Going to the spa can sometimes be intimidating as there are so many facial treatment options on the menu. What do all these terms: Retinol, Collagen, Antioxidant, microdermabrasion serum, mean? It can get so confusing and you may not understand the benefits for your skin type. A basic facial usually involves cleansing the skin, exfoliating dead skin cells, extraction of whiteheads and blackheads, applying a face mask, infusing a serum into the skin, application a moisturizer and finally finishing with a high SPF sunscreen.
Cleansing removes dirt, excess oil, pollution and unwanted skin cells off of your face. It is the first step of all skincare routines and is beneficial in a number of ways. If not cleansed properly, dirt and pollution accumulate at the surface of your skin and could potentially contribute to breakouts, dehydration and ageing.
Your skin produces sebum naturally as a layer of protection. While sebum is beneficial to your skin, not cleansing can cause build up, enlarged pores and create a blockage of skin follicles, trapping sebum and allowing bacteria to penetrate the skin, which leads to inflammation, acne, and a blotchy complexion.
Cleansing is also an important factor to maintain and boost the level of moisture. Dehydrated skin looks and feels rough, wrinkled and aged. Cleansing helps manage pH levels of the skin, enabling sufficient water and product retention.
If not cleansed properly, your skin would be covered with a thick layer of dirt which makes it difficult for the active ingredients to penetrate the skin. Clearing out your pores will prepare your skin for the absorption of skincare products and makes it more receptive to treatments to follow such as exfoliators, masks, serums and moisturisers, for maximum effectiveness.
As we age, cell turnover slows down causing uneven build up on the skins’s surface, resulting in a dry, rough and dull appearance. Exfoliation is beneficial because it removes those cells revealing the fresher, younger skin cells below.
There are two main types of exfoliation: mechanical and chemical. Mechanical exfoliation involves removing the dead skin cells with some kind of abrasive scrub pads or a microdermabrasion machine. Chemical exfoliation, on the other hand, uses acids, enzymes and facial peels to dissolve dead cell build up.
Whiteheads are typically small, white bumps on the skin, especially around the nose, forehead, and chin. Whiteheads form when pores on the skin are clogged with dead skin cells, oil, or bacteria. The whiteheads on the skin that continue to remain blocked eventually turn into blackheads. They make your skin dull and uneven. These are removed during a facial using a sterilized extraction tool.
Face masks trap moisture or product into the skin and creates a film that helps to either hydrate and mositurize or dry and exfoliate depending on the ingredients and its purpose. They allow ingredients to penetrate the skin in a shorter amount of time. Whether it’s a salicyclic acid for acne, vitamin c for fine lines or a retinoid for brightening dark spots, face masks offer a more concentrated dose of ingredients than other application methods.
Serums are topical antioxidants including Vitamin A, C and E. They also contain retinols that even out skin tone. When layered underneath moisturizers, serums act as treatment for wrinkles, pigmentation and redness. The ingredients in serums can be potent, cause irritation and dryness to sensitive skin. Its best to layer a substantial mositurizer with the serum. There are different types of serums depending on skin type. Anti Aging serums are good for all skin types and include ingredients such as retinol and hyaluronic acids. Antioxidant serums protect your skin from free radicals and help repair and heal your skin. Ingredients to look for are Vitmain A, C, E and melatonin and is good for all skin types. Hydrating serums help infuse the skin with extra moisture and are therefore good for people with dry skin. Ingredients to look for are hyaluronic acids and peptides. Color correcting serums target hyperpigmentation, enlarged pores and fine lines. This is ideal for people who want to even out skin tones as they contain ingredients such as glycolic acid, Vitamin C and Kojic acid.
Moisturizing is vital for healthy skin and should contain ingredients with plenty of vitamins: Vitamin A and B5 to increase firmness and build moisture level; Antioxidant Vitamin C and E to help protect new skin and fight damage. Moisturizing reduces skin problems such as extreme dryness or oiliness. It also conceals blemishes while keeping it hydrated.
Sunscreen SPF 30+
Sunscreen should be applied multiple times a day. A sun protector factor (SPF) of 30 or more is best to prevent UVA and UVB rays from damaging the skin.