Facials are done around the world on a daily basis. They are very important components of a good skin care regime, as a good facial corrects specific problems that one might have with your skin. NO facial is ever done in exactly the same way as all skin care therapists have their own personal techniques as well as product ranges that they use. These skin care product houses have specific steps that they would have a therapist follow in order for their active ingredients to work on the skin. Regardless of the product that is used, their are specific steps that a facial, done by a skin care professional, should include for it to be effective. It is important to remember that, even though you want to relax during a facial treatment, than the goal of a facial is to treat whichever skin condition one has, and can therefore be less relaxing and more therapeutic. Once your specific needs have been addressed during the first few facials, with you (hopefully) following the correct homecare routine, the facial will become more relaxing, whilst still remaining therapeutic as the conditions to be addressed will become more pronounced with every facial. The Facial Routine: The Cleanse: The cleanser that is used during the facial should be based on your skin type, not condition. Usually an all purpose cleanser/make-up remover is used first to remove all make-up from the skin. The therapist should use an eye make-up remover on the delicate skin around the eye and a different make-up remover for the rest of the face. A good eye make-up remover is formulated to be tear free and would contain a product such as corn starch for ‘de-stressing’ the eye area. One all make-up residue is removed from the skin, the cleanser will be applied with light circular movements onto the skin. As stated above, your skin type will determine the cleanser used. There are 4 basic skin types:
- Dry Skin will usually require a cream or milk based cleanser which will be a water in oil suspension. What this means is that the water phase will be less than the oil phase of the ingredients in the cleanser. This type of formulation will cleanse the skin without drying it, as the oil phase is enough to not strip the skin excessively as dry skins already lack oil.
- Normal skin will require that the cleanser used not throw out the balance between the water and oil in the skin. A milk/cream cleanser is also often used for this type of skin, however, this skin type can also tolerate gel cleansers that are not too harsh.
- Combination skins require a cleanser that is appropriate for the type of combination skin that you are dealing with. Combination skin typically means that the T-panel (forehead, nose, chin) of the face is different from the rest of the facial skin. The T-panel can either be oily, with the surrounding skin being normal or normal with the surrounding skin being dry. In the first case, a gel cleanser with a oil in water phase formulation will be best as you want to remove the excess oil, without drying the surrounding skin. For the latter case, you would preferably use a cleansing milk or a very mild cleansing gel.
- Oily skins require the use of a gel cleanser ( oil in water phase where the oil phase is very low) with an added ingredient to regulate the oil production. There are many of these ingredients on the market, so be sure to ask your skin care professional whether the product that is being used contains such an ingredient.
Cleanser should be removed with lukewarm water as the temperature of the water will further remove any excess oil on the skin as well as having a slight anti-bacterial effect on the skin as apposed to cold water. The exfoliation: This is a vital part of any facial as well as home care routine as it prepares the skin for any active ingredients that will be put on the skin after, by removing the dead skin cells that impede penetration of product into the skin. There are two different exfoliator types:
- Enzymatic exfoliators, which’s action works by the enzymes in the exfoliator breaking the bonds between the keratin fibers of the skin, which aids in the removal of these dead skin cells. These enzymes are derived from fruits such as papaya, pineapple and other tropical fruits.
- Granular exfoliators have micro granules in the formulation which remove the dean skin cells by the manual manipulation of the product on the skin. The most popular granules are synthetic spherical granules that have replaces granules such as crushed apricot kernel, which was not perfectly round and actually caused more harm than good.
I personally prefer an enzymatic exfoliator, activated with steam, than a granular exfoliator, as the enzymes physically only remove excess dead skin cells and no more, whereas granular exfoliators can remove too musch of the stratum corneum, leaving the skin exposed. Extractions: Extractions should be done directly after the exfoliation as the skin is ‘open’ and all dead impeding skin has been removed, which will aid in the lesions yielding more easily. Extractions should never be extreme and only lesions that are visible, such as pustules (pimlples with ‘yellow’ heads) and open blackheads. White heads (blind pimples), milia, macules and nodules should not be extracted as the bacteria in the lesion will be spread into the bloodstream as extractions of these lesions will cause bleading. The Massage: Massage is important for more reasons than just the relaxing effect that it has on the client. Massage stimulates the different body systems and facial massage is especially important as it stimulates the blood and lymphatic systems. By stimulating the lymphatic system, toxins are released from the skin, to help reduce adn prevent the signs of ageing. Stimulation of the blood system, increases the temperature in the area, which will increase the penetration of active ingredients into the skin Massage pressure should be light to medium as a very hard pressure can actually cause damage in the long run as the collagen and elastin fibers are pressed onto the underlying muscle and bone, which causes breakdown of these fibers. The Mask: Once the skin has been massage, it is ready for serums and or masks to be applied to the skin as the skin is at is most absorptive at this point in the facial. The Serum/ Mask should be chosen in accordance to your skin condition, not type. Skin conditions include, but are not limited to:
- Dehydration will be treated with a serum or mask that has moisturizing capacities. There is a difference between moisturization and nourishment. Dehydrated skins lack ‘water’/moisture and therefore need moisture to be reintroduced into the skin. Most skins have some form of dehydration, due to lifestyle and polution. Dry skins lack oil and therefore need nourishment.
- Couperouse is temporary or chronic redness appearing on the skin of the face. It appears as small, dilated, winding, bright red blood vessels on the cheeks, around the nose and sometimes on the chin. It occurs due to poor elasticity in the cappillary walls. A serum or mask with vasoconstrictive ingredients will be helpful in improving the red appearance as well as help stregthen the cappiliary walls.
- Sensitivity is a tricky condition, as all skins have some form of sensitivity. A truely sensitive skin will react to most active ingredients. A sensitised skin (as is usually the case) will react to some ingredients. A serum/ mask for a sensitive skin will have ingredients to build the resisdence of the skin
- Pigmentation is a condition in which the skin produces too much or too little melanin in any given area. (Pigmentation is descussed in more detail at http://www.ndi.co.za/?page_id=436). A serum or mask to treat this condition should contain high levels of L-ascorbic acid (Vitamin C), as it will actually inhibit the enzyme that causes the formation of malenin.
- Ageing occurs when the collagen and elastin fibres of the skin are depleted. This will result in the formation of wrinkles as well as skin sagging. A serum or mask for ageing will include ingredients that stimulate the reformation of these fibres. Ingredients such as vitamin A, collagen, vitamin C and acacia berry re very good at achieving these goals.
- Acne serums and masks should contain both oil reducing ingredients as well as anti-bacterial ingredients. A good example ingredient is tee trea essential oil and salycilic acid, which are both anti-bacterial as well as oil regulating. Again, vitamin A would be an important part of treationg acneic skin as it is a skin ‘normalizer.
Aftercare: The aftercare products that the therapists applies to your skin after the removal of the mask will be dependant on either skin type, condition or both. A good eyegel is applied to the eye area, followed by a serum for your skin type and then a cream is applied. Always ensure that an SPF is either in the aftercare cream/gel or that a sunscreen is applied over said cream/gel. It is important to remember that good skincare does not stop after the facial is complete. It is also important to keep up your good skin care regime at home to ensure that the benefits gained in the facial are continued at home.