The whole idea of getting a facial is to maintain healthy skin, keep it clear and revive it. But sometimes, indulging in a facial can leave your skin worse off than when you went in. It doesn’t happen all the time, but it if your skin care expert does any of the following, your skin may not like it and freak out.
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The treatment isn’t customized to your specific needs and concerns.
According to aesthetician Lori Anderson, when the client chooses a facial from the menu, which may not be suitable for their skin type, the facialist is actually doing a disservice to their skin. “Customized facials are more effective.” That way your skin is tended to in a more precise way and anything that it doesn’t require is omitted.
Sensitive skin is overexfoliated.
A key step in any facial is exfoliation. Without it, dead skin cells get trapped on the surface leading to dullness, dryness and exaggerated lines and wrinkles. But, when skin is sensitive, Anderson says the aesthetician should first evaluate the skin and ask about at-home exfoliation routines, too. Overexfoliating sensitive skin can bring about a whole host on unwanted side effects long after the facial is over.
The wrong ingredients are used.
This goes back to the whole idea of doing a customized facial. Your skin needs to be treated with the right ingredients and products so that it isn’t left inflamed, irritated and red or on the verge of a breakout. “If too many products with essential oils or active ingredients are used on a client with sensitive and/or overprocessed skin, it can be a disaster,” says Anderson.
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A steamer is used too close to your skin.
As celebrity aesthetician Susan Ciminelli explains, a steamer and a magnifying lamp are crucial pieces of equipment in a facial. “The steamer should be positioned about 10 inches away from the skin so that it does not burn it.” Steam helps to soften the skin and prepare it for extractions, making the process fairly comfortable. But if the skin isn’t steamed long enough or if it is too close to the skin, anything being extracted from the skin may not easily come out, and if your facialist starts digging aggressively, skin can become hyperpigmented and inflamed. “The skin always needs to be cleansed again after extractions because during extractions bacteria and unwanted impurities on the surface of the skin are released,” says Ciminelli.
All tools need to be sterilized.
Any tools and equipment—this even includes sponges and towels—need to be impeccably sanitized. “If sponges are used, they need to be put into a solution of bleach and cleaning liquid and then put into a sterilizer before each client,” says Ciminelli. This prevents any bacteria from being spread. Anderson adds that even though towels need to be thoroughly washed, they shouldn’t be washed in fragrant detergents or dried with fabric softener or dryer sheets, which can aggravate some skin types.
If your skin is extremely broken out, skip the facial.
Instead of having a facial, Ciminelli says lymphatic drainage massage from head to toe followed by herbal body wraps to detoxify the liver and kidneys may be more effective for severely blemished skin. “In the early ’90s, John Casablanca, the owner of a modeling agency, sent Cindy Crawford to me because she had stubborn acne in two areas of her face. She had seen a famous dermatologist at the time but he could not cure her,” she says. “I took one look at her and knew which organs needed cleansing. Instead of giving her facials, for a few weeks I gave her lymphatic drainage massages followed by seaweed body wraps until her insides where clean and her acne went away. Only after these treatments were successful did I start giving her facials.” Identifying the root of the acne is important in clearing up the skin.
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