What is Facial Skin Care all about?

The History of Facial Skin Care

Natural Skin Care

A brief history about facial skin care dates as far back as early 200BC At that time the ancient Egyptians were already showing an interest in hygiene for the skin as well as protection from the sun. In the hot and dry climate of Egypt, people have been looking for protection from the sun since more than 2 000 years ago.

Natural creams and oils were used as moisturizers by the early egyptians. It would be a very long time before the scientific development of skin care formulas in a modern laboratory. Even today many people believe in only using natural skin care products.

In South Africa we find natural skin care products made from honey and from aloe, to name just two. See here for more about honey-based skin care products. And see here for more about aloe-based skin care products.

The First Skin Care Products

The first cold cream was developed by the Roman Physician Galen. He melted beeswax into rose oil and added water. Around the 1100s Hildegarde of Bingen created an early recipe for moisturizer. This was made up from cooking barley in water, straining it through a cloth and utilizing this water to bathe the face. Early exfoliation (the removal of dead skin sitting on the surface of the skin) saw its roots in Indian women who used a treatment of flour or wheat husk mixed with milk to exfoliate.

In the 1930s the first sun screen was developed by 2 separate inventors, both chemists, Eugene Schueller and Franz Greiter. This spurred on the development of the first zinc sunscreen  in 1940. Franz Greiter developed SPF [sun protective factor] as a measure to block ultraviolet rays and in 1980 the first UVA / UVB sunscreen was developed.

Today there are many different products on the shelves of supermarkets and pharmacies that are specialized both for personal hygiene, sun protection and cosmetic purposes

What Is A Facial?

A facial is a procedure performed on the face which involves a variety of procedures including exfoliation, steam, extraction, creams, lotions, masks, peels and massage. They are used for general skin health as well as for specific skin conditions. They are usually conducted at beauty salons or spas.

There are different types of facials depending on products utilized. Some are categorized for example: European facial, ED light therapy facial and mini facial.

Exfoliation involves the removal of the oldest dead skin cells on the skin’s outermost surface. Exfoliation is involved in the process of all facials, during microdermabrasion or chemical peels at medical spas. Exfoliation can be achieved through mechanical or chemical means.


While regular skin cleansing is clearly beneficial, exfoliating your face on a regular basis can improve the results of your skin care routine and help rejuvenate your skin. Whether you have dry, normal, oily or sensitive skin, exfoliation can bring new life to your complexion.

There are two methods of exfoliating – physical, such as the use of scrub or chemical. Chemical exfoliators work by dissolving the “glue” between the cells, causing them to slough away. Here are 5 reasons to make exfoliating part of your daily routine.

● Helps clear Acne and Breakouts

Exfoliation helps to reduce the occurrence of acne and blackhead breakouts. Acne-prone skin sheds extra skin cells more than other skin types, but the cells do not fall away. Instead, they stick to the skin, clogging pores and hair follicles.

As this dead cell debris builds, the skin produces excess follicle oils—which lead to blackheads and blemishes. Think of regular exfoliation as a means of removing the impurities and reducing the likelihood of clogged pores and acne.

●     Improve Your Skin’s Texture

Exfoliating the tired, dead cells also speeds up the skin renewal process, allowing new healthy cells to take their place. This process turns your complexion from dull and dry to bright, vibrant, and smooth. In addition, regular exfoliation reduces fine lines and wrinkles and keeps your skin much softer!

●     Reduces Appearance of Large Pores

Along with dead cells, exfoliating also removes the dirt stuck deep inside your pores. Washing your skin alone will not accomplish this. When pores become clogged they appear larger, which is the last thing we all want.

By ‘decongesting’ your pores, through exfoliation, they will diminish in size allow your skin to have a glow.

●     Exfoliate Away Signs of Aging

As you age, your skin becomes drier and less elastic, which can result in lines and wrinkles. You may also notice a rougher skin texture.

Exfoliation offers a means of lightening and brightening age and sun spots. Retinoid compounds such as Retinu are effective and safe options to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles

●     Improves Absorption

Serum and moisturizers are better absorbed into skin that’s not blocked by layers of dead cells and dirt. Exfoliating allows your skin to be properly moisturized and stay healthy! This is also true for makeup and sunscreen.

Regular exfoliating of your face will help your makeup go on smoother; more even, and will also allow your sunscreen to better protect your skin.

What Is Extraction?

It is that part of the facial where an esthetician removes both blackheads and whiteheads. This occurs only after the skin has undergone thorough cleansing, exfoliation and even steaming. This assists in softening the plug of the hardened sebum which makes up the blackhead

Benefits of Extraction

There are controversial views regarding the benefits of extraction, Many who have undergone extraction, claim that it can be very therapeutic, having seen dirt leave your skin, giving u a feeling of being ‘pimple free’.

A New York City dermatologist, Dr, Neal Schults claims that faster healing of acne lesions and blemishes occur with extractions. He also advocates, however that only pus as in the case of a whitehead or blackhead can be extracted. Inflammations such as cysts cannot be extracted.

Facial Masks

A face mask is primarily used with the intention of treating a particular skin condition, so it’s most important to select the correct mask. There are homemade facial masks, usually incorporating natural ingredients as well as masks that are used by professionals.

All in all, facial masks are known to tighten and tone the skin, hydrate and nourish the skin. They also extrapolate impurities and assist blemish healing. A face mask can calm, soothe and rejuvenate the skin.

Types of Facial Masks

●     Clay Masks

The main function of a clay mask is to absorb the natural sebum and leave the skin dry and smooth. However, there are several other benefits of using a clay mask. By using clay masks on a regular basis, one can improve the circulation of the skin, remove dead skin cells, and give the skin an overall healthy glow.

Different facial skin masks use different types of clay. Cosmetic clays come in a variety of colors and mineral contents. As with any other cosmetic product, buyers should make sure they buy a clay mask that is suitable for their skin. Clay contains kaolin or bentonite which has tightening and sebum absorbing effects. This mask is effective in drawing oil and dirt to the skin’s surface.

●     Cream and Gel Masks

Setting masks are rubbery and require a peeling off at the end. Stress and tension builds in the eye area, and cream or gel masks can bring about the cool sensation around my eye sockets and forehead gives more relief than any headache medication. Although they are refreshing, they do not enjoy popularity and they are sometimes difficult to work with.

●     Homemade Masks

For centuries, fresh fruit, yoghurt, milk, eggs and honey have been used in the preparation of masks. The following are commonly used ingredients, in masks, each with their corresponding benefit:

Cucumbers are known for their cooling and soothing properties, hence they make good eye pads.

Avocadoes are rich in vitamins A, B1, B2, D and E and oil. They are good for use on dry, sensitive, skin

Honey has toning, hydrating and tightening properties, an absolute must in any skincare regime

Papaya contains papain, a protein digesting enzyme that dissolves the dead outer layers of the skin

Egg whites are excellent for toning and tightening the skin

Yogurt has natural lactic acid, which helps exfoliate the skin. It has its use as a skin softening mask and is appropriate for all skin type

Potatoes have hydrating properties and are good at reducing under eye puffiness

The Basic Steps of a Facial

●     Consultation

A facial should begin with a consultation. The esthetician might request some history on skin concerns and problems, diet, drugs and supplements taken, as well as hydration

●     Cleansing

A thorough cleansing then ensues utilizing cotton pads, wipes or sponges

●     Skin Analysis

In this procedure, the esthetician covers your eyes and focuses on your skin via a brightly lit magnifying lamp. This is the process of determining the skin type [dry, oily, combination, sensitive, normal] and skin conditions [acne, blackheads, aging, sun damaged, and dehydration]. Appropriate measures and products are then chosen and recommendations are made

●     Steam

A machine that directs thin vapour warn steam to the face is utilized. This often helps blackheads and whiteheads to be extracted. Sensitive skin often does not react well to steam

●     Facial Massage

This employs the use of classic strokes like effleurage to both relax and stimulate the facial muscles and the skin

●     Facial Mask

This takes into account the skin type and selects specific [preparations to treat specific skin conditions

●     Final Application

Following the completion of the above procedures, a toner, serums, moisturizer and sunscreen is applied if it is day. At night, a toner and a night cream could be applied

Other Types of Facials

●     Anti-Aging Facial

This is an oxygen facial when a mist of pure oxygen is part of the treatment or the products are formulated to deliver the oxygen to the dermis. It’s a collagen facial when collagen sheets are arranged on the skin.

An acne facial will focus on extractions. A photo facial is a separate light treatment to achieve desired results such as boosting collagen or treating acne.

●     Collagen Facial

This refers to a beauty care treatment procedure that utilizes collagen protein, with the intention of revitalizing the skin. Collagen is that protein found in the lower dermis of the skin responsible for the maintenance of skin structure and strength.

The aim of a collagen facial then, is to offset the aging process by replenishing the natural proteins in the skin, via external application. The typical collagen facial commences with a cleansing followed by exfoliation. Thereafter the skin is massaged with a collagen cream.

Instead of using a commercially available cream, a mixture of avocado and kiwi fruit can be used. This should ideally be left on for 30 minutes and wiped off with a wet cloth.

The face is then washed and cleaned with a warm cloth. In addition to this a collagen facial moisturizer can be used at night to improve skin appearance.

●     Acne Facial

These days acne treatments are not restricted to teenagers, in fact many people in their 20s and 30s are dealing with adult acne. This type of facial is usually recommended for those people who are prone to oily or acne skin or for those with uneven complexions.

The facial typically is appropriate for both men and women  and it incorporates a combination of steaming, deep cleansing and facial extractions to remove pore clogging sebum and a variety of healing masks and moisturizers. Salicylic and Glycolic acids usually aimed at managing flaring up acne are used.

●     Photo Facial

A photo facial is a 30 minute procedure, where intense pulses of light are used to penetrate the skin, causing collagen and blood vessels below the epidermis to constrict, reducing redness and age lines.

It results in minimal swelling and redness that often disappears shortly after treatment. The benefits however can be seen gradually a few weeks after. Good candidates for the procedure are people with blotchy sun damaged, or discoloured skin. Also those whose skin is affected by large pores, freckles and wrinkles may also benefit.

●     The Buccal Technique

This intense facial massage done from the inside of the mouth, aims at promoting blood circulation and results in a smooth tighter complexion. It is the signature technique of world class facialist, Nicola Joss.

It is somewhat painful, but of course varies from individual to individual, and the pain is related to how stress a person is.

●     The Parisian Peel

This aims at eliminating dryness, pigmentation and dullness. A blend of vitamins, amino acids and collagen building powders are infused into the skin via mesotherapy. A soothing cold cream mask is used at the end of the session to soothe the redness that may occur

●     The Triple Action Facial

This is a highly sophisticated machine which combines microdermabrasion, acoustic wave therapy and infrared laser in one treatment. It is effective in targeting all 3 layers of the skin and the treatment usually spans 1 hour. It is a 3 dimensional lift of the skin and is recommended for reducing wrinkles and elevating sagging skin.

●     The Super Charged Facial

This is a 90 minute session where technologies such as intense pulsed light, and laser are incorporated to treat a variety of skin concerns, ranging from sun damage to thread veins.

Proponents of this technique claim that it gives skin a new lease on life. Products containing vitamins A, C and E and a galvanic mask, plumps the skin and seals the ingredients in. Thereafter laser and or light technology is employed to address residual concerns.

Some Final Thoughts

Today facial care appears to be more of a necessity than a luxury. Whilst economic uncertainty diminishes confidence, it hardly affects one desire to remain and maintain good looks.

Research indicates that people search for products that achieve certain appearance related goals. All of us at sometime or the other in life have heard the term ‘face of the future’, emphasizing the effect of image on progress and productivity. Good looks it seems are an inborn silent aspiration, which surfaces in every individual.

Facials are no longer a woman dominated market. We see a rising trend in men also becoming aware and accessing such services. With concoctions that can be whipped up in the home to hours of high tech treatments involving specialized equipment, skin care regimes are sure here to stay.

Ready to face up to the challenge and qualify as a beauty therapist? Skills academy will help you to rise to the challenge and freshen up your skills with one of our many fabulous beauty therapy courses. With great study group options and experienced, and knowledgeable course experts available to you at your fingertips, Skills Academy can offer you the best possible Distance Learning experience that there is. We care about your studies and we strive to ensure that every students gets the attention and dedication that they need to become world class Distance Learning students.

Check out this great slideshow for more info on facial skin care:

Last Updated: 29th December, 2016

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