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Aside from massage, facials are perhaps the second most popular spa treatment on the menu. There are standard facials, with or without extractions, those that use organic products or luxurious ingredients, like 24 carat gold and precious metals, and there are treatments that now involve the use chemical products and peels. So, the inevitable question is, do they work? And are they safe?

It depends on two things: one, the type of facial you are getting and two, whether or not the therapist is good at doing what they do. Most of the time, facials are a great way to treat your skin to a pampering "tune-up" and they help in maintaining a healthy, beautiful complexion.

However, there are two services that, when done improperly during a facial, can be harmful to your skin: extraction and exfoliation. You shouldn't consider exfoliation when you have sunburn, a rash, cold sores or if an area being treated has been recently waxed. And remember, whether it's chemical or physical exfoliation, it should never hurt. There might be a tingling sensation but if it burns, that means something is most definitely wrong. (If this should ever happen, tell your therapist right away and rinse your skin with cool water.)

With extractions, it's a pretty straightforward process (aka we all know how to pop a pimple) but, when done improperly, it could worsen the clog or even cause scaring. Yikes! When it's done right, either with an instrument or with gentle finger pressure, there should be a bit of discomfort, so don't be too alarmed.

Now that you know a few things to watch out for, be sure to talk with your therapist before beginning your treatment and let them know about any problems or trouble spots that you have. Not sure about a particular spa? Check out online reviews or find a place or a therapist recommended by a friend.

Simply put, facials are most certainly worth the extra cash (and time). Not only are they fun (who doesn't like a bit of pampering?), they're helpful! Hmm, I think it's about time I made an appointment...


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