Bargain Facials In My City

After being spoiled off and on for many years with regular free facials and microdermabrasion, I once again found myself in an “off” phase during the summer last year. I continued to practice my weekly at-home facial ritual, but my skin became more lackluster, deflated and congested. By October I caved and, in complete desperation, decided to check out the local beauty school. To be honest, I was extremely concerned that I would have an allergic reaction to a product or breakouts as a result of a student’s lack of experience or knowledge.

The first student who worked on me talked to me throughout the entire facial and took about two hours to complete the visit. This Skin facial aestheticianoccurred twice. However, she was very nice and I enjoyed chatting with her despite having zero chance to relax during the process. I also ended up with beautiful, glowing skin with no breakouts and no dry skin patches. SCORE! This nice young lady graduated, leaving me in the hands of a new student who is rather lacking in conversational skills. Case in point, I went in for a facial a few days ago and I had to ask her how she was doing because she made no effort to greet me or make small talk. It was a bit strange, but I didn’t mind so much because she was quiet during the treatment, and I was able to relax during the entire visit. She was skillful in her facial techniques, gave a relaxing arm massage (I just wish she used more pressure, because I could barely feel it), and finished the entire treatment in 45 minutes. When I got up from the table, my skin was absolutely glowing. When I went to pay, I got a discount on an already very reasonably priced facial, walking to my car with only $25 less in my wallet. And that was including a 25 percent tip!

I have now had four facials at the local beauty school in my city and must say that I am rather impressed! I have had countless facials throughout my adult life and know a good facial when I see one. So this has been a pleasant surprise. If you have a beauty school in your area, you might want to give it a try with facials, nail services, and hair services. Hopefully you will be as pleasantly surprised as I was!

Why Regular Facials Are Good

One of my favorite things in the world is a great facial because I get to lie down for at least 45 minutes without interruptions and my skin gets some tender loving care. I have spent over a decade as a physician in aesthetic medicine and have noticed a HUGE difference in my skin and in my patients’ skin when a regular facial regimen is abandoned. Make sure you visit a reputable spa with knowledgeable aestheticians to ensure that the proper skin care products are used for your particular skin type.

The exfoliation and deep cleaning which occur during a spa facial will remove dead skin cells and pollutants and increase circulation, while the serums and moisturizers used towards the end of the facial often diminish fine lines and wrinkles while also restoring normal pH balance to the skin. If you absolutely can’t afford to get a professional facial, you can give yourself one at home.

facialHere are the steps to a great do-it-yourself facial:

Step 1: Cleansing

Thoroughly wash your face and neck with a facial cleanser. Some of my favorites are Bliss’Fabulous Foaming Face Wash and Olay Foaming Face Wash. Remove eye makeup. If you have very sensitive eyes, I recommend using Kiehl’s Supremely Gentle Eye Makeup Remover.

Step 2: Exfoliation

Use a gentle scrub on your face, moving in a circular motion.

Step 3: Mask

Apply a mask to the face and neck, avoiding the eye area. Generally, most masks should be left on for 10 to 15 minutes, then rinsed thoroughly. If you have oilier skin, opt for a clay mask. Dry skin types respond best to cream masks since they are formulated to be much more emollient.

Step 4: Moisturize

Apply a moisturizer onto your face and neck.

DIY Vitamin C Face Serum

vitamin-cI am a huge believer in the antioxidant benefits of Vitamin C and encourage its use systemically and topically. Vitamin C (also known as l-ascorbic acid), is fantastic for lightening up brown spots of all kinds, and also enhances the integrity of the skin, making it firmer by boosting collagen production. Vitamin C is also a great exfoliator and leaves skin with a healthy glow.

There are a myriad of cleansers, toners, serums and moisturizers available these days, but many of these products can be quite expensive. One example is Obagi-C Cleansing Gel which is fantastic but which costs about $34 for 6 ounces, so I use Earth Science Clarifying Facial Wash which is about $7 for 8 ounces. I have been using the Eaarth Science brand for years and I absolutely love it!

The vitamin C serums tend to be the priciest of the vitamin C skincare products, so many people will omit this product when I honestly think it is the most important type of product for aging skin. In an effort to help people achieve great skin while on a budget, here is a do-it-yourself vitamin C serum formula you can mix up at home. Some people use glycerin when mixing up vitamin C serum at home, but I find this substance to be troublesome for oily skin, and I am not a big fan of essential oils because they can often cause irritation on sensitive skin. I personally like the formulation below because it is good for oilier and reactive skin types. If you have severely reactive skin, you can use distilled water instead of rose water.

Make sure to purchase a dark glass (either dark amber or cobalt blue) container, perhaps one with a dropper tip or a spray nozzle, to store your serum. The dark glass container is essential for preventing breakdown of the unstable vitamin C molecule. I also advise storing this in the fridge to maximize potency.

DIY vitamin C serum

Dr. Naito’s DIY Vitamin C Serum:

1/4 teaspoon Vitamin C (aka l-ascorbic acid) powder or crystals (you can find this at most health food stores)
1 teaspoon hyaluronic acid
1 tablespoon rose water

If you use crystals instead of powder, make sure to pulverize the crystals well with a mortar and pestle before adding the other ingredients. Mix all ingredients well. This yields about a 6% strength serum. Apply to cleansed skin at night. This supply should last about ten to fourteen days.

If you want a stronger concentration, you can mix the following ratio of ingredients for a 10% concentration of vitamin C. If you experience stinging or burning, return to the lower potency.

Dr. Naito’s DIY High Potency Vitamin C Serum:

1/4 teaspoon Vitamin C powder or crystals
1 teaspoon hyaluronic acid
1-1/4 teaspoon rose water ***note that the amount of rose water used is smaller than in above formulation.