts by wrapping your head with a headband to keep products off of it. The first step is thorough cleansing.
Analysis and cleansing Depending on whether you have makeup on, the esthetician will look at your skin under a magnification lamp first. She will cover your eyes and look at your skin. She is determining your basic skin type (dry, oily, combination, sensitive or normal) and skin conditions (acne, blackheads, whiteheads, aging, sun-damage, dehydration, etc.). The esthetician will then choose the appropriate products and treatments and consults with you about what she sees and recommends.
Steam Most facials use a machine that directs a thin vapor of warm steam to your face. This is relaxing and helps softens up any blackheads and whiteheads to be extracted. The steam helps the skin become warm to allow products to penetrate into the skin with ease. Also aids in helping some of the products used during your facial. If you have very sensitive skin, the esthetician may not use steam.
Exfoliation Exfoliating the skin uses mechanical or chemical substances. Mechanical exfoliants have a gritty texture that rubs away the surface dead skin cells. This type of exfoliation usually happens during the steam. Chemical exfoliation uses enzymes and acids to loosen the bond between skin cells. A gentle enzyme treatment can be done during the steam. Stronger chemical peels, which vary in intensity, can be a stand-alone treatment or part of the facial. It is not generally an "upgrade" and done in a series.
Extractions This is the removal of blackheads or whiteheads if you want it and need it. People have different pain tolerance for extractions. They can be uncomfortable, especially on thin or ruddy skin.
Facial massage using classic strokes like effleurage to both relax you and stimulate your skin and facial muscles.
Facial Mask A mask is targeted to your skin type (dry, oily, combination, sensitive, mature) and condition. During the facial, the esthetician should stay in the room and give you a scalp massage or some other service.
Final application An application of toner, serums, moisturizer, and sunscreen if it's daytime is given.
Advice on home skin care The esthetician will tell you how she thinks you can take better care of your skin and recommend products. Some feel uncomfortable with this step because it involves product recommendations, but it is part of the esthetician's job to help you with your skin care. The products you use at home will help you maintain the facial glow.