Understanding the Benefits of Facials

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Facials are treatments of the epidermis designed to enhance the look and texture of facial skin by cleansing, hydrating, removing dead skin cells, unblocking clogged pores, and/or tightening the facial skin. Facials can be as simple as using an old-fashioned recipe at home or as elaborate as a full day spent being pampered by a professional aesthetician at a fancy spa. The benefits of facials can go more than skin deep, though, providing a sense of relaxation and peace while enhancing self confidence and promoting a general feeling of well being. Here I will explain some of the different types of facials and the processes involved in them, and I will give you a few tips on making the most of your facial experience.

A facial can be a one step process or can involve multiple different applications. Each type of facial application has a different purpose and result. The first step in a facial, after routine cleansing, is the application of a facial rinse, or astringent, also called toner, which is used to clean excess oil and dirt from the tiny pores of the skin. In addition, to cleansing, the astringent tightens the facial skin. Most astringents contain some type of harmless acidic compound which draws the pores closed, resulting in a firmer skin texture. Popular recipes used in home facial washes include lemon or orange juice mixed with a small amount of mineral water and applied with a cotton ball to the face. Many name brand facial toners are available at most drug and retail stores and work on the same principle using a variety of natural or synthetic astringents.

A facial scrub is another form of the facial, usually used after the toner. The scrub’s main purpose is to remove dead skin cells, allowing the fresher, softer skin underneath to show through which gives the face radiance and a more youthful look and feel. Sugar scrubs are popular at home and are can be made simply by mixing some sugar (brown or white) into a small amount of olive oil, applying to the face in a gentle circular motion and rinsing with plain water.

A popular image when thinking of a facial includes a person lying down with a thick coating on the face and cucumber slices on the eyes. The coating on the face is called a mask, for obvious reasons, and there are many different types of masks for a wide variety of desired results. There are masks for deep pore cleansing, for firmer skin, for intensive hydration or for removing excess oil, among others. Some masks harden and peel off, mostly for the purpose of removing dirt and oil from deep within the pores, while others remain soft and are rinsed off, such as deeply moisturizing or exfoliating masks. And the cucumber slices on the eyes actually do serve a purpose by slightly tightening the skin around the eyes through the astringent properties of the cucumber!

The last step in a full facial is to moisturize. Moisturizers are chosen depending on skin type and add the finishing touch by further hydrating the skin for maximum softness and radiance. A moisturizer is generally applied sparingly and left to soak into the skin. A facial moisturizer should really be used every day, but no facial experience is truly complete without this last step.

Whether you pay for the full experience at a luxury spa or pamper yourself at home, you’ll feel the benefits of a facial long beyond the time it takes to have one. Soothing music, flickering candles and a subtle scent in the air will enhance your experience even further. Enjoy the lasting effects of rejuvenation and renewed self confidence that a facial can bring.

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