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How To Safely Navigate Popular Spa Treatments
Spa pix

The desire for healthy, clean-looking skin drives the multibillion dollar cosmetics and skincare industry. According to data from the Semi-Annual Consumer Insight Snapshot from DermStore, a leading skin care e-commerce website, 67 percent of consumers surveyed are very or extremely interested in trying products for their specific skin concerns.

The top five skin concerns across the United States include aging, uneven skin tone, sensitive skin, dark circles, and sun damage. To address concerns about their skin, consumers are increasingly turning to in-spa services, such as facials, peels and fillers. A facial or body skin treatment can be a coveted gift at any time of the year. However, navigating spa jargon can be tricky. Here are some popular services and what they entail.


Traditional facial

A traditional facial typically begins with a cleansing of the face using steam to open up pores. This lets impurities clear out. Depending on an individual’s skin type or concerns, a mild scrub may be used to exfoliate dead skin cells, dirt and oils. A hydrating mask or lotion will be applied to soothe skin after treatment.


Chemical or fruit acid peel

Chemical and fruit acid peels rely on various acids to exfoliate and peel off the outer layer of skin. The skin beneath is usually more smooth and less wrinkled. Some deep peels target the middle layer of skin to remove damaged skin cells. The American Society for Dermatologic Surgery says that peels can be used to treat anything from acne to aging skin to scars. Alpha-hydroxy acid and lactic acid may be used in mild peels. Trichloroacetic acid, or phenol, is used for more potent chemical peels. Peels are best left to an aesthetician or dermatologist.


Facial masks

Masks may contain many different ingredients designed to treat various skin problems. A paraffin mask, for example, involves the process of applying molten warm wax over a thin mask. The wax will open pores and moisturize the skin. Masks are applied, and then there is a waiting period, during which the mask dries or penetrates. Then the treatment will be removed.



In microdermabrasion, layers of dead skin are buffed. This dead skin may have accumulated due to age and sun exposure. Many spas employ a device that scours the skin using micronized aluminum oxide crystals. Similar at-home products use motorized spinning brushes that employ bristles to slough off skin cells.


Lymphatic massage

Many facial treatments also include some massage. With lymphatic massage, particular pressure points are targeted to release strain from tension headaches and may even reduce skin puffiness. Massaging the skin can promote blood flow and lead to a rosier, more youthful glow.


Cosmetic fillers


Injectable dermal fillers can soften facial creases, remove wrinkles and improve the appearance of scars, says the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. These procedures are best left to professionals.