From the Aesthetician: Is a Facial a Treat or Necessary for Healthy Skin?

Cynthia Bailey, MD|February 22, 2016

Facial_Main First, let's put this question in perspective...... Your furniture and floors get dusted regularly, sometimes even polished. Your car gets washed, vacuumed, occasionally waxed, and it always goes in for maintenance and repairs. Your garden gets weeded, raked and neatened and, occasionally, even spiffed up with new flowers. The rooms in your house, well hopefully... Are you getting the idea yet? Now, your skin is no different. Did you know it is your body's biggest organ? Obviously, it is also on the outside of your body and stands up to all the insults and wear and tear that environmental exposure and your activities create. Your facial skin, in particular, is seen by everyone in your world and is sort of like your "ambassador." Yes, whether you like it or not, we are judged by our faces - both good and bad. This means that how your facial skin looks says something about you. Understand that good skin care is important, yet it can only go so far. For best results in the face department, you need a periodic facial and a pro to do the job. So, is a facial a treat or necessary for healthy skin? Yes, facials are necessary for good skin care! 

To help you understand the power of facials for your complexion, let me explain what they can do and what the process involves.

What benefits do facials provide?

First, facials are a great way to rejuvenate the skin, remove wear and tear and tank-up the skin for more visibility and aes4exposure. A good way to think about facials is that they are like an exercise routine for your skin to keep it in top form. They are capable of stimulating the skin's renewal mechanisms and resurfacing skin texture; they are an important part of keeping your skin texture maximally youthful, hydrated and plump, and they also keep your skin color even. If you ask anyone who gets regular facials, they will tell you that their facials are a key to keeping their complexion looking its best. 

The benefits of a facial come from the ability of a well done professional facial to help stimulate cell turnover and your skin's renewal of collagen and substances into the deeper skin layers. This helps to build more elasticity and collagen over time. Facials can benefit scarring, wrinkles and crinkles and even improve deep hyperpigmentation. Soothing steps can be added to reduce redness for sensitive skin too.

The end result is that facials will help to create smooth, bright, youthful and well-groomed skin that you are proud to show the world. This tells others that you take good care of yourself. As a bonus, if you wear makeup, your facial will create an even palette for the perfect makeup application.

What's the skinny on the facial process and why it works?

When the epidermis becomes too laden with dead skin cells, the skin's appearance becomes dull and crepey-looking. It feels thick and gummy to the touch. It is also usually full of blackheads or whiteheads (otherwise, known as comedones) and clogged pores. As this layer thickens even more, products stop penetrating down into the layers of the skin. This means that elasticity and collagen productions slow down, and comedones grow even bigger so that they are visible even from a distance. To show you what I mean, here’s a little test we do in the aesthetic room to help clients understand how much congestion their skin really has:

Start at the bottom middle of the chin and spread the skin tight and look at it closely in a magnifying mirror with good light. You'll see either little pores that are clean and tight (a good sign) or you'll see what we call congestion - blackheads or whiteheads and pores filled with greasy black material. You may even be able to rub off a layer of gummy dead cells (not a good sign). 

When someone comes in for a facial, we clean and then professionally exfoliate (see below) the skin to remove congestion and to allow a lot of comedones to be easily extracted from the skin. We then apply therapeutic products to balance the complexion. If someone has never had a facial and doesn’t do any kind of exfoliation, there are going to be lots of layers to clean away. In these cases, we will work over time to get the complexion where we want it. In general, I usually see first-time clients every 4-6 weeks so we can get a handle on the congestion. 

What are the different types of exfoliation used in professional facials?

There are two broad types of facials: physical or chemical. In the treatment room at Advanced Skin Care and Dermatology Physicians, both yield clinical results and both ensure a pampered feeling during the treatment. Physical facials include microdermabrasion, and chemical facials use a peeling agent. In our treatment room, we like to alternate between a physical exfoliation facial (which would be a microdermabrasion), and a chemical exfoliation such as a facial that includes a chemical peel. 

When you consistently keep up a facial routine alternating between these two types of facials, you will see results that include fewer visible crinkles and wrinkles, smaller and tighter pores and a lightening of uneven pigmentation and sun or age spots. For first-time clients, your goals and needs determine what we do in the treatment room for you that day. Know that when you leave, your skin will both look and feel better right away.   

What are the specific steps involved (a.k.a., the procedure used) in a facial?

When someone comes in for a facial, I first ask them what their needs and concerns are for their skin. It might be DSC_0146that they have dull skin, or maybe they want to clear up acne or clogged pores. Sometimes, they may be forming a lot of milia due to sun damage and skin aging. They also may be frustrated with other skin aging concerns, rough or crusty skin or sallow skin color. Alternatively, they may be struggling with sensitive skin or redness in the skin and are frustrated with products that make their issues worse instead of better. Once I've created a plan, I cleanse the skin with my hands, which allows me to feel their complexion, the skin's strength and texture and helps me better determine whether their skin is dry, oily or a combination. If there is acne within the skin, this lets me find where inflammation and congestion are underlying. Next, I use the Clarisonic Brush on the skin. This will tell me how sensitive the skin is. If a client is using a Clarisonic brush system at home, the skin will really show the cleanliness results of regular sonic cleaning. There will be fewer blackheads and clogged pores because the Clarisonic brush cleanses the skin 11 times more than cleaning with your hands! Take note, non-Clarisonic users! I follow this cleansing step with an exfoliation, again picking chemical or physical depending on the skin type. This helps to open the pores and readies the skin for the next step in which I do extractions under magnification. I do this with gloved hands and a tissue over my fingertips to create gentle traction. Alternatively, I may use a medically sterilized comedone extractor based on what the client's skin needs. I slip out any comedones and remove plugs from pores. Once that is done, I plump and deeply hydrate the skin by choosing a corrective mask for their skin type, and I massage it into the skin. This allows the product to penetrate more deeply into the skin's layers to enhance hydration. While we wait for the mask to work, I add my signature neck and shoulder massage that Dr. Bailey absolutely loves! Finally, the last step is choosing a moisturizer and facial sunscreen that's the perfect fit for my client's complexion. We do these steps in every facial that we offer. Even our basic mini facial includes all these steps, plus a shoulder and facial massage. All our team at Advanced Skin Care and Dermatology Physicians want our patients and clients to have well-treated skin that they are proud of; our facials are reasonably priced, and our facial service is very generously performed without hurry. In short, facials are a great way to quickly cleanse and revitalize your skin. As an added side benefit, a facial treatment will restore the mind, body and soul because I make certain that every client's treatment is deeply soothing. I also help you with any skin care conundrums you're having with your skin care products. 

Do you live too far away from Sebastopol to come in for a facial with us?

Replenix Scrub Replenix Scrub Glytone Mild Gel Glytone Mild Gel

If so, you can try doing a DIY facial at home with Dr. Bailey's products!

To do a facial at home, start by cleaning the skin with the Toleriane wash or Glytone Mild Gel Wash Cleanser, followed by the Replenix scrub. Remove product with a warm towel. Using a magnifying mirror to see if you have comedones that can be easily extracted, wrap tissue around your finger tips, apply light pressure to the skin and squeeze VERY slightly.

Naturally Hydrating Pore-Minimizing Facial Toner Naturally Hydrating Facial Toner

If the dirt will not pop out right away, leave it for the next day or look for a facialist that you trust near you. The important part is to not bruise or puncture the skin.

Next, apply our Naturally Hydrating TonerInstantly Luminous Serum and then our Green Tea Antioxidant Skin Therapy. Finish with your favorite moisturizer and sunscreen. 

Now it's your turn! What types of facials have you had? What was your favorite?

DanielleDanielle Key has been working as an aesthetician  for 13 years,  3 of those for Dr. Bailey. She discovered her love of makeup, products and natural skin care working at a spa, inspiring her to get her license to become an aesthetician. She currently lives in Northern California with her husband and daughter. Their hobbies include golfing and traveling across the United States.

  The information in the Dr. Bailey Skin Care web site, and related links, articles, newsletters and blogs, is provided for general information and educational purposes only. It is the opinion of Dr. Cynthia Bailey, or other indicated authors. Consult your physician or health care provider for any specific medical conditions or concerns you may have. (This also applies to patients in her medical practice; the information here is not a substitute for, or an extension of, the medical care she provides for you.) Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking it because of something you have read here. Use the information and products on this site at your own risk. Use of this site indicates your agreement with these statements and the Terms and Conditions of If you do not agree to all of these Terms and Conditions of use, please do not use this site!

Add Your Comment