Sunday, July 14, 2024

What to Expect During a Facial

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I’m a huge lover of facials. In fact, I’ll admit I’d rather spend my money on a facial than on a night out. Once you start seeing the benefits of facials, you won’t be able to stop, but if you’ve never had one, you may not know who to ask for advice. Facials are like any beauty treatment: you can have pretreatment jitters simply from not knowing what to expect. Although they’re not typically considered painful, it’s always nice to know what’s in store when you are booked for your first one.

Plus, there are so many different types, it can get a little confusing. There are the more intense options, like the “zombie” facial, and more mild treatments, such as “diamond glow” facials, full body treatments like the Glo 2 Facial, and then just plain-old signature facials that offer the most basic of options. To break down exactly what to expect and cover whether or not facials hurt, we reached out to skin-care expert Elizabeth Rimmer, founder and director of London Professional Aesthetics.

Keep scrolling to learn exactly what to expect from a facial appointment.

Experts Featured in This Article

Elizabeth Rimmer is the founder and director of London Professional Aesthetics.

Do Facials Hurt?

“There are a wide range of facials on the market ranging from oil-based massage-style facials to microcurrent and microdermabrasion facials to peel-based facials,” Rimmer tells PS. Due to the wide variety of options, it’s difficult to know what may be painful as it depends on your comfort level, so it’s always a good idea to ask your therapist ahead of time what to expect in terms of pain or discomfort. Typically, facials do not hurt, but some treatments, like microdermabrasion and extraction, can cause slight discomfort. The noises of the tools used may also be new to you, but the facialist will be able to explain to you what the sounds are.

During any run of the mill facial, the most uncomfortable part is typially extractions, which is where the aesthetician removes unwanted blackheads or drains blemishes on the face. Typically, they steam your face beforehand to open the pores so that the discomfort isn’t too strong.

What Is the Typical Downtime?

“This really depends on what type of facial you are planning,” Rimmer says. Facials such as pore extractions and heavy chemical peels are likely to need more downtime than an oil-based massage facial. She suggests that it’s wise to “plan a convenient time” to avoid any problems with the skin needing a little downtime. It’s best not to get an extraction facial the day of a big event; instead, get it a few days before so you can give your skin plenty of time to recover.

Do I Have to Get Undressed For a Facial?

Some facials also involve a shoulder massage or treatment to the décolleté area, which may require you to remove your top. This may make some people feel initially apprehensive, but much like a massage, your therapist will be very reassuring and provide you with a towel to wear during the treatment. The advice from Rimmer is to “try to make yourself as comfortable as possible so that you can enjoy the whole experience.”

Do I Need to Wear SPF After a Facial?

“Some facials involve some type of exfoliation, which can theoretically increase your risk of sun damage,” Rimmer says. Treatments such as microdermabrasion and products containing retinol can increase this risk, and therapists will tell you if you should be more wary of SPF application. “Either way, the best way to protect your skin from aging and sun damage is daily use of SPF. I recommend a broad-spectrum SPF 30 or higher, preferably oil-free.”

Do I Have to Speak to the Aesthetician or Can I Just Relax?

“Your therapist should be in tune with you,” Rimmer says. “If you want to chat, then of course, you can. However, if you prefer to close your eyes and drift away, then your therapist will be sensitive to that.”

Are Followup Treatments Always Required?

“Your therapist will advise you of how to get the best from your skin following your treatment,” Rimmer says, as some treatments may be for specific skin concerns and others for more relaxation purposes. “You may find that some products are recommended for your use; this should be presented in a non-forceful manner, and you should not feel obliged to make any purchases.”

Will My Skin Break Out Following the Facial?

This is dependent on both the treatment you choose and your skin type. For some people, their skin breaks out a little a day or two after treatment and then is at its best following that period. If you are concerned about breaking out, choose your treatment with this in mind. Hydrating facials, for example, are ones you can get closer to an important event, but you would not want to get extractions prior to a special day. Rimmer’s advice is to “be fully informed in advance of your facial and then you will find the whole experience less daunting.”

Facial Before and After

While before and after results will vary depending on the type of treatment you opt for as well as your skin type, typically, you can expect to see an improvement in skin’s appearance in the form of brightness. You also may experience slight redness.

Tori Crowther is a freelance beauty journalist and former PS UK editor.

Renee Rodriguez is a staff writer and social producer for PS. She writes across all verticals, but her main areas of expertise focus on fashion and beauty content with an emphasis on reviews and editor experiments. She also produces social content for the PS TikTok and Instagram accounts.

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