Everything You Need to Know About Facial Abuse


I can't remember the last time I had a facial at a hotel resort, spa or medical office. Why? Because most facials can do more harm than good. I like to refer to this as "facial abuse." The idea that all facials are created equal is one of the biggest skincare myths. A good facial doesn't come from a generic menu or just any esthetician; it's custom made to your skincare needs at that particular moment. And that customization and skill set to treat your skin condition requires a highly experienced skincare professional with a cutting-edge science based approach.

What is a Facial?

You probably know that a facial can give your skin that coveted glow and help with everything from uneven texture and hyperpigmentation to breakouts. But a "facial" is a broad term that doesn't feature a setlist of products or procedures. It should, however, always compliment your ever-changing skin.

From stress levels and hormonal changes to outside temperatures, a wide range of factors can affect how your skin looks and feels today. Say you were on vacation in St. Barths or Aspen, for example. Your skin would need ingredients and treatments in that location to be completely different from its requirements back home. 

The Importance of a Customized Facial

Like fingerprints, everyone's skin is unique. So it's important to realize that not all types of facials are right for your skin and that a facial that's right today may not work for your skin tomorrow. Trends like caviar and bee venom certainly sound tempting, but the likelihood is they're not formulated for your specific skincare needs. 

Instead of viewing facials as a simple, one-size-fits-all treatment, think of them as a form of art. It takes years to achieve the essential hands on experience, and to truly master the communication skills needed to customize a facial to your current skin and lifestyle. Dermatologists spend over a decade studying to become board-certified, and estheticians spend hundreds of hours practicing to qualify. Even then, you need to make sure that your dermatologist has extensive cosmetic experience post-residency. At Flora Kim Dermatology, our estheticians are supervised by dermatologists to provide a deeper level of knowledge about your skin and how best to treat it seamlessly, factoring in any medical skin concerns you may be battling. So whether you need a facial for acne or dull skin, be mindful to visit a well-qualified skincare expert with a focus on bespoke beauty.

Remember that even a personalized facial can only do so much. For starters, no facial can permanently "lift" your face. Any "lifting" effect you may have seen is an illusion created by temporary swelling, increased blood flow or muscle stimulation. Plus, these "lifts" only tend to last a few hours. But together with the right at-home regime of skincare products and tools, your bespoke facial can play a role in helping you reach your overall skincare goals. 

How Often Should You Get a Facial?

If you think you need a facial every week or every month, you may be right. If you're fully committed to fixing issues like pigmentation or your skin happens to have a high level of sun damage, you may need a weekly facial plus a light peel for a specific period. But others may only need a monthly, or even quarterly, treatment to work toward healthy, radiant skin. Like everything in skincare, the answer is unique to you. And just as your skincare routine changes over time, so will the frequency of treatments that you'll need.