There are so many different types of facials in the market that navigating the spa menu is like dining in a foreign restaurant. The names are exotic and its ingredients even more so. According to Dr Jessie Cheung, Assistant Professor of Dermatology and Associate Director of Cosmetic Dermatology at NYU Medical Center, treatments with gold, diamonds, sapphires and so on don’t do a thing for your skin. Oxygen facials which are immensely popular with celebrities are not worth the extra dollars and some people are even allergic to plant oils so organics are not for everyone either. So where do you start?
If in doubt, always stick to the basics. A facial starts with a light cleansing to remove surface dirt and bacteria. This is then followed by exfoliation and extraction of blackheads if suitable and finished off with a mask to sooth and in some cases, firm the skin. Regular facials aid in removing dead skin cells to keep pores clear and will help to minimise problems like acne. Depending on your skin, your beautician or aesthetician may then recommend specific treatment for it.
Keep in mind a few key treatments. For instance, alpha hydroxy acids, and you probably know this as AHA, are good exfoliators and beneficial for older skin whilst salicylic acid is highly beneficial for acne prone skin. Mature skin will benefit from the popular anti-ageing facials offered by salons. It is essentially a basic facial using ingredients which are suitable for the age range. Some may prefer to add a peel treatment to reduce fine lines, wrinkles and hyperpigmentation. Acne prone skin on the other hand may want to opt for intense pulsed light facial to help clear up the problem quicker. This treatment, also called photo-rejuvenation, is highly effective in reducing brown spots, broken capillaries and rosacea too.
If you wish to do this at home, there is nothing to stop you.
- Start with having clear access to your face, neck and décolletage by pulling your hair back with a headband.
- Use a creamy cleanser or eye make-up remover on a cotton pad to cleanse, starting from near your nose and then wiping gently outwards, across the eyelid.
- Repeat this action until all eye shadow, mascara and eyeliner is removed.
- If you wear lipstick, make sure the lips are cleansed with a cleaner too.
- Apply a small amount of cleanser to your fingers. Gently massage it into your skin in small circular motions. Take extra care to get the areas where there are creases such as between the eyes and the bridge of the nose, the hair line and décolletage.
- Wipe away the cleanser with a wet clean white face towel. You will know your face is clean when there are no traces of make-up on the towel.
- Exfoliate your skin with a gentle scrub. Apply in small circular motion and go over an area once only. Avoid the harsh scrubs with a very scratchy texture.
- Wipe away the scrub with the face towel.
- Apply a facial mask suitable for your skin type. Follow its instructions for length of time the mask needs to stay on and method of removal.
- Go over the entire face, neck and décolletage area with a clean cotton pad and toner to make sure all traces of the mask is gone.
- Apply a thin layer of moisturiser. Add sunscreen if you intend to go out in the sun after that.
Unless you are seeking specific treatment for a skin condition, do a facial on yourself or go for a facial about once a month for maximum benefit as your skin cells take that amount of time to regenerate.