When it comes to skin care, it’s a beauty jungle out there. With such a wide spectrum of products that promise to cleanse, lift, exfoliate and hydrate the skin, many seekers of a smooth complexion are left wondering: Is it better to DIY, or do professional spa facials still have great benefits?
Of course, a robust market for beauty treatments is nothing new. But the boom in anti-aging skin care has upped the ante. New creams, oils and serums with professional-grade ingredients like hyaluronic acid, retinols and peptides, technologies such as microcurrents and light therapy, and high-tech tools and biomedical devices that claim professional-level results are all available with merely a few keystrokes – and a credit card. Even the vitamin and supplement aisle offers a stunning array of pills promising discernable beauty benefits and improvements in skin texture and health.
So it’s no wonder that women and men seeking to improve their skin consider the unprecedented beauty bounty at their fingertips. The shift toward widely available products that mimic or approximate professional-grade skin care is a tremendous boon.
However, if you do decide to put your face in the hands of the pros, there is no shortage of options there either – Bliss Spa, the international beauty emporium with locations around the country including multiple New York outposts in Manhattan, offers at least a dozen different facials, many aimed at brightening, tightening and clearing skin of blemishes or scars.
All of those options can make it challenging to know what sort of facial is right for your skin type and its unique needs. It’s best to get help before you book an appointment. A trained professional can offer a quick aesthetic consultation and help you understand your skin type and its requirements. And according to Katie DeMaria, spa manager and licensed esthetician at CLAY Health Club + Spa in Port Chester, professional facials offer more than just basic maintenance and sometimes even include other treatments such as massage and aromatherapy intended to relax, energize or rejuvenate.
“Organic, smart skin care along with lymphatic massage helps to support the structure and function of your largest organ, the skin,” she says. “Lymphatic massage stimulates the lymph, helping the body to move toxins out of the body.” CLAY, which also features fitness and training amenities, offers a holistic facial that “stimulates the lymphatic system and encourages the regeneration of new skin,” she notes, as well as the Dr. Hauschka Classic Treatment, a two-hour holistic therapy that includes a warm sage footbath, lymphatic massage and other treatments.
Once you’ve found the right esthetician and determined a course of action for your skin, you should develop a maintenance plan. DeMaria advises clients to get regular treatments. “Once monthly facials are optimal for healthy, glowing skin and to soothe tension in the face,” she says. Change-of-season visits to the spa for a reset four times a year work as well. “Updating your cleanse, tone and moisturize routine depending on the weather with a professional consultation during this visit is essential,” she adds.
Equally important, clients should maintain the results of a professional facial with daily at-home skin care using carefully selected products. “Having a selfcare ritual is important,” says DeMaria. “Cleansing before bed every evening and soaking in a warm bath with a treatment mask weekly is very beneficial. The body responds to rhythm and consistency,” she adds. “Try to give yourself something to look forward to by putting aside time for self-care at home.”
Whether you have the time and budget to commit to monthly facials or just one per year, a mix of regular professional facials and athome skin-care maintenance can keep your skin luminous and gorgeous.
Terri Prettyman Bowles is a Westchester-based writer, editor and content producer.