There’s really nothing better than slipping into a comfortable chair in your favorite medspa, closing your eyes, and enjoying the invigorating feel of a soothing, professional facial treatment. Gentle massages, steam to open the pores, and premium ingredients carefully eliminate blemishes, reduce redness, and make your skin appear more youthful, often with just a single treatment.
In medical aesthetics, we know that the benefits of facials go far beyond just relaxation and peace of mind. Science proves that getting regular facials can also increase circulation, lower cortisol (stress hormone) levels, and improve lymph drainage – but that’s really just the beginning.
In this article, we’ll dig up the facts and help you understand why that getting regular facials just might be your best step towards optimal health.
LOWERS CORTISOL LEVELS
Love To Know reports that chronically high levels of stress hormones, including cortisol, adrenaline, noradrenaline, and even dopamine, may be linked to disease. The American Psychological Association (APA) agrees, stating that chronic stress can “adversely affect the immune, cardiovascular, neuroendocrine and central nervous systems.
It’s no secret that facials are incredibly relaxing; you nestle into that chair while your treatment provider goes to work, massaging and gently treating your skin. That relaxation reduces excessive stress hormones, like cortisol, norepinephrine, and adrenaline, reducing your risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, weight gain, and even impaired immune system function.
IMPROVES LYMPHATIC SYSTEM DRAINAGE
Your lymphatic system is a network of tissues and nodes found at various points in the body.
It plays a critical role in health and wellness, including immune system function, transmission of food into cells (specifically amino acids), and fluid homeostasis (the intricate balance of fluid and electrolytes in the body). When it works correctly, it protects your body from intruders, like bacteria and viruses, while also ensuring your cells have the nutrients they need to thrive, survive, and be well.
Science tells us that poor lifestyle choices, aging, not staying hydrated, eating an unhealthy diet, staying sedentary for too long, and certain environmental toxins can impair your lymphatic system. Lymphatic drainage massage can help to boost a tired or sluggish lymphatic system back into activity, helping to keep you well long-term.
What does this mean for your facial? Realistically, it isn’t the facial itself that benefits your lymph system – it’s the massage you receive when you come for your appointment. It encourages lymph nodes in and around the face to drain and become active, improving circulation and detoxifying your skin.
BOOSTS BLOOD CIRCULATION
As we age, circulation slows – especially if we smoke, drink, or experience chronic stress. That lowered circulation can speed signs of aging in the first few layers of the derma, leading to fine lines, uneven tone, and blotchiness.
Facial massage and hot steam treatments improve circulation for the same reasons they improve lymphatic drainage: they encourage fluid to enter and exit the tissue at a healthier rate (in this case, blood instead of lymph fluid). Better circulation allows your skin to regenerate and detoxify itself from free radicals much faster. It also kicks your localized immune system up a notch, reducing blemishes.
DECREASES OXIDATIVE STRESS, DAMAGE
As your body (and the cells within it) consumes oxygen, it produces free radicals (oxygen-containing molecules). These tiny molecules interfere with local mitochondria and cellular DNA, causing oxidative damage. Oxidative damage, in turn, causes skin and body tissue cells to age or die off or become impaired at a much faster rate.
Normally, your skin would simply channel away these free radicals to protect your body and tissues. But age, environmental influences (including sunlight) can impair your ability to detoxify from free radicals, letting them build up and cause damage.
Researchers believe oxidative damage directly causes wrinkles, fine lines, slowed collagen production, and age spots. Facials slow oxidative damage in a few specific ways:
If your concern is oxidative stress, you should choose facial systems that specifically list antioxidant ingredients, including Vitamin E, lycopene, resveratrol, and Vitamin C. The good news is that quite a few facials contain these ingredients, ranging from simple moisturizing masks all the way to chemical peels.
FACIALS REDUCE ACNE BREAKOUTS
Struggling with adult acne? You aren’t alone. The International Dermal Institute believes somewhere between 40 to 50 percent of the world’s population struggles with oily, acne-prone skin for life. A percentage of those patients experience cystic acne, abscesses, and persistent scarring that can decimate self-esteem.
As with oxidative stress, facials help to reduce acne, breakouts, and secondary skin infection risks in a few different ways:
Massage and proper skin cleansing gives your skin the support it needs to function well and repair itself over time.
Facials also help to gently open up and clear out pores. For some patients, this may reduce congestion and inflammation, lowering the frequency of flares, especially if you schedule a facial at regular intervals.
Specialized facials containing salicylic acid (similar to the ingredient found in Aspirin, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug), lactic acids, zinc, vitamin C, benzoyl peroxide, tea tree oil, and probiotics may be even more helpful for reducing breakouts. They aid the skin in regeneration and improve the skin’s ability to fight off acne-causing bacteria before it takes hold.
It’s important to note that severe acne isn’t always adequately treated by facials alone. In fact, you should see a physician or dermatologist if your acne includes cysts, abscesses, or any secondary infections. Facials are an effective adjunct to other treatment measures when used properly with the right guidance.
REGULAR FACIALS KEY TO GREAT-LOOKING SKIN
Your skin is a direct reflection of your inner health; it often mirrors how you feel inside, either physically or emotionally. It’s also your first defense against intruders, such as bacteria and viruses, that seek to make you sick.
Care for it and it will protect you and let you put your best face forward for years to come. Make facials a part of your wellness strategy today and enjoy a smoother, more youthful appearance, regardless of whether you’re 21 or 61.