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What Is A Facial & Are They Worth It? A Complete Guide To Skin Care

FacialThe term "facial" and the facial treatment was created in the 1930’s when skin care was a luxury and people knew very little about the science of skin care. The skin care world is completely different today due to science and the discovery of new active ingredients. However, the consumer’s perception of a facial has remained stuck in the last century. The spa industry hasn’t helped by promoting an endless list of facials that include gimmicks like “gold” and “chocolate” facials. There are even facials that include feathers being stroked over your body or bells rung over your chakras.

Many of these trendy facials, while entertaining, are not based on scientific evidence and provide zero benefit. I will break down what is real and what is pseudo-science.


What is a Facial?

The traditional facial process is cleanse, extraction, mask, massage and moisture with salon products. Very little has changed over the last 90 years, in fact beauty schools still teach the same information they did from the 1930’s. More and more the focus has been on the relaxation aspect and many day spas promote a unique gimmick like a gold or chocolate facial. The types of facials available are now endless and confusing. While many of these expensive facial treatments feel nice and smell good, they provide very little benefit to the skin. A traditional facial will only cleanse and moisturise the top layer of the epidermis. It will not penetrate to the deeper layers to create change. In fact, a regular home skin care regime with a prescriptive active skin care will do more for your skin than a professional facial. 

Don’t get me wrong, some people will be happy to spend a lot of money to get regular relaxing facials and there isn’t anything wrong with this. For many people, their skin is normal with very few real skin concerns so over the counter skin care and traditional facials are enough. However, if your aim is to improve skin texture and reduce the signs of ageing then there are advanced science-based approaches that are now available that will get you far better results.


Customised Medi-Facials & Device Facials

If your goal is to see a change in your skin concern and experience real results, then choosing a facial off a large menu yourself based on how the facial sounds isn’t going to make any difference. Only an experienced therapist that has access to multiple active cosmeceutical brands will be able to customise a facial along with a chemical peel or device that can effectively treat real skin concerns. 

Skin Therapist Performing Facial TreatmentAn experienced skin therapist will be able to analyse and diagnose the specific skin concern and then recommend a correct course of action. You can normally tell when a less experienced skin therapist is just doing the standard steps of a facial when they are not providing science-based advice on how to improve your skin. Inexperienced therapists will only give very broad explanations on what they are doing and not talk about your specific concerns.


Medi-facials are the modern approach to providing real results to a traditional facial. A professional-grade chemical peel is added onto the facial. The type of peel is customised based on the required concern. This could be for premature ageing, pigmentation, hydration or a combination of all these. The biggest difference is that the peel is professional-only, that targets the deeper layers of the epidermis. In fact, some peels are designed to completely remove the epidermis to promote total cell renewal. Consumers do not have access to these types of chemical peels and also do not have the training to implement the peel. This is a specialised category of chemical peel and can be harmful when not used correctly. Not to be mistaken with the “peels” you buy over the counter. For information on Cosmelan Professional Peel for pigmentation and melasma, click here.


Device facials is the next level facial using medical-based technology to create physiological changes in the deeper layers of the dermis. The modality used is either through the use of laser or radio frequency (RF). Both laser and RF energy devices are the latest generation of proven devices for facial rejuvenation that target skin concerns that creams and peels have little or no effect on. These devices create controlled damage to the target areas, thereby stimulating the body’s natural wound healing process. The targeted areas are flooded with macrophages to remove pigmentation or new collagen cells to replace lost old collagen. While there are many claims that skin care or facials can help with signs of ageing or pigmentation, the only real measurable results are from devices. Science now understands how the human body works and through medical devices we use energy to kick-start the human body’s system to renew the cells that ageing naturally slows down. We can’t stop ageing but we can stop the visible signs of ageing.

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Cosmeceutical Skin Care vs Over-the-counter Retail Skin Care

There is still a need for home skin care. Cosmeceutical skin is the category of skin care that has high levels of active ingredients that can cause changes in the skin. These types of skin care are not available over-the-counter from department stores or a chemist or supermarkets. Cosmeceutical skin care are only available from professional skin clinics because an experienced skin therapist needs to analyse the individual’s skin to prescribe the correct product. In fact, a person choosing the wrong product will not rectify the concern, but an incorrect product can make the condition worse. For this reason, cosmeceuticals are prescriptive. This point explains why anyone can purchase over-the-counter retail products (Dermalogica, Kiehls and Clarins) without assistance, the reality is these products do not contain enough of the active ingredients to affect the skin for better or worse. They are safe to use no matter how or who uses them. They do feel good and will clean and moisturise your skin. However, when they make big claims to fix pigmentation or reduce signs of ageing, these claims are now misleading. The reason why these products are in every department store or online is because majority of the population do not have real skin concerns or are not concerned by their skin problems. Over-the-counter retail skin care meets their needs. However, for the other part of the population that have real skin concerns, cosmeceuticals are needed to target these specific skin concerns.


Ideal Skin Care Plan

The ideal skin care plan for someone that is serious about maintaining youthful, blemish-free skin is not complicated. It is important to understand maintenance is better than invasive solutions like injections or surgery. Maintenance means you have a natural appearance and look age appropriate. Invasive solutions no matter how careful the surgeon is, will mean you look different and most often unnatural. People will always notice a change in a short period of time. It is the same as anything in life, just like maintaining shiny paint on a Ferrari is better than having to get the Ferrari repainted in 30 years. Cosmetic surgery has a place but normalising invasive solutions as the go-to-solution is going to extremes, especially when there are far better and more natural looking approaches.


An ideal skin care plan is a holistic approach. Here are the 3 steps.

Step 1 : Cosmeceutical home skin care program

  • cleanse to remove oil and superficial dead skin cells
  • active ingredients to treat and prevent formation of pigmentation like sun or age spots
  • anti-oxidant ingredients to assist in renewal of healthy cells
  • smoothing ingredients to build natural barriers to prevent sensitised skin
  • deeply moisturising ingredients to nourish dehydrated skin


Step 2: Professional Only Medi-Facials/ Peels

  • dissolve and remove layers of the epidermis
  • stimulate the production of new epidermal skin
  • removal of superficial pigmented lesions
  • reduction of superficial fine lines
  • improve skin texture


Step 3: Device Facial

  • energy-based device to cause controlled damage to deep layers of the dermis
  • stimulates the wound healing and production of new collagen matrix
  • reduction of deep pigmented lesions
  • remodelling of scarred tissue i.e. acne scar or surgery scar
  • replaced lost plump youthful collagen cells
  • improve deep lines
  • non-surgical face lift results
  • natural appearance


Look Younger For Longer

Looking younger for longer and also still looking like your natural self is fast becoming the most popular approach. The quick “Hollywood” approach is not favoured anymore in the long run. Our recommended ideal skin care plan is no more work as it will just become part of your daily routine, not unlike your usual lifestyle habits. As a society we are starting to come back to authentic approaches and looking after your skin is no different.


Free Skin Analysis Consultation

At Detail Smoother Skin, we offer a complimentary skin analysis consultation, where you can discuss your skin concerns and treatment options with an expert skin therapist. We will give you honest and professional advice and can customise a skin care plan. 

Click below to book online now or call us on 02 9231 5999.

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Book Online or call 02 8020 5800 for a free consultation