It's the kind of thing beauty nightmares a made of: a facial gone horribly, horribly wrong. Juli, a Singaporean beauty blogger, broke out in a painful, pus-filled rash that only got progressively worse each day after the treatment. The photos (which shouldn't be viewed while eating lunch, to put it mildly) are terrifying, and Juli's response is heartbreaking. "My self-confidence has plummeted to rock bottom," she writes. "I cannot remember the last time I was so depressed over an external condition. I guess I could thank the heavens that I'm lucky to be alive, but can my life ever go back to normal? I don't know." If you're thinking about boycotting facials forever, I hear you. But wait! Facials can be extremely beneficial for your skin, just so long as you're getting a safe one.
Here, six tips for making sure your skin won't be at risk during your spa treatment:
1. Go to a reputable spa. There are some things it is absolutely okay to save on: Lip gloss, summer dresses, and dating sites (What's up, OkCupid?), just to name a few. There are other things, like your skin, that are worth the splurge. So, how do you find a trustworthy salon? Well, you can rely on friends, but even that has its risks. I mean, consider your friend who thinks From Justin to Kelly was robbed of an Oscar. Do you really want to count on her opinion? I'm a big fan of SpaFinder, which allows you to search spas nearby, and read reviews on them. It can also be beneficial to go to a salon owned by a well-respected company, where you know the employees have been trained, like Bliss. If you're super-dubious, the best way to ensure you're getting a safe facial is to forgo the spa experience entirely and head to your dermatologist. Yes, you'll be sacrificing a terrycloth robe, but you'll feel much safer in the hands of a doctor.
2. When it comes to a facial, it's fine to overshare. I know that spilling too much gets a bad name, but just so long as you're not ranting to your aesthetician about how your roommate never gets paper towels, the more you talk, the better. Let them know what your allergies are, even your seasonal ones, and describe any reactions you've had to cosmetics or beauty products. You should also let your aesthetician know any medication you're on, including topical treatments, and any vitamins you take. Even if you think some information might not be important, it's better to err on the side of caution.
3. Facials are not massages. Read that one again. They might be in a spa, just rooms away from luxurious hot stone massages, but facials are not necessarily a relaxing treatment. Especially if you're breaking out, your aesthetician should avoid massaging your face. Doing so might spread bacteria, causing you to break out more.
4. Bring along your skin care products. Again, it might seem like this information wouldn't matter, but the more you can tell your aesthetician about your skin care regimen, the better. While the list of ingredients on your face wash might mean nothing to you, it will help your aesthetician get a better idea of your skin issues.
5. Stay out of the sun before and after your facial. Ideally, you should avoid basking in the sun up to a week before your facial. If you do get a sunburn before your appointment, call up the spa and see if you can reschedule. After your treatment, your skin will be more sensitive than usual, so plan ahead by bringing a brimmed hat to wear afterwards, or just make your appointment for the end of the day, so you don't have to even worry about those UV rays.
6. Speak up. In her blog, Juli writes, "The facial people me that 'It has to get worse before it gets better.' Anyone who tells you that about your skin is really just lying to you." While it is true that facials involve a bit of discomfort, you should speak up if you're feeling any actual pain. If you break out after your facial, it's always best to give yoru dermatologist a call rather than just keeping your fingers crossed that the issue will clear itself up.