For all the admonishing I get to drink a lot of water, not operate a combine, and to turn in early after a massage, there’s surprisingly little advice dispensed at the end of facial on what to avoid. (Perhaps it cuts into product-pushing time?)
So I’ve compiled this list of post-facial treatment no-nos—not just because these simple things can wreak havoc on your skin, but because it’ll be your fault if they do. Ignorance, in this case, is not spa bliss.
Whether you’re paying $50 for a Spa Week facial or the going rate (about $100 in New York City), follow these seven tips to make sure you get—and keep—the skin-care results you paid for.
1. Don’t visit the steam room or sauna.
Why? You’ve been cleaned and steamed. Heating your face up is going to strip away your just-paid-for glow. Ditto working out. (Not that I like to give you an excuse.)
2. Don’t have a massage.
Why? How does a toilet seat-shape imprint on your newly poreless complexion sound? Book it before your facial.
3. Don’t wash your face. (Make that: Don’t touch your face.)
Why? You’ve just had it washed by a professional who spent 59 minutes more on cleansing your skin than you usually do. You can skip this step in the spa shower and at bedtime.
4. Don’t use at-home peels or Retin A/Renova for at least 72 hours.
Why? Alpha-hydroxy acid peels plus vitamin A is a recipe for redness. Give your skin a two- or three-day break from potent at-home products after a treatment.
5. Stay out of the sun.
Why? Even incidental sun exposure can cause sun damage and skin cancer. And since 100 percent of facials involve a scrub or a peel (anti-aging facials often include both), you’ve got a new batch of vulnerable skin cells on the surface that can easily burn.
6. Don’t pick.
Why? If a facialist leaves pimples behind, it’s usually because they’re not close enough to the surface yet. Leave your pimple for a day—a deep-cleansing facial can make a few naturally surface within 24 hours. Or call your facialist about a follow-up extraction visit, the facial equivalent of a bang trim.
7. Don’t apply makeup.
Why? Okay, you technically can apply makeup. But why not use your skin-perfecting facial as an opportunity to go au naturel? And if your skin isn’t at its best afterward, it’s time for a new facialist.
Originally published on October 13, 2009; updated on August 18, 2018.
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