Sometimes we just need a little pick-me-up. If your face is looking a bit dull, regaining a youthful glow can be as easy as an hour or so in the esthetician’s chair, and you’ll likely walk away feeling refreshed and relaxed all over.
“A facial is more of a ‘treat’ than an actual ‘treatment,’ ” says Erin Murphy, a medical esthetician at Aurora Medical Spa. A typical facial includes a relaxing combination of gentle exfoliation, steam, extractions of blackheads and whiteheads, and a facial massage to stimulate the skin and allow products to penetrate. Many spa facials also include a hand, foot and/or scalp massage.
“All individuals can benefit from routine facials,” says Kim Brooks, a licensed esthetician with Synergi MedSpa. “Each facial treatment is tailored to meet the needs of the client’s skin concerns, such as acne, dryness, aging, etc.” She adds that facials can be combined with microdermabrasion or a light chemical peel, which typically provides more noticeable results than a facial alone.
“Light peels penetrate the upper layers of the epidermis to improve pore size and texture of the skin with little or no downtime,” Brooks says. “Deeper peels can penetrate several layers of the epidermis, causing cellular turnover with visible peeling, improving fine lines, pore size, tone and texture of the skin.”
A light glycolic acid peel helps the skin glow and provides exceptional exfoliation without obvious recovery. However, peels that contain stronger ingredients do exactly what the name implies—cause the skin to peel, revealing a fresher, revitalized dermal layer. The peeling process can last a week or more, depending on the strength of the peel, so individuals may need to plan for recovery time.
Murphy notes that the most popular peel she applies results in three to five days of noticeable peeling, but the results are worthwhile. “It really gives you a nice glow,” she says. “Peels help treat everything from wrinkles, pigmentation, skin texture and acne scarring.” Repeat peels, done four weeks apart, often provide the best results, she adds.
A third popular option is microdermabrasion. “This is a good treatment for individuals with a build up of dead surface cells,” Brooks says. “The manual abrasion of these cells will remove them from the skin, causing skin to be smoother and appear brighter. This helps improve the skin's ability to absorb products.” Microdermabrasion involves two parts: an exfoliating material like crystals or diamond flakes combined with gentle suction.
“In addition, a new procedure gaining popularity is dermarolling,” Brooks says. “The medical roller uses very fine, surgical stainless steel needles to make channels into the epidermis and dermis to release growth factors that promote collagen growth. Dermarolling is effective in treating pore size, wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, rosacea and scars. Most clients require a number of treatments over several months with gradual results occurring over this time.”
Whichever treatment or combination you opt for, the process begins with a consultation in which an esthetician will analyze your skin and help determine the best treatments to meet your needs. Murphy adds that winter is the perfect time to treat yourself and reveal a glowing face in time for spring.