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What happens in a facial?

Let's face it, there are an abundance of facial products and treatments on the market all promising that they can fix your skin concerns. You would need to have some serious expert knowledge to filter through what works and what doesn't but, it's true to say that most of us will regularly wash our faces. Some will use expensive products, some will use facial wipes and some will use old fashioned soap and water. But, whilst most of us will do this without a second thought, how many of us will treat ourselves to regular facials?

There are tonnes of facial treatments on the market but let's just focus on traditional facials to keep things simple.

A traditional facial will usually consist of a consultation to discuss your skin concerns and a visual assessment so that the therapist can better understand what it is your skin needs and what, if anything there is to treat. He/she will be looking for dehydration, a very common skin complaint that the lay person may fail to spot. As this is particularly common many facials will focus in part on giving the skin a good boost of hydration. This doesn't mean just splashing water on the face which can actually exacerbate the problem with TEWL (trans epidermal water loss).

The therapist will also be looking at the skin's texture, elasticity, if the skin is congested, oily or shows any signs of dryness. Other things that will be of interest are any sensitivities, rosacea, redness, broken skin etc. In fact there is so much to check for that the therapist will be making continuous observations.

Once the therapist has built a clear picture of the skin type and skin conditions, they are then able to recommend the best course of treatment.

Now in a regular facial the skin is likely to be cleansed twice, once to remove any make up and surface grime then secondly as a more thorough cleanse to remove any residue. At this point the therapist may make a hands on assessment, looking for those skin conditions and feeling for texture and elasticity.

The next step is usually exfoliation. If this isn't something you normally do at home then you will be surprised by how much of a difference it makes to the texture and clarity of the skin. The aim is to remove the dead skin cells that sit on the surface which can make the complexion appear dull, prevent efficient absorption of product and leave makeup looking patchy.

Toners are sometimes used in facials. They can either be wiped over the face on cotton pads or spritzed over the face. They are sometimes used as another way to remove residue from the skin and to boost hydration levels so the skin isn't left feeling tight.

Following on, the therapist may carry out a facial massage. Oils, creams or balms may be applied to the face and neck whilst the therapist performs a massage routine which may consist of deep kneading at the neck and shoulders to relax tense muscles, lymphatic drainage to help eliminate toxins which can stagnate and make the skin appear dull or the massage may be based on a series of lifting techniques to stimulate blood circulation in order to encourage collagen production to aid a more youthful appearance. Whichever massage techniques are used,

it is usually a very relaxing and soothing part of the facial and quite often a challenge for the client not to fall asleep.

After the massage a mask may be applied. These come in a variety of different formulations and are often selected for your skin type and conditions. The mask may be a cream mask or a clay mask which may set hard on the skin and is usually left on for up to 20 minutes. Whilst the mask is on you may experience a very relaxing scalp massage, hand and arm massage, perhaps even a foot massage, all designed to help you relax.

Once the mask is removed, toner may be reapplied followed by serums which deeply penetrate the skin to improve a number of skin concerns such as dehydration or pigmentation. After this a suitable moisturiser may be applied to help with surface hydration and completed with SPF to provide the skin with sun protection.

Not only should your skin feel absolutely amazing but hopefully you will feel completely relaxed. It's these results and the euphoric feeling after this treatment that sees clients become hooked and a regular patron of the facial salon.

If you have never tried a facial then you are seriously missing out. There is nothing to be anxious about and if you tell your therapist that you are unsure what to expect he/she is likely to put you at ease immediately. A facial is something to truly enjoy and we should all do more of it.

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