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The Science of Skin Facials

People often associate facials with luxury spas or the relaxing ambience of high-end skin clinics. But, behind all the comforting fragrances and soothing music lies a deeply rooted scientific rationale for professional skin facials.

Facials offer an approach to skin health that is grounded in both dermatology and skin physiology. They are designed to address a variety of skin concerns, from common ones like dullness and dehydration to more intricate issues like premature aging or hyperpigmentation.  And on top of all that, they are both relaxing and produce results if you get one that is suited to the skin issues you’re dealing with.

Skin Anatomy and Why Facials Work

The effectiveness of professional facials is due to the way each step is combined with our understanding of skin anatomy.


The outermost layer of the skin, the epidermis, plays a vital role in protecting our bodies from external aggressors. While it acts as a barrier, it’s also dynamic – constantly renewing itself as old cells shed and new ones emerge. Facials target this layer to remove accumulated debris, ensuring the epidermis remains healthy and vibrant.


Situated below the epidermis, the dermis is where much of the skin’s essential components reside: collagen, elastin, and pores. These elements are fundamental to our skin’s structure, stretchability, and overall health. Professional facials, through processes like deep cleansing and massage, stimulate the dermis, promoting collagen production and ensuring pores remain unclogged.

Subcutaneous Tissue

The deepest layer, the subcutaneous tissue, connects our skin to the underlying muscles and bones. While not directly targeted during a facial, the health of this layer is crucial for overall skin resilience and appearance.

Science in Every Step 

When you consider the above and the step-by-step process of what happens when you get a facial at a skin clinic, you’ll see there’s science behind every step of the process. Different types of facials may have slightly different steps, though here is what you’ll commonly experience.

  1. Cleansing

Starting with a clean canvas is one of the most important steps. The cleansing step eliminates dirt, oils, and makeup from the skin, particularly from the surface of the epidermis. By doing so, it ensures that the next products and treatments can penetrate your skin effectively without any barriers.

  1. Exfoliation

This step targets the epidermis by sloughing off dead skin cells that accumulate on the surface. By revealing the fresher, newer cells underneath, the skin not only appears brighter but also improves its ability to absorb products. On a deeper level, some exfoliants can also stimulate the dermis, promoting increased collagen production.

  1. Steam

Steam is often used to open up the pores, making them more receptive to treatments. This step directly impacts the dermis, which is of course where pores are located. Steam also aids in softening any stubborn blackheads or whiteheads, preparing them for extraction.

  1. Extraction

For those with clogged pores, extraction is a beneficial step. When done correctly, it clears the pores without causing harm to your skin, ensuring the dermis remains healthy and free from potential acne-causing blockages.

  1. Massage

Massaging the face during a facial is about so much more than just relaxation, though it’s often one of the most relaxing parts. A massage stimulates blood flow, ensuring that the dermis and even the deeper subcutaneous tissue receive essential nutrients. Moreover, a well-executed massage can aid in lymphatic drainage, helping remove toxins from the skin layers.

  1. Mask and Final Treatments

Depending on the skin type and specific concerns, various masks can be applied. These masks, filled with active ingredients, are designed to penetrate the skin layers, offering hydration, nourishment, or targeted treatments. After the mask, final treatments like serums or moisturizers lock in the benefits, ensuring the skin remains protected and hydrated.

Is it Worth Getting Facials Regularly?

Absolutely yes. Regular facials are wonderful if clear skin is a priority for you. They address each layer of the skin and can sometimes help you avoid skin concerns in the longer term, such as uneven tones, early signs of aging, and chronic skin congestion. Professional facials also offer deep cleansing that standard skincare routines might miss.  As you can imagine, the deeper cleansing that happens during a facial can also prime your skin to be even more receptive, maximizing the impact of your daily skincare products.

The joy of visiting a skin clinic is also such a wonderful piece of self-care on top of the extra attention you’re putting toward your skin. The tranquil environment, gentle care, and the feeling of being pampered can give you moments of relaxation and well-being you will always look forward to.

Regular appointments with skincare professionals also allow for frequent assessment of skin health, catching potential issues early and providing guidance on best skincare practices. This can be especially important if you haven’t been diligent about getting skin checks regularly.

Concerns about Getting Facials 

While there are some clear benefits to getting facials, you should always ensure you go to a reputable clinic that also offers a skin consultation before your facial treatment. If you get a facial not suited to your skin type, it’s possible that it could lead to breakouts, skin irritation, or increased sensitivity. That’s the opposite of the clear skin you’re going for!  If you’re uncertain, always check in with your dermatologist first.

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