A facial has become a necessity these days, and should not be viewed as a luxury

Beautiful skin isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity. Taking care of your skin is as important as taking care of your body. Stressful schedules, dirt and grime, and exposure to harmful UV rays from the sun tend to take a toll on one’s facial skin, leading to dullness, dryness, and even blackheads and whiteheads. Choosing the right facial with the help of a trained professional can go a long way towards relaxing and pampering the skin. While some swear by the benefits of such rituals, some others feel that a facial is a luxury or something to be done before a special event such as a wedding or a special vacation, or that it can be substituted with a good homecare regimen.

“A facial should be viewed as a necessity. To maintain beautiful and healthy skin that does not show age and stress, a facial is necessary,” says Manali S. Sawant, a beauty expert and consultant in Mumbai. Facials provide an instant feeling of freshness and leave your skin moisturised and radiant. Besides relaxation, a facial can improve lymphatic flow to the skin. A facial usually involves thorough cleansing, exfoliation, extraction if necessary, and a moisturising or tightening pack depending on your skin type, and finally, application of serum and moisturiser.

What to expect

“Facials are effective when performed on non-sensitive skin, and should be scheduled regularly after age 35,” says Dr. Parag Sharma, a Mumbai-based dermatologist. Wrinkles are a part of the inevitable process of ageing. Dryness and patches are the first signs of deterioration of the skin. The finer lines develop on the surface while the deeper ones have numerous folds. As one enters the late 30s and hits the 40s, the skin loses its elasticity, resulting in folds and sagging. Everyone ages differently, based on the level of stress, the amount of water they drink, diet and habits such as smoking or alcohol consumption. Constant hydration is the key when it comes to slowing down the process of ageing. It is best to start a skincare regimen early, and keep it going. Facials nowadays involve tremendous knowledge and expertise. There are various kinds of facials and skin treatments available, from chemical peeling to laser skin resurfacing to microdermabrasion.

Beauty with care

“Procedures which are done by a qualified dermatologist/cosmetologist, with standardised products and protocols, are effective for skin rejuvenation. But remember to ask a few questions before subjecting yourself to a facial. Documented studies have shown the results,” says Dr. Nina Madnani, consultant dermatologist in Mumbai. During the facial, the massage should be gentle, without being too rough or harsh on the skin, as it can loosen the skin. Gentle exfoliation is best. “Regular bleaching, if mild, and repeated after two months is all right, but if exfoliation is done very often or is harsh, it damages the skin’s ability to protect itself, leading to rashes and pigmentation,” says Dr. Madnani. A healthy diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables and a holistic approach helps in the long run. “While offering clients different skin and facial treatments, we stress on the need for lifestyle changes, including realistic diet, exercise and consistent hydration,” says Manali.

“Be kind and gentle with your skin. Don’t be too harsh; your skin is delicate and it does not take much to get rid of a few dead cells. Use quality products. While most techniques remain the same, the products used differ. For instance, for normal to dry skin go in for cream-based facials with moisturising qualities. For combination skin, treat the dry and oily areas differently,” she advises. The gap between facials depends entirely on the skin type and the problem affecting it. This can vary from two weeks for anti-ageing facials to one month for a normal facial. While there is no particular age as such to start facials, it is good to start after age 24, she says. Many skin clinics now offer facials using medical grade products recommended by dermatologists. Talk to your aesthetician regarding which treatment is right for you. Treatment must be approached with care and caution or you can end up with a permanent mistake on your face.

“Make sure you do not have infections, allergies or skin diseases before you have a facial. Also choose a place that has clean, good facilities,” recommends Dr. Madnani. People with skin diseases, infections, acne, allergies or sensitive skin should not undertake facials, as it could worsen the condition, or cause the infection to spread. People with acne should never do facials, as the massaging process leads to blocked pores. Also during acne treatment, removal of black heads and white heads and puncturing the pustules can lead to more scarring, she says.

Keep it up

Men are now very conscious of the way they look, and are willing to use cosmetics to improve their appearance. Gone are the days when one would find shaving cream, soap and aftershave lotions as grooming products in a man’s closet. “Facial care is more than just hair care. I regularly get a facial done according to my skin type, besides bleaching and manicure. A well groomed body and face gives me immense confidence,” says Rahul Varma, a working professional in Mumbai. His wife laughs and says, “He visits the parlour more than I do, and our dressing table has more men’s products than women’s.”