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 • Skincare  • Aesthetics Guides  • Here’s Exactly What to Expect if You’re Going for Your First Ever Facial

Here’s Exactly What to Expect if You’re Going for Your First Ever Facial

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Aah facials. Relaxing treatments that supposedly remove blemishes, combat wrinkles, moisturise, regenerate, and otherwise pamper the skin to the max, leaving it feeling fab.

But have you ever wondered what happens behind those fluffy towels and dimmed lights?

With so many types of facials on the market, some using ingredients from exotic places that claim to perform a myriad of miracles for the skin, we wanted to dig deep into the world of facials to find out what they *actually* do, the benefits, any downsides and how to prepare for a facial.

That’s why we spoke with two experts in the field!

Welcome celebrity aesthetician Ian Michael Crumm and the founder of day spa Floral Spa and Aesthetic Bar Amber Shal, who will be helping us on this extraction journey (see what we did there?) to find out EVERYTHING we need to know about facials – and whether they’re actually the miracle workers that some claim them to be.


what happens during a facial skin sensitive hyperpigmentation

Image – Drobot Dean/Adobe


What are the benefits of a facial?

According to Shal, “There are many benefits of facials. We always listen to the client before the facial, so we know what their areas of concern are. We can address anything from acne skin to uneven pigment to barrier repair and hydration.”

The type of facial that will benefit you really depends on your skin type – what works for one won’t work for all.

For example, oxygen facials – intended to rejuvenate and hydrate the skin by using oxygen under high amounts of pressure to apply various serums and hyaluronic acid – are great for tightening and hydrating older skin. Whereas acid peel facials are designed to improve scarring, reduce the appearance of age spots and the texture of your skin in general.

The deep cleansing used in facials will also help to restore the skin to its natural PH level and, once breakouts have cleared, the focus will be on preventative maintenance.

Facials aren’t just for treating problem skin, either. Certain facials can help with puffiness, such as lymphatic drainage facials, which is a gentle facial massage used to activate manual lymph drainage of the fluid buildup in the face and surrounding areas. This helps to improve circulation, promote lymphatic flow to remove the excess fluid and push the toxins away from the lymph nodes.


what happens during a facial skin

Image – New Africa/Adobe


Are there any disadvantages?

Some people *swear* by regular facials to keep their skin clean and in tip-top condition, but are there any disadvantages?

Crumm tells LTG HQ, “Facials are generally safe and beneficial for the skin. However, some potential disadvantages include:

  • Cost: Professional facials can vary in price depending on the type, location, and skill level of the practitioner.
  • Sensitivity: Some people may experience redness or irritation, especially if they have sensitive skin or react to certain products.
  • Allergic reactions: There is a slight risk of allergic reactions to the products used during the facial. It’s always important to communicate any known allergies to the practitioner.
  • Untrained professionals: If the facial is performed by an untrained individual, there is a risk of improper techniques leading to skin damage.”

Depending on the type of facial you decide to go for, you may need a few days of downtime afterwards due to redness and sensitivity, so if you’ve got a big event coming up it’s a good idea to ask your skin therapist about this.

Some facials, particularly standard ones, require no downtime at all and you can go about your day straight away!

Although facials are a great way to enjoy a little bit of pampering and clean your skin to the max, it’s worth remembering they are not essential. To keep your skin looking its best and maintain a youthful appearance without spending a fortune, regular washing, moisturising, using acids such as salicylic, hyaluronic and glycolic, and applying SFP protection are what matter most.


what happens during a facial skin sensitive hyperpigmentation

Image – Adobe


How do I prepare for your first facial?

If you’re a facial virgin, you’re probably wondering how to prepare for your first trip to the spa. There may be some products you should avoid using in the run-up to your appointment, such as harsh chemicals or retinols, or advice from your aesthetician on what to do before you arrive.

We asked Shal the best way to prepare for your first facial, she tells us, “Contact your aesthetician beforehand. They will let you know if they prefer you to take a break from your topical medications prior to your appointment.

“In addition, you will always be required to fill out an intake form. Finally, it’s important to wear minimal make-up. The first thing your aesthetician will do is cleanse your skin.”

Then what can you expect at your facial appointment? Let’s take a look!


what happens during a facial skin sensitive hyperpigmentation

Image – Jacob Lund/Adobe


What happens during a facial?

There are a few essential steps that you can expect during your facial, however, with SO many to choose from – including microdermabrasion, vampire facials, deep-cleansing facials, and dermaplaning – each treatment will be different.

Talking about the standard facial, Shal tells us, “During a facial, we typically exfoliate, extract, and moisturise the epidermis. Some facials can be more targeted, depending on the client’s concerns.”

So, what *exactly* happens during a facial?

1. Cleansing

Crumm tells us that the first part of your facial is where “the skin is cleansed to remove makeup, dirt, and impurities.”

2. Exfoliation

Next, “dead skin cells are gently removed through exfoliation, promoting a smoother complexion,” Crumm tells us.

3. Steaming

Steam “may be used to soften the skin,” says Crumm. This also opens the pores ready for the next step: extraction.

4. Extraction

“If needed, the esthetician may perform manual extraction to remove blackheads or whiteheads,” Crumm says.

Shall tells us this technique is “used by a professional to clean out blackheads or congestion within the pores,” removing any dirt, oils, dead skin cells, sebum, and product buildup. Some skin therapists may use a special metal tool for extraction, while others will simply use their hands (wearing gloves, of course!)


what happens during a facial

Image – Dimid/Adobe

5. Any tools

If you are having a high-tech facial, your aesthetician may use machines, devices or LED lights such as collagen-producing microneedling tools and powerful bacteria-fighting LED lights.

6. Massage

We did say facials are usually relaxing! ” A facial massage helps to relax the facial muscles and improve circulation,” Crumm tells us.

7. Mask

Crumm says, “A facial mask is applied to address specific skin concerns, such as hydration, brightening, or calming.”

Your dermatologist or aesthetician will discuss any specific skin concerns with you, such as dryness, sensitivity, irritation, hyperpigmentation or acne.

8. Moisturiser and/or Serum

Your aesthetician will complete the facial “with the application of moisturiser and/or serum suitable for the skin type,” advises Crumm.

9. Sunscreen

Your skin may be more sensitive following your facial, and Crumm tells us that “all proper treatments will always conclude with SPF if performed during the day.”

*Gentle reminder: You should be wearing SPF every day regardless to protect your skin.*


what happens during a facial skin

Image – Deidre/Adobe


The takeaway

If you’re looking for a bit of extra help to improve your skin or even just a bit of extra pampering, facials are great.

Although no one-size-fits-all treatment, facials can help to remove puffiness, reduce the signs of ageing, de-clog pores and promote healthy skin in general.

Some people *swear* by regular facials to help with preventing acne and keeping their skin in top condition, as well as helping with brightening and hydrating.

The best thing to do is have a skin analysis with a dermatologist or aesthetician to decide on the best facial treatment for you and get that all-important advice on the best way to care for your skin.

So, there’s really only one thing for it… To the spa!


Meet the experts

Ian Michael Crumm is a celebrity aesthetician separating the facts from the fads, content creator, and co-host of @beautycuriouspod with Dr Elyse Love.


Aesthetician Amber Shal is the founder of day spa Floral Spa and Aesthetic Bar, specialising in everything from facials to massages and injectables.


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Senior Beauty Editor

Laura Kemp started her journalism career as a news reporter for one of the largest newspaper groups in Europe before moving into features and editorial writing. Combining her love of hard-hitting journalism with her passion for beauty, she’s now Senior Beauty Editor at Live That Glow. When she’s not writing, researching, or interviewing her favourite experts, you’ll find Laura practicing her downward dog or drifting on her paddleboard.

Expertise: Hair care, nails
Education: University of Salford

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