When thinking about a spa facial treatment what do you envisage?
Being wrapped up, gloriously pampered by expertly-trained hands, using oils, creams and serums that smell divine and leave your skin absolutely glowing…This is what I picture, and I am sure you may have this beautiful image in your mind too.
This isn’t always the case. Today there are many salon, spa & clinic facial chemical and machine-based treatments and modalities available (performed by beauty, skin or dermal therapists), not all relaxing. Whilst some are non-invasive and resemble the blissful facial described above, be mindful that many invasive, advanced anti-ageing treatments work with short-term outcomes in mind. And it is so important to consider the long-term.
When referencing invasive treatment, we are talking about those that rely on wound healing, for example;
- Skin Needling
- Chemical peels
- Laser and Intense pulsed light ( IPL )
If considering machine-based treatments, bear in mind the following:
- Know that there are knock-on effects of any treatment if your skin cells are deficient or impaired. They will in turn age more quickly (as a result of the additional stress). Our skin and its processes are affected when the cells aren’t functioning at their optimal level.
- Know your skin, how it responds, what contraindications are present, and what precautions you need to take. Your skin specialist should consider your current skin condition and the more you share with them the more they know. They can then prescribe the best treatment and homecare suited to you.
- Be educated on and favour treatment programs and skin care products that promote skin cell longevity.
- Don’t forget the value of aftercare (between any salon visit). What you do during the weeks between a facial treatment is just as important as your time in the treatment room.
Whatever your chosen treatment plan you must speak up about your skin and your lifestyle.
Whether you are a regular at the salon or a 'once-a-year facial' kind of girl - consultation is key. Would you ever go to a doctor and not expect them to have your medical history or ask you how you are feeling, and what meds you may take?
A salon treatment should be effective (ideally relaxing, and pampering), but also educating. This means you will need to share how your skin has been feeling, and looking, any significant changes, and what skincare you use morning, night and weekly (and how you use it). If you have or have had compromised skin, teenage (or adult) acne, or scarring you might find it difficult. Or perhaps you just don’t like the attention. When you speak freely about your skin you will get the best of your treatment in the beauty room, and at home.
Image taken by bec smart photography at Seishin Spa.
You should also provide a brief overview of your stress levels, diet, lifestyle, any hormone imbalances, & medication taken. All of this can be a good insight and can be very relevant to any skin changes and disruptions and will be key for the effectiveness of your treatment plus any homecare recommendations.
Consider how you treat your skin cells outside of the treatment room
Slow down and breathe
'The breath' is so important for our skin to function correctly. Oxygen is key and deep breathing practice and quality air intake facilitates the generation of the body’s energy currency.
Reduce oxidative stress
We are continually (and increasingly) exposed to environmental stressors. This can come from natural sources (bushfires, pollen, solar radiation, biological decay) and man-made pollutants (car emissions, fossil fuels, gas heaters and agriculture). These all contribute to oxidative stress in our skin, which in turn will age us prematurely. Limit your exposure where you can and help offset this by eating antioxidant-rich foods.
Consider lifestyle factors
Smokers and vapers may be more prone to inflammatory skin disorders and also be susceptible to slower or impaired wound healing. This is an important lifestyle factor to consider when choosing a spa or clinic treatment, as this is an individual baseline and should be discussed before performing any invasive treatment.
The main stress hormone is cortisol. While cortisol is important for circadian health, managing nutrient metabolism and controlling blood pressure, a prolonged state of cortisol expression leads to disrupted sleep patterns, poor digestion, inflammation, and accelerated ageing.
Daily preventative ‘medicine’ & lifestyle support:
- Sun avoidance and protection
- Cigarette/tobacco avoidance
- Stress management
- Pollution avoidance/neutralisation/removal
- Exercise – low to medium impact
- Diet – intermittent fasting and dense nutrient delivery
- Alcohol avoidance
- Switch off screens two hours before bed and take regular breaks from devices throughout the day
- Supplement when a deficiency exists, upon professional advice from a qualified nutritionist or naturopath
- Quality sleep cycle to provide adequate intrinsic repair time (essential if undergoing invasive aesthetic procedures).
- Avoid inflammatory medications, eg prolonged use of corticosteroids
- Avoid recreational drugs
Has the answer to healthy holistic treatments been at our fingertips all along?
Consider the value of classic facial treatments with manual massage and lymph drainage techniques to support skin health. These processes stimulate the skin functions, promote fresh oxygen to our skin cells, will assist in natural toxin elimination, smooth fine lines, reduce puffiness and overall will result in clear, healthy and glowing skin. Many machinery options can really make a difference to the skin but do not underestimate the value of manual facials performed with natural & active products and well-trained hands. A classic facial can provide fantastic results.
From the words of Danielle Hughes, Behind the Scenes X - “There is a physical reason why a skin treatment should be a relaxing experience. It will have a positive effect on the health of the skin by, in the first case, not stimulating stress hormones”.
Could it be that the traditional, relaxing facial treatment is better equipped to reverse stress-induced ageing, as opposed to relying on the wound healing cascade of invasive machinery or chemical peels to stimulate new cells? We are all about pro-ageing here at organicspa and believe strongly in the power of effective, organic skincare, facial massage and holistic well-being to age with consideration and grace.