A facial has many stages and does more than just pamper.

Stages of a Facial

by Katherine Marko

Facials do more than just pamper: they rejuvenate tired skin, promote hydration, remove impurities and dead skin cells, smooth the skin and slow the signs of aging. Visiting an esthetic salon every six weeks for a professional facial allows an esthetician to target and treat specific issues such as acne, uneven skin tone, rough texture and wrinkles through the various stages of a facial.

1. Cleansing

Professional and at-home facials begin with cleansing to remove makeup, surface dirt and sebaceous oil from the face. During a professional facial, an esthetician will do an analysis to determine whether the skin is oily, dry, sensitive or combination and what products are appropriate for the skin type. Cleanser is applied to the face with cotton pads or sponges, and then rinsed to remove makeup and product. An esthetician may use a magnifying glass to inspect pores and skin type.

2. Exfoliation

Exfoliation removes dead skin from the surface. Steam may be used in conjunction with exfoliating to open pores and flush out dirt. Exfoliation is conducted through mechanical means. This process involves physical scrubs rubbed onto the skin by hand in a gentle circular motion. All skin types benefit from exfoliation. During a professional facial, microdermabrasion may be added for deep exfoliation. Microdermabrasion sloughs off the top layer of skin and stimulates collagen production. Tiny crystals blast the skin surface to reduce fine lines, wrinkles and lighten discolorations.

3. Extraction

Most salons offer manual extraction for blackheads and pimples. An esthetician may wear gloves or cover her fingers with a clean tissue or cotton pad. Light pressure is applied to the sides of a blackhead, coaxing it from the follicle. Some estheticians may use a stainless steel tool for quicker removal. A skilled esthetician knows how to extract blackheads and pimples to avoid pain and scarring, although each person has a different pain threshold, and those with thinner skin may feel more pain.

4. Massage

Facial massages stimulate the skin and encourage blood flow. During a professional facial, an esthetician will massage the skin to relax facial muscles around the eyes, lips and brows. Acupressure may be performed on various pressure points to encourage lymphatic drainage.

5. Mask

Various types of facial masks, such as hydrating masks, clay masks that minimize pores and tighten skin or masks that soothe the skin and reduce redness, are available at most drugstores and salons. During a professional facial, a mask will be chosen to accommodate your skin type and smoothed on the skin. Masks should remain on the skin for approximately 10 minutes. Once the mask is removed, a moisturizer and sunblock will follow to soothe the skin, leaving it refreshed and glowing.

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