To Have a Facial or Not – That Is the Question

HealthGal Health Guide
  • Or the question really is - in order to achieve a healthy, glowing countenance does a person need regular facials?  A New York Times article recently visited this topic in depth.  Apparently many people subscribe to regular facials, though they haven't done their due diligence to investigate whether or not these facials really do deliver specific benefits that would otherwise be difficult to achieve through self care.


    Talk to most aestheticians and spa personnel and they will tell you that facials need to be a part of a person's routine maintenance for healthy and radiant skin.  And typically there are dozens of 30 and 60 minute spa menu choices to help you empty your wallet while achieving the glow.  Many people are convinced that a monthly facial is actually a necessity, especially if you want to combat wrinkles and other aging ills.  Some experts feel that the average consumer expectation is unrealistic.  When it comes to facial's popularity - facials rank third behind massages and nail care.  The basic problem with this industry is that anyone can hang a sign out, and you run the risk that the level of hygiene and level of experience is not adequate, and frankly being talked into a growing list of treatments that you may really not need.

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    Some of the more recent entries into the spa world include oxygen facials that spas claim can "plump up skin - increase collagen production - regenerate new cells."  Another offering is a facial that uses pressurized oxygen to deliver hyaluronic acid deep into the face.  The problem?  There are no definitive studies that prove the efficacy of these treatments, and in the case of hyaluronic acid, dermatologists continue to discuss the difficulties of getting penetration of large particles through several layers of skin, in order to get targeted results.  Hyaluronic acid is one of those "large molecules."  There are also spas that offer "non-surgical face lift facials," that use fine electric currents to tone and lift facial muscles.   But do they really prevent aging?


    The reality is that just massaging the skin (which most of us can do with some cream and our fingers) is enough to stimulate blood flow and create a bit of "skin swelling" that can give the look of a refreshed and lifted face. 

    So what facial applications are worth the time and cost?

         •To remove the outermost dead skin cells you can undergo exfoliation, microdermabrasion or a glycolic peel.  If you choose a glycolic peel, stop any retinoid products about 5 days before the peel.

         •Salicylic peels can help to diminish sun spots

         •Individuals with acne may benefit from extraction of debris from pores (just be careful since a poor extraction can result in scarring or infected pimples).


    Many dermatologists will be up front with clients who request "anti-aging facials" and instead will offer fillers or Botox - both of which cost more than facials and both of which require regular maintenance for long term stabilizing anti-aging results.  Going to an aesthetician might be a good way to establish a skin care regimen that includes sun protection.  Dermatologists do suggest that a "one size fits all approach" is not the best way to get good skin care.  You should be assessed and then have products and skin care, even facials specifically tailored to your needs and skin conditions.  Otherwise you can actually end up with aggravated skin, acne or very sensitive skin that develops rashes and even hives from too many competing products

Published On: April 01, 2009