Face Facts

Let’s face it.  Mother Nature and Father Time, who I teasingly call our biological parents, always are at work on that image we look at in the mirror.   If you’re over 35 and haven’t given your face much thought, you’re lying to the image in that mirror because you must take time to maintain healthy skin in order to have great skin in the future.

Facials and scrubs make beauty dreams come true and they’re not just for the supermodels and folks you see on “Entertainment Tonight.”  These treatments replenish and nourish the skin, and help reduce stress too.  Of course you can do them yourself.  If you buy commercial brands for facials, scrubs and other beauty treatments, select those only from a manufacturer you trust.  Read and follow the directions, test for allergies, and give yourself time.  Any skin treatment, including facials, should never be rushed.

If it’s been ages since you’ve had beauty treatments, make an appointment to talk with the facial professional, called an esthetician (and sometimes an aesthetician).  You can do this before a beauty treatment, too, and find out what happens during the treatment, how much time to allow, what products will be used, the costs and options, and if you should avoid sunlight after the facial, etc.  Facial massages help stimulate and tone facial muscles, soothe and rest the nerves, and promote relaxation of tense muscles throughout the head, neck and shoulder areas.  They can help correct and improve skin conditions such as minor cases of acne, blackheads, oiliness and dryness.  Men and women over 45 often have a series of facials to treat over exposure to the sun and damage from weather and wind.  The esthetician might say to talk with a dermatologist if they’re concerned about sun damage.  You may not want to schedule a facial for the afternoon before your high school reunion or other important gathering as sometimes after a facial or skin treatment, the skin will appear flushed or pink for a few hours.

Facials aren’t just for the face.  Back “facials” help improve the texture of the skin and provide deep cleansing to areas often neglected or hard to reach and can help correct conditions such as dryness, oiliness, blackheads and minor cases of acne.  The treatment, when performed by an experience esthetician, includes cleansing, a mask, extractions if needed, and re-hydration along with a delicious and relaxing massage.

While you are having a facial, there are other options you might want to consider.  Body facials or “scrubs” are the best things since pockets.  Sometimes salt, sugar, minerals or oatmeal are used to gently remove the dry, top-most layer of skin.   The result?  The body is purified and you have a total feeling of calm, even after the most hectic day.

Paraffin hand and foot treatments can be addictive. Again, there are products on the market for do-it-yourself-ers.  Guests at the Oaks at Ojai often book these when making reservations.  These treatments deeply soften and moisturize the skin, exfoliating dry skin and as we get ready for sandal season, you’ll want to consider these treatments.  The hands and feet are dipped in warm wax and allowed to dry while the therapist massages the head and neck.  Once the paraffin wax is slipped off, the hands and feet are massaged with a rich moisturizer.  The results?  Smooth skin that looks and feels younger.

What else do you need to know?  A high-quality spa will give you a questionnaire about your skin care and medical conditions.  This information may affect the types of treatments they use so be honest.  Keep in mind that organics aren’t for everyone. Organic facial products are popular, but many people are allergic to plant oils. Speak up if you have a history of sensitivity to any plants.  For instance a dear friend is extremely allergic to nuts, so an almond meal scrub could have dire effects on her sensitive skin.  Ask about extractions, not all estheticians do them.  Extractions can be a good way to rid your skin of blackheads, not whiteheads.  A good esthetician  practitioner will never hurt you and will stop if something is not coming out easily.

Need another reason to schedule some face time?  The calming atmosphere of the spa room, a soothing facial treatment, and just taking a few minutes to relax may help reduce the risk of short-term high blood pressure due to anxiety and stress. In addition to setting aside time for a facial treatment, lower your risk of high blood pressure by making healthy lifestyle choices, eating a balanced low-sodium diet, and exercising regularly.

Let’s face these facts.  Isn’t it time to care for your face just like you do with your body to stay fit for life?

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