Summer is finally on its way, and that means two things: 1. I will start wearing less and going out more 2. This will bring to light the war zone this winter has left upon my skin. Now, I’m running around CVS picking up every sheet mask and new face wash I can try in order to clean up this mess before Memorial Day. I’ve been doing a lot of research on skin care, facials, and chemical peels to figure out if they’re even worth it. Who really has time for that? And a chemical peel kind of sounds like acid dissolving my face off, idk. Lucky for me, I got in touch with Diana Morrison, the lead esthetician of Massage Envy. Ever heard of it? I blew up her inbox with questions that I, and probs most people my age, have about facials and skin care in general. Now I am an ever-flowing fountain of wisdom on how to prevent your face from looking like shit, and you can be, too.
How important are facials, really? I feel like I take good care of my skin at home, so am I really missing out on some miracle by not getting regular facials?
Facials are absolutely critical. You are going to see much better results if you make regular facials a consistent part of your skincare routine. Treatments done by licensed estheticians use professional-grade products with active ingredients at much higher concentrations than you can get at home, and we use techniques that allow those products to better penetrate your skin. Think of facials as a once-a-month deep cleaning for your skin, while your at-home skincare regimen is regular maintenance to keep skin in the best condition possible. Really, both are essential for healthy, strong, and glowing skin.
We like to tell people to think of it like going to the gym—and it’s probably a lot more enjoyable. It’s important to make appointments with your own wellness, and that includes the skin.
I have really sensitive skin and have had bad experiences with facials—how do I know I’m not going to walk out of there with a bright red face and end up breaking out because of it?
If you have sensitive skin and someone gives you an aggressive treatment, you could wind up having an adverse reaction. At Massage Envy, we do a thorough skin analysis before your treatment. This allows us to give you a completely customized facial, so your skin gets exactly what it needs. If you are prone to redness, you might want to consider something like a chemical peel. Most people think peels and facials are strictly for exfoliation; however, these treatments also work to strengthen the skin, which in turn helps to calm redness.
We also like to let clients know that there is some stimulation that happens during a facial. This could potentially make impurities come to the surface, but they typically just come up and off of the skin. During a facial your esthetician will also apply products to balance, correct, and treat your skin, which will help your skin better heal itself.
On Healthy Skin
What’s the deal with evening out skin tone? How does our skin tone become uneven in the first place, and how do we get it back?
When we talk about discoloration, or uneven skin tone, there are a few factors at play. First, as our skin rejuvenates, it produces newer, healthier cells in the lower layer. But without regular exfoliation, dead cells will build up in certain areas on the surface, causing rough texture and discoloration.
Next, when melanin (the pigment that causes our skin to tan) builds up in the skin, it can leave us splotchy and with hyperpigmentation. Melanin is only produced by our skin when it feels like it needs to protect itself from a harsh environment. For example, constant exposure to the sun, or even overly warm conditions, such as the ones you find in hot yoga classes, can cause the skin to produce melanin.
Lastly, inflammation in the body can also discoloration. Inflammation is caused by a number of factors, including shifts in hormones.
To treat discoloration, it is essential to exfoliate away the old skin cells and protect your skin with things like SPF and quality skin care products. Peels are great, and we also recommended our microdermabrasion infusion treatment, which exfoliates and, at the same time, infuses serums we mix for you directly into the skin. Everyone’s skin is different, so when people come in concerned about uneven skin tone, we make recommendations about the best treatments and at-home products for them.
If I can do three easy things every day that will keep my skin healthy, what would they be?
A cleanser that balances the skin and is not over drying is an essential. You should ask your esthetician for a product that’s right for your skin type.
I also always recommend a vitamin C serum as a brightening and strengthening treatment. Vitamin C is a really potent antioxidant that will protect your skin from environmental factors that cause inflammation and the production of melanin. Vitamin C is also essential for the production of collagen, which is the building block of our skin. Collagen is what keeps our skin firm and plump; however, it degrades as we age. Stimulating collagen production topically with vitamin C will help to keep your skin strong and healthy.
Finally, an SPF of at least 30 is a must have. UV rays come from the sun and florescent lighting, and without the proper protection they can cause immense damage to skin.
What foods can I eat for better skin? Which ones should I avoid?
Experts recommend that you “eat your water,” meaning you should adopt a diet that consists of water rich foods, like fruits and vegetables, which help with the metabolism of cells in the body, including skin cells, and let them to function better.
On Skin Care Regimens
I’ve read a lot about different types of skin care regimens. What is actually the simplest skin care regimen that truly works?
It’s all about the three must-haves I mentioned above: a cleanser to balance and clean pores, vitamin C serum to strengthen, and SPF to protect are all essentials in every skin care routine.
Beyond that, I would definitely recommend adding in a vitamin A, or a retinol. There are different percentages of retinol, and your esthetician can help you to pick the strength that is best for your skin type. No matter what percentage you use, retinol is always a nighttime treatment because of the way it resurfaces your skin and helps it to shed the lining of your pores. This resurfacing and shedding helps treat acne, get rid of old skin cells the make your complexion look dull, and makes your cells act younger. Retinol essentially builds up and strengthens skin from underneath.
Also, as we sleep we lose a lot of moisture in our skin. To keep your complexion dewy and hydrated, it’s great to add a nighttime moisturizer into your routine.
But the bottom line is that you are going to get the best results if you work with a professional to choose the right products for your skin and, just as important, make a monthly facial, peel or microdermabrasion part of your routine.
Have you heard of face yoga? If so, do you think it’s legit?
I don’t have any experience with it, so I can’t make a recommendation one way or another, but there is definitely something to be said about stimulating the muscles in your body. Anything you do to increase circulation will bring fresh blood to the area and stimulate cells.
What are your thoughts on the sheet masks everyone is doing at home? Are they pointless, or are there ones that you would recommend?
We are all about sheet masks! They’re a big focus of Massage Envy’s first skin care line, called CyMe, which includes of sheet masks for your face, feet, and eyes. These masks are not only nourishing for the skin, but also corrective. They treat skin with a variety of nutrients that address your skin care concerns, and provide hydration while leaving a serum on your skin.
My favorite mask is the CyMe Oxygen Sheet Mask, which gives skin a glow and is effervescent; so it stimulates your skin cells while you wear it. It works to purify skin and address any congestion. I also love the CyMe bio-cellulose sheet masks, which are made from coconut and hold 100 times their weight in water, allowing them to deliver intense hydration.
Are there any products you would tell us to definitely avoid putting on our skin at all costs?
You should definitely avoid any harsh scrub that doesn’t use rounded beads as an exfoliator. Granular exfoliators can actually cause small cuts and tears on the surface of your skin. Exfoliation is definitely something that we need, as long as it is gentle. Exfoliation not only helps to get rid of old cells, but also encourages the production of healthy new skin.
If there’s one treatment you would strongly recommend for a woman in her 20’s-30’s, what would it be?
Massage Envy chemical peels are great for women in their 20’s and 30’s. We use PCA peels, which are self-neutralizing and customizable for your skin type and concern. They are not scary at all, and safe for even the most sensitive skin types. They work by getting rid of old skin while replenishing and rebuilding from within for stronger, healthier skin. They also help you to get better results from your at-home regimen and by making the products you use daily even more effective.
About Diana Morrison (Lead Esthetician of Massage Envy)
Diana Morrison is the Lead Esthetician of Massage Envy. She has been a dual licensed massage therapist and esthetician for over 10 years. Diana has practiced in multiple modalities, including both spa and clinical treatments such as highly experiential facial and body wrap treatments, advanced skin care such as microdermabrasion with chemical peel, dermaplaning, high frequency.
Diana’s vast experience in the industry led her to become the Lead Esthetician and skin care subject matter expert at Massage Envy Franchising in 2014. In this role she test and evaluates all potential skin care products and services, curates the skin care service offerings, and advises on the development of service protocols and technical training.
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