In a world where the pursuit of flawless, radiant skin is unrelenting, it's no surprise that quick and easy solutions quickly capture hearts, minds and social media feeds. Estheticians and spas find themselves facing a challenging dilemma. The allure of fast and touchless skin care treatments has grown exponentially, driven not only by the promise of swift results — thanks in part to TikTok — but also by the economic imperative to stay afloat in an ever-competitive industry. In today's world, keeping your business alive is no small feat.
"I know one thing for certain: creating a customized facial for each individual is an art form."
But, in our quest for rapidity, are we unwittingly sacrificing the artistry of our craft? Are we letting the invaluable elements of touch and time that have long been the cornerstone of skin care slip through our fingers? With 27 years of experience as an esthetician and 24 years running my spa, Saving Faces, I know one thing for certain: creating a customized facial for each individual is an art form.
"Estheticians, armed with their expert knowledge and intuitive touch, possess a unique ability to glean a wealth of information about a client's skin during the cleansing process alone."
Estheticians, armed with their expert knowledge and intuitive touch, possess a unique ability to glean a wealth of information about a client's skin during the cleansing process alone. From the telltale signs of dryness and acne to more subtle indicators like roughness, dehydration, irritation, heat, inflammation, and coldness—our hands, guided by a deliberate and methodical touch, serve as diagnostic tools. Through this process, we craft a personalized beauty blueprint that ensures the most effective treatment and a lasting, flawless glow.
Of course, estheticians have at their disposal an array of effective modalities including: LED, microcurrent, radio frequency, microchanneling, cryotherapy, high-frequency, ultrasound, microdermabrasion and mesotherapy. Yet, it's vital to note that while these modalities offer tremendous potential for enhancing the skin, their misuse can lead to unintended long-term consequences. Newer and trending treatments are no different.
Instant beauty treatments like IPL laser or Tixel machines claim to offer "quick 15-minute skin rejuvenation" by stimulating collagen and elastin production in the dermis. But, do the numbers add up? Considering that antioxidants, which play a crucial role in skin protection, are more abundant in the epidermis and the stratum corneum than in the dermis, we must question whether IPL laser and Tixel machines truly deliver on their claims.
"Instant beauty treatments like IPL laser or Tixel machines claim to offer "quick 15-minute skin rejuvenation" ...But, do the numbers add up?"
Trending treatments such as Thermo Fractional facials may yield immediate gratification, but their long-term efficacy is far from established. Furthermore, we must not underestimate the potential disruption of our skin's acid mantle and homeostasis, which can genuinely have long-term consequences.
Amidst the frenzy for quick results, it's imperative to pause and consider the enduring value of self-care. Whether through meditation, nourishing meals, nature walks, or scheduled facials… you are deserving of the time and attention it takes to nurture yourself.
What treatments have I found to be effective?
Those that offer lasting results with deep, long-term benefits.
To make a lasting impact on your skin's health, begin by embracing human touch. Feel what you need. The preservation of an intact skin barrier, shielding the delicate microbiome from harsh chemicals and invasive treatments, is paramount. Look for gentle treatments that improve your skin slowly over time.
Consider the Japanese practice of shinrin yoku, or Forest Bathing, which has been scientifically proven to reduce stress hormone production, improve happiness, boost creativity, lower heart rate and blood pressure, enhance the immune system, and expedite recovery from illness. It's a testament to the symbiotic relationship between a contented mind and radiant skin. One of my favorite sayings for clients is, "happy mind, happy skin." Well-being is an ecosystem.
Intraoral buccal massage, a growing trend in the natural beauty industry, has garnered attention for a good reason. This technique, which addresses both the inside and outside of the face, strengthens and tones facial muscles, resulting in a defined jawline and firmer, tighter facial contours. It is a transformative journey that unfolds over time, much like a fitness regimen.
To complement these practices, gua sha, jade rollers and Kansa wand treatments offer holistic approaches promoting circulation, reducing puffiness and facilitating lymphatic drainage.
Herbal poultices are another lovely option. An Herbal Poultice or “Luk Pra Kob” (literally translated to mean “pressing herbal sphere”) is a traditional Thai modality, best described as a deep heat medicinal muscle treatment. It dates back to 14th Century Thailand when hot packs were administered to soldiers returning from battle. A bundle of therapeutic herbs was steamed and applied to the body for healing. The body absorbs the heat, along with the organic herbs, easing muscle aches and pains, alleviating stiff joints, stimulating circulation, increasing lymphatic drainage and detoxifying stagnant energy in the body. While typically used in massage, smaller compresses are used in facial treatments. Using herbal poultice on the skin can reduce puffiness, stimulate blood circulation and reduce inflammation. It also increases lymphatic flow for a sculpting and lifting effect.
For those seeking to maintain their skin's health between facials, at-home microcurrent devices and LED facial mask devices provide accessible solutions. While they may not match the potency of professional equipment found in dermatologist offices or esthetician studios, they empower individuals to take charge of their skin care journey and extend the benefits of professional treatments.
As we navigate the delicate balance between fast and touchless skin care and timeless beauty, we must remember that genuine radiance often emerges from a synergy of modern innovations and ancient wisdom. The human touch, in all its artistry and nuance, remains an enduring hallmark of skin care. Just as classic fashion items endure through the decades, a classic facial remains a timeless pillar of skin care—a testament to the enduring importance of touch and time in the pursuit of beauty. In embracing this balance, we can unlock the true potential of our skin and celebrate its inherent beauty, both inside and out.