The Pros and Cons of Getting a Facial

Sarah B. Weir
Shine from Yahoo! Canada

Are facials worth it?

How many times have you read that some glowing starlet "swears by" her facialist? But are facials really worth the money?

A recent article in the Daily Mail claims that some facials can actually ruin your skin. They interviewed former model, Sophie Anderton, who said that micro-dermabrasion and chemical peels left her with lines, acne, and dark pigmentation spots.

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Yahoo! Shine spoke with Dr. Patricia Farris, Clinical Associate Professor at Tulane University and spokesperson for the American Academy of Dermatology, about how safe and effective facials really are. "If you are seeing a licensed aesthetician, most facials are not that aggressive and are a 'do no harm' procedure," she told Shine. "I don't see a lot of problems after a garden variety spa treatment."

Where women run into trouble is when they follow a micro-dermabrasion procedure immediately by a heavy chemical peel, a combination that may have triggered Anderton's problems. "That's when people come whimpering to the office," says Farris. She also advises against having an aesthetician do extractions. "Sometimes they don't know that a certain type of growth can't be extracted. That's better left to a medical aesthetician at a dermatology office or medical spa."

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Farris says that some salons over-exaggerate claims and that facials are generally more of a pampering procedure than a therapeutic one. "They can be relaxing, but spending $250 a month on a regular facials won't improve wrinkles or get rid of dark spots."

To keep skin looking great, Farris says to wash your face daily, especially in the evening to remove all traces of make up and pollution. She likes to use a Clarisonic oscillating brush, a device she says is fun to use and cleans the skin thoroughly. She also recommends regularly exfoliation with a product containing fruit acids, a daily moisturizer, and "sunscreen, of course." If you just follow that routine, you are ahead of 90% of the population." And it doesn't have to be expensive. "There are so many great drugstore products."

If you do enjoy facials, follow these guidelines:

-Always see a licensed aesthetician.

-Have therapeutic procedures such as laser treatments and extractions done at a medical spa or dermatology clinic, not a regular spa or salon.

-If you have darker skin, be aware that peels may cause bleaching and discoloration.

-If you are prone to broken capillaries, opt for light exfoliation.

-Skin can be especially sun-sensitive after a facial. Stay out of the sun if possible and always use a broad-spectrum sunscreen.

-Don't use a product containing Retin-A for at least 72 hours after getting a facial. It can exacerbate redness.

For more skincare tips, check out Yahoo! Shine's Natural Style and Beauty Guide.

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