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Skincare 101: What Does A Facial Do And What Are The Benefits?

by Beverly Hills MD

October 06 2021

A facial is a spa classic for a reason – many people swear by the benefits they experience from them. But what does a facial do, actually? Are there benefits beyond relaxation? Read on to learn about the potential benefits of facials and how you can DIY one yourself at home.

What Is A Facial?

A facial is a multi-step skincare routine. It usually consists of at least four steps: cleansing the skin, massaging the face with creams, steaming the face, and applying a face mask.1


We typically think of facials as something done by professionals. Indeed, a professional facial is a wonderful way to pamper yourself. But you can also give yourself facial massages and facials in the comfort of your own home.

What Are Some Different Types Of Facials?

Different types of facials use different methods and types of products on the face. Here are some types of facials you may see on a menu at a spa:


  • Microdermabrasion Facial: a facial that buffs away top layers of dead skin with a pressurized jet.
  • Acupuncture Facial: a procedure that uses multiple needle pricks to release wrinkles and reveal more radiant skin.
  • Lymphatic Massage Facial: a facial massage that targets stress points on the face.
  • Brightening Facial: a facial treatment that uses a combination of masks, peels, and acid treatments to remove dead skin cells and reveal younger-looking skin underneath.
  • what does a facial do | Beverly Hills MDHydrating Facial: a procedure that focuses on intense moisturization in an effort to soften and plump skin.
  • Relaxing Facial: a procedure that uses deep cleaning and head and neck massage to refresh skin.
  • Firming Facial: a facial that uses a microcurrent device to temporarily tighten muscles in the face for a more lifted appearance.
  • Anti-Aging Facial: a treatment that addresses signs of aging with strategies like cleansing, microdermabrasion, peels, and intense hydration.2

At-Home Facials

If you can’t (or don’t want to) make it to the spa, there’s no reason why you can’t bring the spa to you. At-home facials offer an affordable and relaxing way to focus on self-care. One of the best things about at-home facials is that you can customize them to fit the precise needs of your complexion.


Here are a few ideas for types of facials you can give yourself at home:


  • Cleansing Facial: focus on double cleansing and reaching every nook and cranny of your skin.
  • Clarifying Facial: if your skin has been feeling dull lately, try a facial where you use exfoliating products like a gentle scrub or an alpha hydroxy acid treatment.
  • Anti-Aging Facial: Take the time to rub in an anti-aging cream that uses ingredients like hydrolyzed collagen, hyaluronic acid, and vitamin A.
  • Hydrating Facial: spritz on a rejuvenating facial mist for long-lasting hydration.
  • Brightening Facial: Try out an antioxidant serum to illuminate tired skin.3

What Does A Facial Do?

what does a facial do | Beverly Hills MD

Facials are a great way to stay in touch with your skincare needs and support your skin health. Here are several reasons why you might want to get a facial.

Facial Treatments Teach You How To Care For Your Skin

Getting a professional facial allows you the opportunity to have a skincare specialist assess your skin and recommend products. Many people find that finding the right products for their skin is a challenge. Others may be using the wrong skin care products without knowing it.4


Educating yourself on quality ingredients through asking a facialist (or researching them on your own) is a great idea.

They Can Reduce Stress And Let You Enjoy A Moment Of Calm

Most people would say that a facial sounds relaxing. Indeed, studies show that the massage portion of a facial does actually boost relaxation. A facial massage activates your sympathetic nervous system, which may calm your body and lift your mood.5

Facials Deeply Cleanse Your Skin

While you likely wash your face every day, a good facial goes an extra step in truly cleansing your skin deeply. With a facial, you or your esthetician may use steam to open your pores to allow for a deeper clean.

Facials Address Visible Signs Of Aging

what does a facial do | Beverly Hills MDFacials are designed to help the appearance of your skin. A good anti-aging facial will incorporate products made to address signs of aging, like sagging skin, wrinkles, dullness, and uneven texture and tone. At home, you can do this too by using a quality daily serum after cleansing and taking the time to massage it deep into your pores.


A facial massage may also benefit the skin. Some studies have found that the act of massaging in a facial cream enhances its anti-aging benefits.6

Supple Skin

Many people report that the massage aspect of facials help keep their skin soft and supple. Anecdotally, some people report that facials stimulate facial muscles, which can boost blood circulation and help tighten skin.7


One of the best reasons to get a facial is the psychological feeling of rejuvenation you get after leaving the salon or from doing your own at-home facials. A facial feels refreshing and helps give your skincare routine a fresh start.8


Some professional facials use extraction methods to target blemishes, like blackheads and whiteheads. At home, you can also address blemishes with retinol or AHAs. Beyond the products you use, the act of massaging products into your skin may also be beneficial. Facial massage boosts circulation, which might help with the appearance of blemishes.9


Professional facials may involve peels to remove the upper layer of skin on your face. Using products with ingredients like retinol and alpha-hydroxy acids at home can similarly help exfoliate and resurface your face.10

How To Give Yourself A Facial At Home

what does a facial do | Beverly Hills MD

1. Create A Relaxing Atmosphere

The point of a facial is to pamper yourself, so it’s time to pull out all the stops. Pull out your favorite scented candle, take a bath with essential oils, and put on relaxing music.

2. Cleanse

The first step in giving yourself a facial is to cleanse your skin. Use a gentle cleanser, and try double cleansing – cleanse your face, rinse, and cleanse again. This will help create a blank canvas for the rest of your facial.

3. Steam

Most professional facials include some type of steaming process to help open the pores. You can do this for yourself at home. Simply lean over a bowl of hot water and cover your head with a towel to trap the steam in. Be sure not to over-steam your face, as this can lead to dryness.

4. Exfoliate

After steaming, use a chemical exfoliant to slough off dead skin cells. Look for one with alpha-hydroxy acids that can help gently remove skin and support healthy skin texture.

5. Apply A Face Mask

After you exfoliate, pick up your favorite face mask and give yourself a mini massage as you rub it in. If you want to focus on hydration, use a mask that contains ingredients like hyaluronic acid. If you like the idea of a brightening facial, use one that contains ingredients like fruit enzymes.


Follow the product directions, and let the mask sit on your face while you relax and let it work.

6. Moisturize And Give Yourself A Massage

what does a facial do | Beverly Hills MDNo skincare routine is complete until you seal in the hydration. Pick up your favorite serum and moisturizer, and gently rub them in. Take your time here and give yourself a facial massage – many of the potential benefits of facials come from the massage portion of the treatment.


Here’s how to give yourself a facial massage:


  1. Dispense some of your serum or cream onto your fingertips.
  2. Using a circular motion, gently rub your fingers over your temples.
  3. Use your fingertips and palms to massage your cheeks.
  4. Drag your fingers over your brow bone from the inside to the outer corner.
  5. Fan out your fingers and place them on your brows and move them up toward your hair and out toward your temples.
  6. Press into your jaw and drag your fingers from the sides of your face down toward your chin bone.11,12

It’s always a good idea to check in with your dermatologist before trying new products or starting a new routine.

How Often Should You Get A Facial?

If you can swing it, some experts recommend going in for a professional facial every 4-6 weeks. Going in regularly may help you achieve your desired results faster. (Not to mention it gives you some serious self care to look forward to).13

Self Care Is Always Worth It

Many of the potential benefits that facials offer can be achieved by yourself at home, too. If you want beautiful skin, an important first step is looking at the ingredients and investing in high quality products that you love. The products you use regularly have a big impact on your skin – so make them count.


Learn More:
How To Do Manicure At Home: Gorgeous DIY Manicures
6 Powerful Anti-Aging Skincare Products You Need In Your 40s
Skin Care Tips: How Often Should You Exfoliate Your Face?


Beverly Hills MD Dermal Repair Complex