Regular facials are a good way to refresh, hydrate, and plump your skin.
By Georgetta Lordi Morque
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I’ve always been impressed by women whose skin has aged well. Do they simply have great genes? Do they ever go to the beach? Or do they follow an ongoing regimen that includes regular visits to a dermatologist, daily applications of high quality products and frequent facials?
I have spent years in the sun, but since I still don’t have a regular skin care routine, I decided that it was time to take a closer look at the various options for protecting my skin, particularly facials. Do they really help your skin? And, if so, how often should you invest in them?
I checked in with Angela Lamb, MD, (left) Assistant Professor of Dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan, for professional advice. She told me that facials are in fact a good way to refresh and hydrate your skin, particularly if you are over fifty. “Most facials involve a cleansing, a mask and moisturizing,” she said. “If you also get a chemical peel, you may get some exfoliation benefits. Over time and with multiple facials, you may get some mild anti-aging benefits.”
But there are so many different face treatments, ranging from oxygen facials to anti-aging facials, what’s best for you? Dr. Lamb recommends that mature women select facials that focus on hydration, since mature skin does not typically harbor blackheads that need extraction. In selecting an esthetician, she suggests looking for a specialist who only performs facials. “Find someone who also asks questions about your skin before performing a facial,” she advises. “They should want to get to know your skin and not apply a one size fits all approach.” Dr. Lamb also cautions against receiving overly aggressive treatments that use a lot of harsh products.
Some women, in fact, are resourceful enough to apply facials at home by purchasing masks, peels and other products. Others whip up natural and more economical concoctions in their own kitchens. [Just Google “at home facials” and you’d be surprised at the number of entries on the topic.] While home facials can complement those applied by a professional, Dr. Lamb says that “estheticians often do several things at once: they use steam, a peel and hydrate your skin right afterwards. And it’s hard to do this at home by yourself.”
For women who haven’t indulged in facials, it’s not too late to start. Dr. Lamb suggests getting a facial every three to four months. Yet for long term benefits, the best thing you can do for your skin is wear sun protection religiously, stay out of the sun and add a prescription strength retinoid to your regimen. “Facials are not necessary,” says Dr. Lamb, “but since they often relieve stress, they are a nice addition to your skin care regimen.”
While a facial won’t bring back your 20-something skin, regular treatments can help.
Following my conversation with Dr. Lamb, I decided to make facials a regular routine, much like getting a haircut, since after the few facials I had had in the past, I remember my skin looking plumped up and dewy. There was now comfort in knowing that I would be giving my face some needed TLC from a specialist. And I remember that facials were relaxing, which is always beneficial. So for women like me who have gotten a wake-up call to step up their skin care, regular facials might be a good start in the ongoing quest for more youthful looking skin. At the same time, it’s also wise to see a dermatologist to check for possible skin cancers.
In New York City, facials are readily available at hundreds of spas and health clubs, as well as hotels, cosmetic retail outlets and department stores. Prices are typically around $100 and higher and tips are expected. Packages and memberships, when available, can be more cost effective. Shorter sessions of 30 and 45 minutes are lower priced options. Don’t forget to ask friends for recommendations and be sure to check out the spas in your neighborhood. Also be on the lookout for Spa Week, which occurred this past spring offering $50 facials and will probably occur again this fall at locations throughout the city. Visit www.spaweek.com for more information and other specials. (Prices may have changed slightly since this story first appeared. –editor)
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Ten Top Facial Salons in New York City
Bloomingdale’s at 59th St. and Lexington Ave. Combine shopping and a facial at the same time. Clarins offers the convenience of spa services right in the store. La Mer has a complimentary facial with $350.00 purchase. Both offer 50 to 80-minute anti-aging facials by Clarins and La Mer and many other options. Stop by to learn more or call 212-705-2000.
Bluemercury Of the nine Bluemercury stores around the city, seven have spas. Services include everything from a 30-minute Fast Blast that includes cleansing, glycolic peel and vitamin oxygen to hydrating facials to brightening facials and more. There’s also a seasonal facial every few months. Bluemercury is currently offering a 50-minute La Mer Toning and Lifting Summer Prep Facial featuring “The Miracle Broth” to soothe and hydrate your skin ($95). 2305 Broadway at West 83rd St; 341 Amsterdam Avenue at 76th St; 1311 Third Avenue at 75th St; 88th St. & 3rd Ave; 695 Sixth Ave. at 22nd Street; 865 Broadway (Union Square) and 404 Sixth Ave. at 8th St.).
Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa at 663 Fifth Ave., has been a favorite venue for facials for over 100 years. You can’t go wrong with the Arden Standard ($85). Other options are the Ceramide Anti-Aging Facial ($160) or the Oxygen Infusion Facial ($195), among others. There are also several peels and many add-on enhancements.
Heyday at 1130 Broadway believes that professional skin care should be part of everyone’s life. To encourage this, Heyday is open weekdays until 10 p.m. and weekends until 8 p.m. There are several membership options, starting at $74 per month, and a variety of packages, starting at $375. Perks are included. Heyday facials are booked in 30, 50 and 75 minute sessions. Check out Facials 101 in the FAQ of the website, which is helpful for newbies.
Kasia European Day Spa at 202 East 83rd St., 212-831-6822. The owner Kasia Opoka brings 17 years of experience to her Upper East Side Spa and offers many types of facials and anti-aging treatments. The menu includes a pumpkin enzyme peel to accelerate exfoliation and the Rene Guinot Hydradermie Lift, referred to as “fitness for the face.” Prices range from $50 for a 30-minute treatment to $150 for 90 minutes.
Ling New York at 12 East 16th St. and 105 West 77th St. In 1984 Ling Chan of Hong Kong opened her first spa in New York City and went on to develop her own collection of skincare without known irritants such as mineral oils and lanolin. She became renowned in the city and has serviced Barbara Streisand, Meg Ryan and Madonna, among others. Prices range from $50 for a 30-minute express treatment to $265 for a 90-minute facial. There is also a membership program.
Massage Envy Spa. The relatively new Massage Envy Spa makes facials affordable with its $69.99 monthly membership that includes one facial per month and a variety of benefits. The spa offers several different types of facials, all using Murad products. There are currently four spas in the greater New York City area: 344 East 63rd St.; 525 West 42nd St., 312 East 23rd St. and 147 Remsen St. in Brooklyn Heights.
The Renew Anti-Aging Center at 109 East 73rd St., believes that our exposure to dust, pollution and dehydration warrants regular facials to repair and rejuvenate our skin. A variety of therapies are offered, ranging from a Rosacea Facial to others that infuse vitamin C and hydration. Ninety-minute treatments start at $275. There is also a 15-minute complimentary skin analysis to help new clients learn about their skin’s condition and develop a customized plan.
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Georgetta Lordi Morque is an award-winning freelance writer and public relations consultant who focuses on sports, fitness and health.
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