Friday, January 28, 2022

What They Are and How They Work

  • Anti-aging facials are one part of a larger strategy to maintain a youthful appearance by preventing and counteracting the damaging effects of time on skin
  • These facials address skin’s declining collagen and elastin levels, lighten hyperpigmentation, deeply hydrate and gently exfoliate for a rejuvenated appearance  
  • There are several types of facials as well as light therapy
  • Anti-aging facials can be performed at home with face masks, facial steamers or portable light therapy devices; however professional treatments are typically more effective

Anti-aging facials comprises a range of noninvasive skin care treatments designed to target key instigators of aging skin and to improve skin’s health. Treatment strategies can be personalized based on desired goals, either by using one type or combining several for greater benefits.

These facials are usually one facet of a larger strategy in skin care. When used alongside other anti-aging skin care products and treatments, they can effectively support and protect skin, and work to treat signs of aging. They can restore lost volume, boost collagen production and soften fine lines and wrinkles.

What Is an Anti-Aging Facial?

Anti-aging facials are deep treatments formulated to address the skin issues that develop as a result of aging and environmental factors. They are an important component of an anti-aging strategy which includes preventative, topical and systemic treatments and professional procedures. 

Lifestyle and environmental factors all contribute to skin aging but ultraviolet radiation is believed to be the most responsible at up to 80%.  Accumulated sun damage drives free radicals to damage skin cells as a result of oxidative stress; the result is dark spots, wrinkles and reduced elasticity. 

This sun damage, along with a natural slowing of cell renewal and oil production results in dry skin, a dull appearance and textural changes. Collagen and elastin production also declines with age leading to volume loss, fine lines, wrinkles and deep creases.

Anti-aging facials are designed to remedy these effects by preventing, slowing or reversing these changes.

Benefits of anti-aging facials

Anti-aging facials contain a number of active ingredients to restore lost volume and elasticity, boost moisture, exfoliate dead skin cell buildup and maintain skin health. These actions contribute to a brighter, more youthful complexion.

Types of Anti-Aging Facials

Esthetic care clinics typically offer a range of facial treatments that rejuvenate the skin through different means; some also combine several different treatments in a single session for greater results. 

The best type of anti-aging facial for you will depend on your skin’s unique needs, and what you wish to address.

Hydrating facials replenish lost moisture, and are an excellent choice for any skin type but especially if skin is thin and dry. Collagen and light therapy facials focus primarily on accelerating collagen production which is highly effective for lax, thinning skin. Lastly, exfoliating and microdermabrasion facials brighten and smooth a dull uneven complexion.

Collagen facials

Collagen facials involve the application of creams, serums and masks infused with key ingredients to replenish collagen in the skin. This contributes to skin’s firmness and elasticity for a more smooth and taut appearance.

Almost all these facials contain a retinoid, such as retinol, which both supports new collagen formation and inhibits collagen breakdown. 

To enhance the effects of retinoids and provide additional benefits, additional ingredients may be added. Vitamin C will also support collagen production, lighten hyperpigmentation and protect skin from UVA and UVB rays. Vitamin E provides photoprotection against these rays, promotes and maintains collagen, and has antioxidant properties to fight free radicals. 

Exfoliating facials

Exfoliating facials provide a deep cleanse to slough off the top layer of damaged skin and remove skin-dulling dead cells. This stimulates skin cell turnover and collagen synthesis which results in the growth of healthier skin that is more even in color and texture. Exfoliating also helps to stimulate blood flow and promotes a fresher, brighter complexion.

The removal of the top layer of skin softens lines and wrinkles and clears pores of debris. This allows skin care products to be more effective as they can then be more effectively absorbed.  These facials take the form of either mechanical or chemical exfoliation. 

Mechanical exfoliation uses abrasive tools and ingredients such as brushes and scrubs to gently abrade the surface skin. Chemical exfoliation treatments, also known as chemical peels, dissolve the top layers of skin with chemicals such as alpha- and beta-hydroxy acids, causing it to peel off.

Hydrating facials

Hydrating facials infuse the skin with moisture-rich ingredients to deeply hydrate and maintain skin’s moisture. In addition to making aging skin appear plumper and more supple, these products help to soothe dry, irritated skin and prevent cracking and flaking.

Hydrating facials primarily rely on a class of chemicals called humectants such as glycerol and hyaluronic acid which support skin’s moisture retention. They may also include occlusives, waxy substances that coat the skin to prevent moisture loss. Popular occlusives include petrolatum and stearic acid.

Light therapy facials

Light therapy or phototherapy facials use powerful, medical-grade LED light to rejuvenate the skin. This light is administered either through a handpiece or a mask with LED lights within.

The LED light emits controlled heat damage to aging skin tissue which stimulates cellular turnover and collagen production to improve skin smoothness, fullness and elasticity. In one small study, subjects were found to have a significant improvement in skin texture, complexion and collagen density. 

Cell turnover effectively reduces the appearance of age spots as fresh, healthy cells replace damaged ones.

Microdermabrasion facials

Microdermabrasion is a mechanical exfoliation treatment that works at a deeper level to exfoliate and resurface the outer layer of skin. This  stimulates the growth of a new layer of skin and reduces the appearance of lines, wrinkles, pigmented spots and enlarged pores. It also smooths rough skin and brightens the complexion.

Treatments are carried out with a special handpiece that works in one of two ways: by abrading the surface skin with a diamond-encrusted tip or with a stream of very fine crystals.

What to Expect from an Anti-Aging Facial

The types of facials described above are commonly carried out as standalone treatments. However, some can also be combined in a multistep treatment as follows::

  1. Your specialist will first cleanse your face with a gentle lotion or cream cleanser with a sponge or cotton pad
  2. They will then rinse off the cleanser, protect your eyes and examine your skin using special lighting and a magnifying lamp to take note of any imperfections to address during the facial; these may include wrinkles, blackheads, whiteheads, patches of dry skin, hyperpigmented markings or spider veins
  3. Your specialist will exfoliate the surface skin with either a brush, microdermabrasion device or chemical peel
  4. At this point, if you have any blackheads or whiteheads, they will remove them either by hand, or with the use of an extraction tool
  5. Your specialist will then perform a light facial massage to help relax your facial muscles, and to stimulate blood flow and collagen production
  6. They will then apply a mask containing hydrating or collagen-boosting ingredients; you will rest for a short while while the ingredients absorb into your skin
  7. Your specialist will rinse off the mask, apply a toner, serum and moisturizing products chosen for your specific skin type and concerns

At-Home vs. Professional Anti-Aging Facials

Anti-aging facials performed in a professional setting tend to be the most effective for several reasons: esthetic care professionals are trained in this area to know what products and treatments are ideal for each patient; they have access to specialized tools and medical-grade skin care products.

That said, at-home facials are a cost-effective alternative, and can provide satisfactory results when used consistently and follow the provided directions. Some commercially available products include face masks, portable phototherapy devices and facial steamers.


Anti-aging facials rejuvenate skin by restoring lost volume, elasticity and firmness, and brightening the complexion. They achieve these results in a number of ways; some facials focus on exfoliation, others work to replenish collagen and elastin levels, and skin hydration. Light therapy facials use controlled heat damage to attain the same results. 

These facials can soften the look of lines and wrinkles, plump the skin and lighten areas of hyperpigmentation. The infusion of various active ingredients work to support skin’s health by strengthening the skin. 

Some anti-aging facials use a single treatment approach; others involve multiple steps, and combine a number of treatments. Anti-aging facials performed in a professional setting will likely tend to be the most effective, but at-home  treatments can still provide benefits at a lower cost.


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