Getting a facial every now and then has become very popular in recent years since it is a great way to pamper ourselves.  It also gives us a much-needed time to relax and calm our senses.  But I wanted to find out if my somewhat pricey facials were really doing any good for my skin or not, so I started researching some of the clinical studies and I was shocked at the result.  I want to share my findings so you can decide for yourself if getting regular facials is worth the investment or not.

Does stress cause skin aging?

It sure does…

Regular Facials Can Lower Stress Level And Improve Skin

As the largest organ of the body, skin is the primary sensing organ for external environmental stressors such as heat, cold, pollution, chemicals and toxins.  Our skin plays an important role in maintaining a barrier between the external environment and internal tissues; almost like front-line soldiers of the body…so there is no doubt that our lifestyle, daily stress level and our environment will have a direct impact on our skin.

Studies show that stress can be a main factor that causes acne (as well as a wide range of other skin disorders such as psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, contact dermatitis, erythema and alopecia areata)

This study measured the effects of 45 min of facial massage on the activity of autonomic nervous system, anxiety and mood in 32 healthy women…It was concluded that the facial massage can reduce psychological distress while activating the sympathetic nervous system. 

Regular Facials Can Improve Blood Circulation

A good facial session should start with steaming the face.  Warm steam helps soften the top layer of the skin which is mainly made up of dead skin cells.  It also helps loosen pollution and dirt trapped in our pores.  Researchers have also found that steam improves circulation, so it facilitates better delivery of oxygen and maximum absorption of key active ingredients and nutrients from other products.  Improved circulation and absorption keep skin cells healthy.

By receiving facial treatments in regular intervals, you can ensure deep pore cleansing and constant healthy blood circulation in your skin.

Ensures Constant Exfoliation, Extraction And Detoxification

As our skin cells age, they move up to the surface of the skin and die off…but they don’t always easily slough off on their own.  We need to exfoliate to help them in their journey to cell heaven (down the drain). :-) Dead skin cells left on the skin can make the skin look dull, patchy and rough.  It will also result in clogged pores, acne and poor moisture absorption.  A regular exfoliating routine will leave your skin looking fresh and healthy and expose the newer, healthier and glowing skin cells.  Exfoliating is a main step in a facial session right after steaming the skin.  Regular extraction of blackheads and whiteheads is necessary to prevent permanent scarring on the skin.  All masks applied after exfoliation help in detoxifying, cleaning and balancing the skin during facials.  I always use different herbal masks at home but these masks can be more effective when the skin is steamed and exfoliated.

Facial Massage for Lymphatic Drainage

During a facial session, we usually receive a face massage that feels amazing.  During the massage, parasympathetic nervous activity is activated, which helps you rest and slow down.  This massage might just look like a feel-good kinda massage but if you get the right esthetician who knows what she is doing, it can be even deeper.  She could be actually performing a lymphatic drainage.  Our lymphatic system is made up of lymph nodes and vessels that drain fluids from our body’s tissues.  The fluids carry toxins and other waste products to our lymph nodes so our body can eliminate them.  Lymph nodes are small, bean-like glands located in various parts of the body, such as our scalp, face, neck, groin and armpits.  A healthy and active lymphatic system does this elimination by using natural muscle tissue movements.  However, there are factors that can cause blockage and fluid build up in the lymphatic system.  When that blockage is in the face and neck lymph nodes, it will cause things like puffy eyes or swollen cheeks and jawline.  A good facial massage should focus on the scalp, face and neck lymph nodes in order to help lymphatic drainage.  Ask your esthetician next time to find out what type of massage you are getting.

Skin Peels Can Treat Pre-Cancerous Conditions, Acne And Acne Scars

Peels are usually suggested by estheticians during facials.  This is what I was most skeptical about.  I wasn’t sure if these peels do more harm than good.  In my research I found out that skin peels, along with other facial-resurfacing techniques, help prevent skin cancers by treating precancerous conditions such as actinic keratosis, which is an early stage of squamous cell carcinoma.  So, regular facial treatments can be a tool in your fight against skin cancer.  You just need to make sure the person applying the peel is an expert and knows what she/ he is doing.

A Korean study reported that patients treated with Salicylic Acid 30% peels saw an increase in the reduction of lesions.  Several studies were conducted to test Glycolic Acid peels (GA).  GA peel is the most common alpha-hydroxy acid peel, also known as fruit peel.  The result showed that this is a very simple, result-oriented, and cost-effective procedure for improving acne scarring, hyper pigmentation and melasma.

Light Therapy Can Help Many Skin Conditions

Light therapy treatments include using different colored lights for tackling different skin issues.  It is thought that the different wavelengths of LEDs can penetrate deeper into the skin and, when used consecutively, can be a powerful, yet gentle, anti-aging tool.  For instance, LED light therapy is a popular treatment that is used for strengthening the skin, reducing redness, killing acne-causing bacteria and stimulating collagen production among many other things.  Studies found that intense, pulsed light devices can reduce acne severity by up to 56%, infrared devices by up to 79%, pulsed dye laser devices by up to 49%, and blue-red light LED devices by up to 77%.  This is a very effective, yet gentle treatment with no or very little downtime if done properly.

Regular Facials Will Allow Deep Hydration of the skin

After deep cleaning, exfoliation, detoxification, lymphatic massage and peeling off top layer of your skin, our skin has the ability to absorb maximum amount of nutrients and hydration from the products applied during the following hours and days.  With the improved blood circulation, our skin cells will have the ability to be healthier and produce healthy new cells.
Finding the right esthetician and keeping up with our regular facials is the best way to delay skin aging and ensure a natural healthy glow on the skin.  Deep cleaning pores regularly and detoxifying will help shrink pores and tighten skin over time.  When we love our complexion, we don’t feel the need for heavy makeup applications to cover up the problem areas.  After all, covering up the problem doesn’t help the skin.  It is best if it is treated immediately before it turns into a bigger problem.   

Are facials for everyone? At what age should we start?

YES, teenagers need help too and all men and women can benefit from a regular facial.  In all my research, I didn’t find anything on the suggested ages for starting a regular facial routine.  It’s not breaking news that most of our skin issues start when we are teenagers.  Mainly caused by hormones and lazy – or non-existent – skincare routines.  Getting regular facials at an early age can help manage the over-production of oils that adolescents experience due to their fluctuating hormone levels.  It’s also a great way for a teen to learn how to care for their skin properly.  Facials are beneficial for the skin and they are not gender specific.  So as long as men possess this outer layer and largest organ called skin, they can benefit from regular facial routine.

It is important to find an esthetician who is experienced and well educated on skin in general and treating skin conditions.  You have to be able to trust him/her with the well-being of your skin and like his/her energy.  When you find one, don’t keep the secret to yourself.  Spread the goodness amongst your friends and those who you care about.
I would love to hear your thoughts and your personal experiences on routine facials.  Feel free to share them down below.