Which facial care treatments are available and which should you choose?
Every high street boasts a host of facial care treatments promising younger, fresher, problem free skin. But which is right for you and where should you have it done? This is obviously a very individual choice.
Where is the easiest to address. Whether the treatment is to be given at a salon or spa or by a mobile therapist you should be able to discuss what a treatment involves, its effects and benefits. Consider, is the venue inviting? Is the therapist well qualified and professional? Would you feel happy to spend time and money with this person? If not, go elsewhere.
Next, does treatment address your concerns? If you are worried about blackheads, an anti-ageing facial is unlikely to help. Below I have given a guide to some of the most common treatments available and whom they might benefit.
The first treatment to discuss is obviously the facial. The facial treatment should cleanse the skin, remove dead skin cells and prepare the skin for further products. This, however, is where they begin to differ. The prices will vary hugely, depending not only on the venue but on the cost of the products used. They usually start at around £30 and can go into the hundreds. I know of one facial which incorporates a mask of gold leaf… hardly surprisingly it costs £120.
Facials have varying aims such as deep cleansing or anti-aging and are often tailored to the client. Some of them might be express treatments concentrating on one area, such as the eyes. They can differ in treatment and product. The therapist will usually advise your choice of treatment and product selection based on a consultation and examination of the skin. Commonly, they will also recommend products to purchase for home facial care treatments on which they will probably receive a commission. It is in their professional interest for you to get good results, and will be well-informed, so it is worth asking their advice if you have enjoyed the treatment.
You might wonder, if you are doing a regular facial at home, why should you pay for a treatment? Firstly, it is wonderfully relaxing. It will often include a neck massage which is where most of us carry a lot of tension as well as aiding drainage helping to remove toxins and puffiness. This is difficult to replicate on yourself. The eye area is particularly poorly drained which is why we get dark circles and bags. The massage will therefore ease these symptoms. Facial massagers are intended to have the same effect, however, since the eye area is so delicate I wouldn’t recommend using them there. Spa style treatments such as hot or cold stone treatments may also be available with a range of added benefits.
I would recommend a facial to anyone, teenage and upwards, yes, men too! Your therapist will guide you, but whether you can have regular treatments or a one-off treat, this will be worthwhile.
For very dull complexions microdermabrasion is now common. Your skin has a protective surface layer of cells, the epidermis, which are renewed constantly. The bottom, germinating layer, is where new cells are produced and each new cell pushes the older ones nearer the top. As they rise they become hardened by keratin which protects skin. As the cells harden they die but if they do not come away from the skin’s surface it can form a dull layer. Microdermabrasion abrades the top layer of the skin, usually by blasting it with a fine crystalline powder, thus freshening the complexion. It can also, therefore, reduce the appearance of age spots and wrinkles. Treatment costs tend to vary between £75 to £300 per treatment. However, a course will usually be recommended and you may be offered a discount if you block book.
There are a number of home microdermabrasion systems available but they vary in effectiveness. I personally feel that this treatment should not be over-used and should preferably be given by a professional. This is a protective layer and I do not think it is ideal to remove it repeatedly.
More aggressive treatments than this are dermabrasion and chemical peels. These are quite drastic treatments, taking time to recover from. You will not find these treatments in a regular salon or spa, and they are the remit of cosmetic surgeons. Dermabrasion literally scrapes the surface of the skin away and a chemical peel removes it with acid. They are best suited to those suffering from scaring, or some other particular skin problem, if you want general anti-ageing and freshening then microdermabrasion would be more suitable. As these treatments are cosmetic surgery the prices will be given on application and will vary widely.
There are also a range of electrical treatments. Some of these are a kind of massage, others put electrical impulses through the facial muscles (in effect a facial muscle workout). Some people swear by these treatments. One of the most important things to remember, however, is that it will take a course of these treatments to be effective, and they will need to be continued in order for the effect to remain. You don’t tone up the first time you go to the gym, and if you stop the muscles slacken again. A facial treatment of this kind will usually start at around £40.
Other treatments you may come across regularly are injectables such as Botox and Restylane. Botox has hit the headlines over the last few years, and most people can tell you that it gets rid of wrinkles. Restylane has sat more quietly but is also intended to reduce the appearance of wrinkles. They work quite differently. Botox is purified bacteria (from the botulism family) which inhibits the chemical which makes the muscle contract. It thus makes the muscle weaker, so it is less contracted and the wrinkle is therefore not so deep. It was developed for medical purposes and this anti-wrinkling is a side-effect.