In my early twenties I’d never had a facial in my life. Not one single skin treatment of any kind, but to be fair, I hadn’t yet moved to London and experienced soot from the underground clogging my pores. I knew nothing about what the best facial treatments might be and my hormones hadn’t yet decided to send my face into meltdown. I also thought of facial treatments as something bougie and unnecessary – why would I need to pay someone else to wash my face for me?
Obviously when I turned 25 things looked a little different so I began using stronger products at home and looking into deep-cleansing treatments to refresh my skin, which had become a little dull and dry after a few years of living in the city.
Which is the best facial treatment?
Over the last few years I’ve learnt so much about how to manage my adult spots, I’ve ditched wearing foundation every day, established a relatively reliable skincare routine and of course, had a bunch of facials. Consider me a convert. I really do believe that a regular detox and deep clean can dramatically boost your skin’s health, help you feel good, improve lymph drainage and give you a natural glow.
I exfoliate at home using a Foreo and a mix of AHA and BHA products but let’s be honest, there are things an expert facialist can do for my skin that I simply can’t do in my bathroom.
I used to treat myself to a facial treatment every couple of months but recently learnt that a more regular skin detox can be much more effective in evening out skin complexion, boosting collagen, reducing blockages, breakouts and scarring and maintaining a healthy glow. I decided to step things up a notch and see if more regular facials might make a difference.
Light facial treatments
A light chemical peel is your standard in and out in an hour facial. Chemical peels are used to remove damaged skin cells, revealing healthy skin underneath. There are more intense types of chemical peel so it’s very important to know your acids so you can assess which is the best facial treatment for you.
Superficial peels use mild acids AKA alpha-hydroxy acids like salicylic acid to gently exfoliate the outermost layer of skin.
Medium peels use the likes of trichloroacetic or glycolic acid to reach the middle and outer layer of skills. This makes them slightly more effective for removing damaged skin cells.
Deep peels, which fully penetrate the middle layer of the skin to remove damaged skin cells often use phenol or tricholoracetic acid.
I have my light peels at Blush and Blow in Fulham. It’s a quick, painless treatment that refreshes your skin, evening out tone and texture. It’s an affordable treatment that you can have every few weeks, depending on your skin type and usually includes stimulating massage to drain lymphs, Vitamin C and SPF to finish.
A light chemical peel is perfect for weekly or bi-weekly exfoliation, moisture and skin recovery, but of course, anything more intense is not advised that frequently.
Heavy duty facial treatments
The Cool Laser Facial has been described as a ‘lunchtime facial’ – something you can undergo in just 30 minutes and head back to work. I tried the treatment at Harley Street’s X Clinic and absolutely loved the resurfacing effects, however, if you have delicate fair skin like I do, I’m not sure the ‘no downtime’ factor applies.
My face felt tender after the treatment – a hot, tight sensation similar to sunburn. My skin was also red and dry for a few days and wearing make up was a no no. Fine if you’re not bothered about a scaly lobster face for a few days but not something I’m sure I’d want to rock at meetings or on my IGTV.
I had my first Hydrafacial at Salon Savant in Kings Cross and yes, I get why it’s such a big deal. The hydrafacial uses a hydradermabrasion device that carries out a patented three-part regimen — cleansing, exfoliating, and then infusing skin with intensive serums. Your facialist will vacuum pores extracting blockages while also pushing in potent actives, which brighten, plump and refresh skin. This is my favourite heavy duty treatment as there was no downtime needed and my skin looked and felt incredible afterwards.
Microdermabrasion Facials similarly use tiny crystal particles instead of water. These crystals are sprayed onto the skin to gently remove the outer layer of your skin. This technique is less aggressive than dermabrasion, so you don’t need numbing medicine. It is basically an exfoliation and skin rejuvenation procedure that leaves skin looking softer and brighter.
Reduces breakouts – unclogs pores and congestion to reduce acne, blackheads and breakouts. Treats premature aging – treats sun exposure, dry skin, scarring, fine lines and wrinkles. Promotes even skin tone and reduces pigmentation – corrects, strengthens and clarifies the skin. Don’t buy devices to do this at home, always go to a professional.
Dermabrasion is an exfoliating technique that uses a rotating instrument to remove the outer layers of skin, usually on the face. This treatment is popular with people who wish to improve the appearance of their skin. Some of the conditions it can treat include fine lines, sun damage, acne scars, and uneven texture. Too intense for me but a very popular treatment.
Mesotherapy is a non-surgical technique that uses micro-injections of pharmaceutical and homeopathic preparations, plant extracts, vitamins, and other ingredients into subcutaneous fat. Mesotherapy injections allegedly target adipose fat cells, apparently by inducing lipolysis, rupture and cell death among adipocytes.
PRP or Platelet Rich Plasma therapy is used to reduce hyperpigmentation and acne scarring. Promotes the development of new cell growth by using a mixture of micro needling and centrifuged platelets. Also known as The Vampire Facial, you’ll need some blood taken from your arm beforehand so that this can be processed and then applied, this treatment is not for the faint of heart.
Which facial is right for me?
A light chemical peel is a general crowd pleaser but a consultation with a qualified professional is essential. Be sure to check credentials when you book online and always ask about the products before going ahead.
How often do you have a facial? What’s your favourite treatment? Any I’ve missed? Let me know what you think in the comments below.