Having a great daily skincare regimen is important, but every so often, a facial is exactly what your complexion needs for a reboot and deep clean. "Facials are an integral part of glowing skin," says esthetician Shani Darden, who counts Jessica Alba and Chrissy Teigen as clients. "An esthetician will be able to clean out your skin better than you're able to yourself." She recommends monthly facials, whether you live in the city, suburbs, or country; while you might feel grimier when you're trudging around a metropolis like New York or Los Angeles, the pro reminds us that skin assailants are everywhere. "Environmental stressors like pollution and ultraviolet damage from the sun can cause inflammation in the skin, and also deplete collagen, which leads to looser, more wrinkled skin," Darden says. "Free radicals speed up the aging process, and we're exposed to them every day."
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Daily antioxidant serums and protectants like sunscreen can help mitigate this damage, but a facial is ultimately what will take your skin from just fine to amazing. And today, facials aren't comprised of extractions and moisturizing oils only—they combine the best of everything, from peels to microcurrent and LED therapy, which everyone can benefit from. Of course, in order for a facial to be beneficial, you need to know which one will work for your skin type. Here, what everyone should look for when choosing their treatment, based on skin type.
Oily and Acneic
Extractions are a pretty essential part of a facial, Darden says—and that's especially true for those with large pores that tend to get clogged easily. You should never try them yourself, but a licensed esthetician will be able to perform extractions effectively and safely. Beyond extractions, having a salicylic acid peel done during your treatment will greatly help increase cell turnover and decongest pores.
When it comes to dry skin, hydration is the name of the game, and one of the best ingredients to boost hydration is hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid can hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water, and it helps give the appearance of firm, plump skin, so it's an important component of a facial for those who are dealing with dryness. Try a HydraFacial, which can be customized for any skin type, but combines a gentle peel with deep hydration and infuses antioxidants into the skin.
Sensitive skin can be tricky to treat, since you want to effectively exfoliate, hydrate, and add a glow without irritating. For that, Darden uses lactic acid, which is gentler than salicylic acid yet still works well at sloughing off dead skin cells and increasing radiance. After that, you want to be sure the other ingredients used in your facial are soothing and calming. For this, Darden likes aloe. You can also try Biologique Recherche's Sensitive Skin Facial—if you live near a provider who utilizes the legacy brand's methods and products—which is gentle and involves soothing, protective ingredients like grapeseed oil, pomegranate, and cucumber, all while leaving out preservatives and artificial fragrances (which can easily irritate delicate skin types).
"For aging skin, the focus for me is more on the treatments, like microcurrent and LED light therapy," Darden explains. "Microcurrent uses low level electrical current to tone, tighten, and lift the skin. LED light therapy helps to boost collagen to minimize fine lines and wrinkles. It also increases circulation to give you an amazing glow." Both of these treatments can greatly help skin that has been affected by pollution and sun damage, too, she notes.