A facial is a great way to recharge your skin and get rid of impurities, while you get to relax at the same time. In fact, it is a great bonding session among friends, particularly if you are overworked and looking for a little pampering.

However, some people are apprehensive about getting facials because of the extraction. Some claim that the pain is enough to make them wince, while others say the pain is so bad it makes them cry. Here’s what you should expect during your first facial.

Meet your expert

First things first: facials are generally a relaxing experience, provided that it is performed by a licensed esthetician. An esthetician is a licensed professional who has spent a minimum of 300 to 1500 hours of training and has passed both a written and practical exam overseen by the state that will enable them to practice there. They are allowed to work on the epidermis or the outer layer of the skin. They can also specialize in specific treatments such as microdermabrasion, LED treatments, and light chemical peels, among others. Under their experienced hands, your skin will be safe and hopefully free from harm.

Facial 101: What to expect during your first time

Understanding a facial

Now that you know that you need to enlist the services of an esthetician, you will be more relaxed knowing that your skin will be properly taken care of. This being said, a facial is a set of skin care treatments for your face with the goal of exfoliating your skin, removing impurities, and dead skin. It is usually performed in beauty salons, day spas, and even your dermatologist’s office. There are some dermatologists who employ estheticians in their private practice.

A facial treatment usually varies from provider to provider. It can be as extensive as one where you are given a full body massage in the package, or others where you are only given the basics. Essentially, a facial treatment usually includes steaming, exfoliation, and extraction. Other providers will incorporate facial masks, peels, and facial massages. It essentially depends on the package you purchase and your provider.

How a facial is performed

We cannot emphasize this enough – while the outline below is how a generic facial is performed, the process may vary depending on the spa you visit or the packages you purchase.

  1. Preparation – Depending on where you are going to have a facial, one of the first steps you should do is to prepare for it. Some spas will make you change into a comfortable robe if you are getting a full body massage afterwards. Some will give you a foot bath with a shoulder massage, while others will simply ask  you go to the treatment area. A special favorite is when the esthetician  asks you to lay down on the bed and gives you a brisk shoulder and facial massage, followed by the smell of relaxing oils such as lavender. The preparation will usually depend on the package you have purchased.
  2. Cleansing – Some spas will ask you to wash your face with a special soap with a set of instructions. For example, some spas will have specific soaps for different skin types, such as oily or a dry skin. On the other hand, some will ask you to lay on a comfortable bed and the esthetician will wash your face for you.

This facial cleansing is usually very soothing. Your esthetician will use mild products to gently cleanse your skin using tender, moderate strokes. It also serves as a massage, thereby relaxing you further.

  1. Exfoliating – After getting rid of makeup and cleansing your skin, you will next be treated to a thrilling exfoliation. Some spas use gentle exfoliates, while others use a more straightforward facial scrub. Whatever the case, the goal of the exfoliating process is to get rid of dead skin cells and other skin impurities that aren’t embedded in the skin. The esthetician will wash this off and you will be ready for the next step.
  2. Steaming – Some spas will skip this part, but others think this is a necessity. Steaming helps open your pores so that your skin is better prepared for the extraction – meaning to say it won’t  hurt as much. The esthetician will usually switch on the steamer and point it in the general direction of your face. You will be asked if you can breathe properly or if you are uncomfortable in any way. You should speak up if you are uncomfortable, because you have to be under the steam for 10 to 15 minutes.
  3. Extraction – After the steaming comes the most challenging part of most facials – the extraction! However, don’t worry. Under the hands of a gentle esthetician, it shouldn’t hurt. In fact, most people fall asleep during this process! The esthetician will remove skin impurities that are within the outer layer of your skin – which includes mild acne, blackheads, and whiteheads. If anything is too deep, then the esthetician should recommend a dermatologist to have it extracted. They don’t typically touch acne that is about to be burst, or pop acne that aren’t ready to be popped.
  4. Finishing up – Again, this method differs from spa to spa. Some use a straightforward method and will put a cold towel over your face to close the pores. Others will use mild laser applied over a gauze mask. You will also be given the option of chemical peels and facial masks.

There are various chemical peels and facial masks to choose from. These items will depend upon your need – for example, there are facial masks for acne-prone skin, for skin lightening, for oily skin. Facials are equally as therapeutic for men as for women. Your esthetician will recommend which facial mask will be best for your skin type.

In another blog, we will talk about the different kinds of chemical peels, and how you can benefit from them. There is also the diamond peel, which is very popular among those who want to have clear skin without the sting of a chemical peel.