Friday, August 27, 2010

The REAL Facial Facts! Common Facial Misconceptions


Well, I think I might have heard it all. As a licensed esthetician and owner of m.d. Skin, I frequently find myself telling clients and potential clients about the benefits of and de-mystifying facial treatments. A lot of times I have to separate the facts from the fiction.  It really is quite amazing that there are so many rumors and untruths about esthetic treatments. So, here’s a brief summery about the most common falsehoods.

It’s normal to break out after a facial.

This is probably the most common of all facial myths.There is absolutely no reason you should break out after a facial, providing you are giving all necessary information upfront about allergies and medications you might be using. 

If there is a breakout it’s because the technician used the wrong products, causing irritation and inflammation, or because they did not do extractions correctly. If the client experiences rash or redness after a facial the first thing to consider is product allergy.    Only this morning  I got an email from a precious new client that  was red, rashy and swollen the day after her very one and only facial (and it had to be with me!).  She didn’t know she had a citrus acid allergy.  Yikes!  Going forward she has been advised to be very careful in reading ingredients list and to avoid citrus in any topical products.  She must only use products specifically formulated to sensitive skin.  Unfortunately, I was the practioner that had to find that out for her.  I’m sorry that happened on my watch. But, that is a possibility when using new products – whether over-the-counter or not. 

When an esthetician performs extractions, they will look at each blemish, blackhead or breakout and then determine if it can be safely extracted. If the esthetician thinks that it’s ready to come out, then she will begin to gently push around the area, carefully and gently working the debris out.  This is not always comfortable, but when done properly, the clients skin looks better immediately and will not leave further scarring. If, after applying gentle pressure, the gunk and impurities are not budging, then it should be left alone. If the esthetician tries to force it, you can end up with a broken follicle wall and the spreading of bacteria into other follicles or even a scar.

extraction Extractions  hurt!

While extractions are not the most pleasant part of the facial, but they should not cause a great deal of pain. If the esthetician is using too much pressure, ask her to go a little easier on your skin.  Having said that, extractions on the nose are the hardest.  There is little area to push on and the client has to take breaths through their mouth.  This part should only take a few minutes and is certainly bearable.  Your skin will thank you for it!

Can’t I do these treatments at home cheaper?

Home care is extremely important to your skin and you can and should do many treatments at home.  You can’t get the same results at home, however, that you can at the hands of a professional esthetician. Estheticians attend specialized schools and have to pass State Board Examinations to be able to practice in their field.  They have been trained to analyze your skin and correctly diagnose each area and determine the best course of treatment specifically for you. In addition, professional estheticians have products that are available ONLY to licensed professionals.

Here’s an interesting fact:  According to a recent study, over 50% of women incorrectly identified their skin type. Using the incorrect products for your skin type can throw off the balance of the skin and cause adverse reactions.

I have to spend a ton of money and purchase every product my esthetician recommends!

sanitas The professional esthetician should always tell you why she is recommending that you take home products that day. Part of her job is education. If she can’t give you a well thought out and intelligent answer, then you may want to pass on that purchase. Take the name of the product home and do your own research online. In my practice I sell SANITAS skin care products.  I encourage you to educate yourself at

Never be afraid to tell your esthetician that you are on a budget and ask what one product she feels will be most beneficial. I try to always tell my clients what I think is the singular one product I used in their treatment that day that will be most helpful in their home care.  It’s ok to ask about drugstore brands and what over-the-counter brands will work well with your skin.

Your skin’s health and appearance are very important to your overall well being, but you shouldn’t have to take out a loan in order to take care of it. There are things that work at all price points.  There are also products that are completely unnecessary and even harmful.  Talk to your esthetician about any products you have heard  and have questions about.  Just ASK!

My esthetician slapped something on my face and left the room!

I think there is no excuse for this!   I firmly believe that your esthetician should be with you in the treatment room 100% of the time. Some of the products we use are aggressive. To leave when any product is on the skin, especially an acid or enzyme, is inexcusable!

Usually, estheticians leave because they are working on two clients in two separate rooms at one time. Places where this “herd em in, herd em out” mentality exists should be avoided, in my opinion. Your skin is too important to be treated without 100% attention.

I explain to my clients before beginning any service that I will never leave the room.  It’s ok to ask your technician before the treatment begins if she will remain in the room throughout your service. It’s been known for a client to experience claustrophobia during a full body treatment.  In addition with body services there is the possibility of over heating.  A professional esthetician will want to monitor this at all times.

They use OIL on my face for massage.  Oil causes breakouts!

I understand where this misconception comes from. We have been taught that oil is bad. Oil causes blemishes. That is not always correct.

We all have oil from our skin.  That oil (Sebum) lubricates our skin and provides a protective barrier against bacteria and particulate matter. Clients view that oil on their face is bad and then create further oily skin issues by scrubbing so much away that our body responds by over-producing even more sebum. It creates a vicious cycle.  Using the correct products for oily skin types will help with that, however the oil used on the face during massage is not the same.  Some massage oils are grape seed oil, olive oil, apricot kernel, jojoba and there are many others. These are not like cooking oils!  The oils used in professional skin care are similar to the oils our bodies produce. Since breakouts don’t come from oil specifically, the addition of these products to the skin serves to provide lubrication and deep moisturization.  I can write an entire blog on Emu oil and Jojoba and how beneficial they are to human skin.  I encourage you to look up those specific oils online if you have time.  I think you’ll enjoy learning about them.  They are my products of choice.

Going to an esthetician is for the wealthy and just for pampering.  You have to see a dermatologists if you want real results.

The first thing I would say about this is that facials are stress-relieving and extremely therapeutic – doctor visits are not typically stress-relieving, in my view.  You only have to experience one good facial, one time, and become a believer!  In addition, seeing an esthetician can provide immediate improvement to your complexion.  Even those clients under the care of a derm doc find that facials have helped keep their skin balanced and their trips to the doctor fewer and farther in between. Estheticians are uniquely qualified to work with the client on daily skin care regimens, teaching better homecare for their skin.

sunDermatologists sometimes see the condition and not how the skin as a whole needs to be treated. They are far too  busy to instruct their patients on proper home care. They prescribe necessary medications. Estheticians cannot prescribe pharmaceuticals and in no way take the place of a dermatologist.

I think that it is absolutely essential  for everyone to see their dermatologist at least once a year for a skin cancer check.  In our sunny southern state it is absolutely VITAL!  From a personal standpoint, I share that I was a sun tanner until very recently and know the damage I have done to my skin. Never again!  That is why the only tan I get is from an airbrush machine.  Because I believe so strongly in staying out of the sun, I offer professional airbrush tanning and use organic solutions that won’t damage the skin.  

Why should I have to  discuss my medications with an esthetician? It’s really none of their business to know the medications I take!   

I know it seems strange, but many medications have side effects that affect the skin. Most commonly, medications result in drier, more sensitive skin. I recall a client of the esthetics school I attended that under the magnifying lamp had skin that  looked just like a dry, arid dessert.  She was on long-term antibiotics that did a number on her skin.  This is not uncommon in the least.  Many drugs also result in super sensitivity to topical products and sunlight.  Your skin care professional should know that prior to applying certain products on your skin.

If your technician is unaware that you are using Retin-A from your dermatologist, using the wrong product or treatment could be detrimental. All medicines need to be addressed, although antibiotics, birth control pills, acne medication, and antivirals should be especially noted.


And this is what is on my mind today – another day in my life!

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