Placentas, also known as afterbirth, are full of protein, iron, and tons of vitamins and minerals, which, I will allow, make them excellent for the health of hair, skin, and nails. People have been using the placentas of sheep and horses as beauty aids for time immemorial, in fact. But guess what? We have a lot of nice ways to synthesize this stuff now, and you could also just use wheat protein and run-of-the-mill vitamins to get the same effect. I guess treatments like this are more natural, but to me, they're also gross. I used a placenta hair treatment once, and although it worked well, it was no better than some hot oil and a deep conditioner, and it smelled pretty funky. If you were offered a placenta facial, would you take it in all its "natural" glory?
Do you get regular facials? According to the International Spa Association, they are the third most popular spa service. However, some estheticians feel that dermatologists often downplay the effectiveness of their services, the New York Times reports. On the flip side, some dermatologists feel that facials create unrealistic expectations and are just not worth the cost. Fight!
"Getting a facial is a great cost to cut," Dr. Leslie Baumann, a dermatology professor at University of Miami, told the newspaper. "It’s not doing anything preventative or anything long term for your skin." (Baumann does acknowledge that estheticians offer great advice sunscreen and home-care regimens.)
Dermatologists also worry that facials are too one size fits all, although many estheticians now pick the service for the patient, as opposed to having the patient pick the service themselves. "At the end of the day whether you’re spending $40 or $400," said Celeste Hilling, the founder of Skin Authority, "if that facial doesn’t have active ingredients for what you want, it’s not worth it."
Personally, I enjoy facials, but go to the dermatologist when I need serious skin care. Do you think facials help your skin, or are they just a fun spa treatment?
Talk about living the high life. Chicago is a beer-drinker's paradise, so it's no wonder that one spa is introducing brewskis to skin care. Exsalonce spa's $75 Beer Enzyme Facial begins with a cold one, moves on to standards such as extractions, and moves on to incorporate an enzyme cream made from Miller High Life. (The local doctor who creates the cream insists that the champagne of beers has the highest number of enzymes. In your face, Old Style!)
My friend Kevin Aeh gave the facial a try and reports thusly: "Throughout the treatment, extra time is spent massaging the feet, hands and shoulders — which, combined with our subtle beer buzz, put us in a completely relaxed, trancelike state. After the hour-long service, our glowing, refreshed face was ready to hit the pub." I'll drink to that.
Welcome to part five of my miniseries on the mini-facial, where I'll detail specific fast skin-recovery routines for those mornings where a face wash isn't enough. Sometimes your skin needs a little extra boost before you face the day, and we all know trying to mask a skin problem with makeup alone can only make it worse. So, check out my tips for righting what went wrong overnight.
Scenario 5: You slept over at your new boyfriend's house and when you got home, discovered you are allergic to cats. OK, you already knew, but you didn't want him to know that being around Sheba kind of makes you feel like you are going to pass out. (He's had her for five years, and you kind of think if he had to choose, he'd choose the cat). Either way, the evidence is all over your pink, puffed-up face.
Here's what to do:
- Start with a hot shower to wash any of the dander that's still on your skin. Take an antihistamine (nondrowsy) or at least an aspirin.
- Smooth on a soothing face mask, like Kiehl's Soothing Gel Mask ($18.50).
- Sit with ice or an ice pack on your face and around your eyes for two minutes to reduce the swelling. If you have them, use a packaged gel made to unpack tired eyes, like DuWop Igels ($25).
- Put eye drops, like Visine, in your eyes. Also, dab some around your nose and on your lips, because it will constrict the blood vessels.
- Apply a calming moisturizer like Ahava Calming Facial Moisturizer SPF 15 ($30) and a depuffing eye cream.
Welcome to part four of my Bella miniseries on the mini-facial, where I'll detail specific fast skin-recovery routines for those mornings where a face wash isn't enough. Sometimes your skin needs a little extra boost before you face the day, and we all know trying to mask a skin problem with makeup alone can only make it worse. So, check out our tips for righting what went wrong overnight.
Scenario 4: Your best friend's boyfriend broke up with her, so you spent the evening listening to how much she's going to miss her "boo bear" while she chain smoked. Now it's the morning, she's on your couch with an empty bottle of vino and your face feels like it was rubbed in an ashtray.
Here's what to do:
- Wash your face with an oxygenating cleanser, like Clean & Clear Oxygenating Fizzing Cleanser ($6.99).
- Apply a mask for dull skin, like Bliss Triple Oxygen Instant Energizing Mask ($52).
- Try a serum with vitamin C to brighten skin, like Philosophy When Hope Is Not Enough: Age Control ($38), Fresh Appleseed Brightening Essence ($90), or Avalon Organics Vitamin C Vitality Facial Serum ($16.79).
- Smooth on a light-reflecting tinted moisturizer, like Aveeno Active Naturals Positively Radiant Daily Moisturizer SPF 30 ($14.39).
Welcome to part three of my Bella miniseries on the mini-facial, where I'll detail specific fast skin-recovery routines for those mornings where a face wash isn't enough. Sometimes your skin needs a little extra boost before you face the day, and we all know trying to mask a skin problem with makeup alone can only make it worse. So, check out our tips for righting what went wrong overnight.
Scenario 3: Ah, the morning plight of the scruffy man-loving lady. While you may not be able to get your guy to change his affinity for facial hair, find comfort in the fact that you're not alone. "This is a big problem for lots of my patients," says Dr. Doris Day, a Manhattan dermatologist. "What he can do is take a shower before the date, get a good shaving gel, and shave towards the end of the shower when the skin is softest and most hydrated, so he gets as close a shave as possible. This may mean he has to shave twice per day, but that's love."
Here's what to do when it's, er, not love:
- Wash your face with a calming cleanser, like Phisoderm Cream Cleanser for Sensitive Skin ($4.79).
- Apply a healing mask, like Chanticaille Jasmine & Lily Healing Mask ($70) to the affected area. An alternative is to chill a couple cucumbers and apply them where you have redness for about two minutes.
- Smooth on a soothing lotion, like Clinique Redness Solutions Urgent Relief Cream ($30).
- Once the cream has absorbed, apply a redness-reducing concealer, ideally one with a green base. Try Physician's Formula Gentle Cover Stick Concealer ($3.27).
Welcome to part two of my Bella mini-series on the mini-facial, where I'll detail specific fast skin recovery routines for those mornings where a face wash just isn't enough. Sometimes your skin needs a little extra boost before you face the day, and we all know trying to mask a skin problem with makeup alone can make it worse. So, check out my tips for righting what went wrong overnight.
Scenario 2: Monday night is Booty-Shakin' 90s Karaoke Night at your favorite local watering hole, and you passed out with a face full of glitter. When you catch yourself in the mirror in the morning, you realize it's a day when Cetaphil just won't cut it.
Here's what to do:
- Remove all the makeup with a cleansing oil, like DHC Deep Cleansing Oil ($11). The oil attracts the oil from on your skin, whether it's from makeup or your pores.
- Take off any eye makeup that's left with eye makeup remover and cotton balls.
- Wash your face with an exfoliating cleanser. Try Neutrogena Deep Clean Gentle Scrub ($5.84).
- Follow by dabbing on a gentle toner, like Kiehl's Cucumber Herbal Alcohol-Free Toner ($10).
- Apply a light moisturizer and eye cream. Put on makeup as usual — but you may want to skip the glitter this time.
Welcome to a Bella mini-series on the mini-facial, where I'll detail specific fast skin recovery routines for those mornings where a face wash isn't enough. Sometimes your skin needs a little extra boost before you face the day, and we all know trying to mask a skin problem with makeup alone can only make it worse. So, check out our tips for righting what went wrong overnight.
Scenario 1: The A/C is broken. You spent the entire night tossing and turning in your own sweat — leaving your face shiny and on the verge of breakout.
Here's what to do:
- Wash your face with a soothing, foaming cleanser. It'll remove makeup without irritating and you won't miss a spot.
- Apply a clay-based mask that fights acne. Look for ingredients like charcoal or sulfur to really deep clean pores. Leave on for two to five minutes, then remove with a washcloth. Try Astara Blue Flame Purification Mask ($41).
- Follow with a moisturizing gel mask. Leave on for one minute. This will add some of the moisture you lost overnight and with your deep cleansing. Try Fresh Rose Face Mask ($55).
- Wash your face with cold water to remove any remnants of the mask.
- Apply a light moisturizer and a little de-puffing eye cream. Skip foundation and use oil-free concealer only around eyes, nose, and on blemishes — you'll want to keep skin as clean as possible.
Now go get some coffee.
Earlier this week, I had a deep-pore facial at Gentle Star Medspa in San Francisco. My esthetician, Craig Shishido, had turned me on to Jan Marini Bioglycolic, which has made a huge improvement in my skin. He has a reputation for being a perfectionist, and boy, does he earn it. You know how most facials involve a few minutes of extraction? Craig de-plugged my pores for two and a half hours.
While he worked, he gave a few suggestions for better skin. They're a bit out of the ordinary, so I wanted to share two of them:
- Wear sunscreen everywhere. Craig praised me for wearing sunscreen every day, but when he was removing blackheads on my ears — I told you, he's thorough — he asked if I wore sunscreen on my ears. Erk. I'd never thought of that! "Start wearing it on your ears now," he said. "Otherwise, the skin gets a little crusty over time, and it'll look like a Krispy Kreme doughnut."
- Don't be phone-y. The right side of my face has had subtle irritation lately. "This is where you hold your phone, right?" Craig asked. Bingo. Turns out, the phone was causing contact dermatitis. The solution: Buy a Bluetooth headset, or clean your phone regularly.
Off to comparison shop for headsets now . . .
If you have ever had a facial, you've likely heard the term extraction. It might sound painful, but if done correctly, this simple and painless procedure removes pore-clogging sebum. It is done manually by a trained facialist, dermatologist, or esthetician using a metal tool or by applying gentle pressure, after they have cleansed your skin and opened your pores with heat or steam.
Keep in mind that pores are sensitive, and if your skin isn't prepared or the extraction is done incorrectly, it can cause broken capillaries and irritate the skin which may result in more breakouts. When in doubt, it is best to avoid the at-home extraction tools, and leave the squeezing to a professional.