So skipping Fall and heading straight for Winter is a current Toronto trend. And I am not sure that I like it.
Imagine how our skin feels.
My skin tends to get dehydrated, lose elasticity, “look” tired, and produce way more oil than in the summer. Now, mix in periods and the hormonal acne, clogged pores, and flaky skin that comes along with them. It’s not like stressing about these issues actually helps, either. Yet, I manage them like I usually do with any seasonal change: I make an appointment with my skin therapist.
Whether you call them facialists, estheticians, or skin therapists, they are professionals educated and experienced in performing non-surgical skincare treatments. I am talking exfoliation, blackhead extraction (my favourite), hydration, brightening, product recommendations, and so on. As somebody who has skincare concerns, trusts professionals with them, AND is heavily invested in her skin, seeing a skin therapist is a must for everyone.
Based on my experiences, here are the 8 Reasons Why You Need To See A Skin Therapist, because they are…
During your first visit, before your makeup-free and vulnerable face even hits the pillow, you will have to fill out a skincare questionnaire. This, usually two-page, carefully designed questionnaire concerns itself with your medical history, allergies, and hereditary conditions. Similarly, it inquires about your current skincare regimen, problems, and goals. (Fibbing about your water intake, use of sunscreen, and frequency of physical activity is not recommended. Your skin won’t back you up on this one…)
Finally, your skin therapist uses this information to address your skincare concerns, explore their origins, and suggest appropriate changes to your skincare regimen.
Talk about due diligence.
While the questionnaire may only provide half of the picture, it is up to the skin therapist to professionally analyze your skin. This includes interpreting your own description of your skin type and concerns, critically and objectively examining your skin, and assessing the appropriate steps for well-balanced facial skin. A skin therapist is equipped to detect signs of dehydration (reoccurring problem of mine), areas of excessive oil production, polluted pores, and many other concerns.
Lastly, this applies to first-timers and, even more so, to return clients, since progress analysis allows for a deeper understanding what works, what doesn’t, and why.
The term “professional” has a dual meaning here, with the first explaining their professional license to analyze and treat your skin. The second, taking on a less formal approach, applies to hygienically extracting the “gunk” out of your pores with the least amount of discomfort, redness, and scarring.
As a serial blackhead-squeezer, I can really appreciate that.
Similarly, they employ appropriate methods of exfoliation, dirt- and oil-pulling, whitehead extraction, and hydration boosting to ensure that professional cleanse and skincare re-start. Personalized for every skin type and concern.
Whether the reason for your visit stems from clogged pores or some much needed R&R, do use this hour for educational purposes, too. Unlike your “DIY Skincare” board, a good skin therapist is equipped with theoretical and practical knowledge, has a substantial amount of supervised training and experience, and is passionate about their work and continuous learning. Using this opportunity to ask your burning skincare questions is highly recommended.
What is causing my skin to react this way? Which products are you applying now? Why? What changes should I be making to my routine? What should I be focusing on this season?
In my experience, I have found them to be excited to share their steps, personal tips and tricks, and trusted brands.
First of all, they are human in that they, too, share in our skincare concerns. Their skin is not immune to stress, seasonal changes, hormones, and aging. Their secrets lie in their ability to manage these concerns with the right products. (“Skin therapists, they are just like us!”)
Second, their exposure to effective and dermatologist-tested products is advanced, to say the least. They are educated on them, trained with them, and work with them on a daily basis. Similarly, they are able to test them on themselves and purchase them for discounted prices.
In other words, they are living and breathing skincare junkies, and my skin wouldn’t have it any other way.
You know that embarrassed feeling you get when a dentist asks if you have been flossing regularly, but you already both know that you haven’t? Yeah, that feeling extends onto my sessions with a skin therapist. And let me tell you, they don’t hold back on the truth, either.
I remember seeing a skin therapist after a tropical vacation, only to hear that I have drastically dehydrated and pigmented my skin after not saying a single word to her about it. Other times, when I wanted to try certain procedures, like microdermabrasion, she had no fear telling me “No, your skin is fine without it.”
As somebody who appreciates honesty above all else, this is one of the skin therapist’s best qualities and the reason why I move MY schedule around HER availability. Lastly, my skin therapist is the main reason for my obsession with SPF, consistent water-intake, and age-prevention skincare. Now that’s a great professional-client relationship.
Seasonal, dietary, hormonal, and stress level changes significantly effect our skin health. Cue dehydration lines, excess oil-production, uneven skin tone, clogged pores, flaky skin… you name it. While environmental changes may be out of our control, a skin therapist is able to give you that clean slate to allow the introduction of new changes to your regimen.
As somebody who is, potentially unhealthily, obsessed with clean skin, as well as, trying new products, this is one of my favourite qualities. Similarly, any new product absorption is maximized due to clean pores, exfoliated and nourished skin. The trick remains in maintaining that squeaky-clean and plump skin.
Lastly, yet another benefit of staying committed to one skin therapist, is that they are able to monitor any changes that you have made since your last visit. They can isolate any changes, tell you about the effectivity of the product, and if you should continue with it.
Back massages are great, but have you let a professional massage masks, serums, oils, and moisturizers onto your face? It’s freaking fantastic. You spend a whole hour in a heated bed, inhaling essential oils, dozing off to relaxing music, all while somebody gently nourishes your skin with high-end products. To sweeten the deal, at the end of the session, you’ll leave with some skincare answers, new products, samples, and a clean skincare slate.
Lastly, and with confidence, enjoy wearing less make-up for as long as you can, thus, letting your skin breathe and naturally glow for longer. Personal tip, if required, rely on concealer to cover blemishes or redness, as opposed to a full-faced foundation.
Coincidentally describes her facialist…
Now, for the truth: Are facials pricey? They definitely can be. Some prices reflect the brand (e.g. high-end hotel), while others reflect the equipment and product value.
Personally, I pay $120 (20% tip included) for a Classic Facial. I am currently committed to an amazing facialist, one-brand skincare treatment, and a spa that serves up a minimalist aesthetic, as well as phenomenally trained staff. That bomb.com spa is Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa. They offer multiple locations across Toronto, have amazing reviews, carry Dermalogica products, and offer discounted facials and massages ($69.95) for first-timers. Hands down the best place to start and continue your journey to healthy skin.
There you have it beauties. Hope my experiences with skin therapists have provided some basic info, answered your burning questions, and gave a little nudge for you to get serious about your facial skin’s health.
Cheers to healthy skin (and Hump day),