The Basic Steps of a Facial
Consultation. A facial should begin with a consultation. You might fill out a form with questions about your skin concerns, your diet, stress level, lifestyle, how much water you drink, which drugs and supplements you take, and products you are currently using. Retin-A and other drugs can affects your skin and what kind of treatments the esthetician recommends. More commonly, the esthetician will simply ask about your skin concerns and if you are using any prescriptions topicals.
Cleansing. Usually the esthetician starts by wrapping your hair with a towel or headband to keep product off of it. The first step is thorough cleansing, using the hands, cotton pads, esthetic wipes or sponges. A double-cleanse is usually done.
Skin Analysis. The esthetician might look at your skin under a bright lamp first, or covers your eyes and looks at your skin through a brightly lit magnifying lamp. She is determining your basic skin type (dry, oily, combination, sensitive or normal) and skin conditions (acne, blackheads, whiteheads, aging, sun-damage, dehydration, etc.) The esthetician then chooses the appropriate products and treatments, and consults with you about what he or she sees and recommends.
Steam. Most facials use a machine that directs a thin vapor of warm steam to your face. This is relaxing and helps softens up any blackheads and whiteheads to be extracted. If you have very sensitive skin, the esthetician may not use steam.
Exfoliation using a mechanical or chemical exfoliant. Mechanical exfoliants have a gritty texture that rubs away the surface dead skin cells. This type of exfoliation usually happens during the steam. Chemical exfoliation uses enzymes and acids to loosen the bond between skin cells. A gentle enzyme treatment can be done during the steam. Stronger chemical peels, which vary in intensity, can be a stand-alone treatment or part of the facial. It is generally an "upgrade" and done in a series. It is not done with steam.
Extractions. This is the removal of blackheads and/or whiteheads. People have different pain tolerance for extractions. They can be uncomfortable, especially on thin, sensitive, sensitized, recently resurfaced or ruddy skin. Extractions can cause broken capillaries and discoloration if done improperly.
Facial Massage using classic strokes like effleurage to both relax you and stimulate your skin and facial muscles.
Facial mask targeted to your skin type (dry, oily, combination, sensitive, mature) and skin condition (eczema, acne, psoriasis).
Final application of toner, serums, moisturizer and sunscreen if it's daytime.
Advice on home skin care. The esthetician will recommend the appropriate products for daily maintenance for optimal skin health according to your skin type and condition.