Skin has never been more in. Everyone is talking about a glowing complexion and how to get it from comprehensive skincare routines that border on religious, to vitamins, supplements and skin-focused diet regimens. And let’s not forget, drinking 8 glasses of water a day. But sometimes we all need just a bit of professional help. Sure, your toner-essence-serum combo does the job for everyday use, but when it comes to giving your skin a little extra something-something — that’s where facial treatments come in.
No longer reserved to a ‘once-in-a-blue-moon’ occasions, facials — and the spas and clinics that administer them — have grown in popularity, in part due to increased demand.
“Consumers are more skin-conscious and savvy now,” says Lori Beazer, custom cold laser technician at Consonant Skincare. “Social media has played a huge role in displaying the importance of how facials benefit your skin.”
For those uninitiated in the world of facials or if you’re looking to try a treatment out for the first time, we spoke to a number of expert skin therapists for everything you need to know.
Communication Is Key
The initial conversation between you and your skin pro will set the tone for your entire treatment. “The first thing is to let your skin therapist your skin concerns and what to avoid,” says Anna Koshevaia from the Hammam Spa by Cela at Bayview Village.
You want to make sure you and your skin therapist are on the same page about what you are hoping to achieve with your treatment — namely, that they prioritize the same issue as you.
If you’re getting a facial to address brightening and firming, then you might not want your therapist to zero in on issues such as sun damage or pigmentation instead. When your skin therapist is first becoming acquainted with your skin, be it through close examination or an in-depth skin analysis, they can give you a better idea of what you should be looking out for.
According to Lindsay Barras, education manager at Dermalogica Canada, “The skin analysis is an important part of your treatment that completely dictates what products are used, what modalities are used, and the at-home regime that is recommended following the treatment.”
“Sometimes, what we see and what you think you see might not always be the same thing,” says Koshevaia. “Definitely try to talk about your skin as much as possible so we make sure we fix what you want, and not simply what we, as professionals, might see.”
Also, don’t forget to let your skin therapist know if you have a big event coming up, and how far in advance.
Some treatments, such as detoxifying treatments or chemical peels can have some downtime (namely breakouts or redness) and you definitely don’t want that.
What Kind Of Facial You Want
Across the board according to our pros, the top three most commonly addressed skin concerns are acne, anti-aging, and brightening. Whether you’re looking to heal acne scarring, plump fine lines or tighten the complexion, facials can be tailored towards your specific needs and wants.
Most facials start off with a cleanser to remove dirt and makeup, and then follow with exfoliation to get rid of dead skin. While the type of exfoliation differs from, say, a scrub to an acid to a microdermabrasion machine, the intent is the same: to prep your skin and allow the next steps to penetrate for maximum results.
This exfoliation step is also why there are some red flags to watch out for before your facial.
“Retinols and acids should be avoided a few days prior to treatment,” says Beazer. Koshevaia agrees and goes further to say that waxing should be avoided one or two days before and after your facial: “This way, you minimize sensitivity and redness, since your skin can become over-exfoliated otherwise.”
There’s also the type of facial to consider: regular or high-tech.
Facials which use technology usually target the skin on a cellular level by stimulating cell turnover and skin regeneration. For example, the Cold Laser Facial at Consonant or the Freeze Clinic uses LED therapy that target the dermis layer to strengthen the skin from within.
On the other hand, regular facials aren’t necessarily less effective — they also focus more on the relaxation aspect. Regardless, the products administered by your skin therapist during a facial are professional grade, meaning the concentrations are higher than you would be able to buy as a consumer, thus the impact on your skin is greater.
Facials don’t replace a routine
Each of the experts we spoke to all agreed on one thing: a facial is not a one-hit solution.
“Just one skin treatment is not going to get you towards your skin goals,” says Barras. She likens the experience to going to the dentist. “You go to the dentist to get a professional cleaning, as you would a skin therapist to get a professional skin treatment — but you have to do your day to day maintenance every single day to be able to achieve your desired results.”
As to how often people should come back for treatments, it really depends on the individual.
Some people come for a set of 4 to 6 treatments every three weeks, others once a year. No matter what you feel works for you, as long as you’re committing to taking care of your skin.
Rather than replace a regimen, a facial treatment will work in tandem with your existing skincare routine.
There’s no point in getting a facial and then forgoing your toner-serum-moisturizer combo. “In fact, I would say that following a good skincare routine is about 80% of your success,” says Koshevaia.
Who’s to say that the famed 80-20 rule can’t apply to skincare as well?
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