According to Skin Care Industry News, Americans spend over $43 billion per year on their skin. Plumping it, shrinking it, poking it. We do whatever we can to keep the Fountain of Youth flowing, and facials may be one of the most common services your esthetician may recommend for a variety of ailments. Skin is too dry? Try a hydrating facial. Wrinkles setting in? Try an exfoliating peel. Whatever your goal, chances are there’s a facial for that. The options are myriad, but who’s to know what’s actually effective?

There are four rules to live by when you decide it’s time to face up to a facial:

Check the ingredients.
What brands is the spa using? Can you check the ingredients lists of products beforehand? If the scientific-sounding names bring visions of rashes, ask your esthetician to explain what they are. Not all chemicals are bad; some just sound like it. And, of course, discuss any allergies or sensitivities with your esthetician beforehand. The more information they have, the better!

Check the perks.
Since facials will cost you some of your hard-earned money, it’s important to ask what the service includes. If there’s a lounge area at the spa, how long will you be welcome before things start to get awkward? For example, at Hiatus Spa in The Pearl, facials include a purifying foot soak, aromatherapy, foot massage, hand massage and facial and shoulder massage. The entire experience should be relaxing from start to finish!

Check the down time.
Most estheticians will recommend not wearing makeup for at least the rest of the day after a facial. But should you anticipate redness? Irritation? There’s also the age-old idea that facials can bring toxins to the surface and therefore cause a breakout — is that a possibility you should be aware of?

Check the results.
It’s also imperative to have realistic expectations regarding the lasting effects of your facial. Of course, most spas will caution that the best results will happen after regular appointments, but if you’re more of a one-and-done type of person, what should you be looking for? Minimized pores? Less oil in the T-Zone? Discuss with your esthetician beforehand so no one walks away disheartened.

Above all, Hiatus lead esthetician Hillary Robinson says some things are true no matter what. “Facials are greatly beneficial for guests of all ages,” she explains. “However, our skin and our skin’s needs change throughout our lifespan. Age, skin concerns and skin health goals are all factors to consider when determining when to start getting facials, frequency of facials and types of services. No matter what skin type or age, however, consistent use of antioxidant serums and sunscreen is absolutely nonnegotiable for healthy skin.”

By Aquila Mendez-Valdez