7 Unusual Facials You Never Knew You Needed

unique facial treatments

If you’re kind enough to yourself that you schedule regular facials, good for you. You deserve a little (or a lot) of TLC, especially given the high-stress lifestyles most of us find ourselves living today. But what even those who frequent spas often might not be aware of is that facials are no longer a face-only treatment. Not only that, but facials come in all shapes, sizes, ingredients, techniques, you name it. To expand your knowledge of the unlimited options available to you when it comes to getting a glow courtesy of a pro, we asked top estheticians to share some of the unusual yet effective facials on their menus.

Back facial

Most of us are familiar with “bacne,” the term for breakouts on your back and shoulders, but we’re often at a loss when it comes to how to treat it. Just like the dirt, oil, and sweat that clog pores on your face, the same happens on your back. “Steaming and a deep cleanse combined with manual exfoliation or the possible use of chemical or enzyme peels to help remove cellular build up and oils on the back will help clear things up,” says Shannon Irene, skin care specialist and owner of Shannon Irene Beauty. “This treatment typically includes a relaxing massage, followed by extractions of pustules, blackheads, and whiteheads, microdermabrasion, LED light therapy or other modalities to heal the back based on the client’s needs.” Don’t worry, this isn’t a painful procedure but more like a massage-meets-facial. It ends with a pH balancing toner and hydrating oxygen moisturizer.

Vampire facial

Remember that episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians when Kim is hysterically ugly-crying during a facial in which she’s injected with tiny needles filled with her own blood? Yep, that’s what we’re talking about. The description of what goes down during a vampire facial may sound intimidating, but rest assured this type of treatment works. “The science behind this treatment, also known as the platelet-rich plasma (PRP) facial, is based on the same therapy that allowed Kobe Bryant to continue his career for another five years,” explains Greg Bran, MD, PhD, a facial plastic surgeon in London. “He went to a lab in Germany that treated him with his own blood, very similar to PRP, and resolved his knee issues.” Labs use a similar formulation for facials now, and as crazy as it sounds, there is science showing it stimulates the renewal of fresh skin cells (hello, glow!) and the production of collagen and elastin for plumper, firmer skin.

Buccal facial

This facial got its name from the Latin word “bucca,” which means cheek. Yep—you guessed it—we’re talking about a literal cheek facial, which involves massaging the muscles in and around the cheek and jaw area (inside the mouth, too!) to relieve tension, improve circulation, and enhance the overall appearance of the skin and muscle tone on the face. “This treatment is like an intense session at the gym—we are fully working and grabbing all the facial muscles to help you look more lifted and rejuvenated,” explains Sandra Velandia, New York-based esthetician and owner of Esthetics by Sandra Velandia in Queens, NY. “This facial is not as popular in the US, since only a few select estheticians have had the pleasure to train with bio chemist Joëlle Ciocco in Paris, and it remains a hush-hush type of treatment for A-list clients.”

Gold facials

These “premium” (read expensive) facials use gold foil to help improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, as well as to lighten dark spots, according to celebrity esthetician and skin care expert, Bella Schneider. “By accelerating skin renewal and fighting inflammation, 24-karat gold slows down collagen depletion and the breakdown of elastin,” she says. “Gold is also wonderful for fighting acne and aids in the treatment of scarring.” After a gold facial, your skin will look like a million bucks.

unique facial treatments

Light therapy

There’s a reason those Darth Vader-eque masks are becoming increasingly popular on your social media feed: Light therapy works. It treats a myriad of medical conditions, including acne. So, what is exactly is low-level light therapy? It’s the application of specific wavelengths of light energy to tissue to obtain therapeutic benefits. The energy delivered is then used to improve cellular performance. “LED stands for light emitting diode and refers to the technology used in many devices that produce visible light,” explains Joshua Zeichner, MD, Director of Cosmetic and Clinical Research Department of Dermatology Mount Sinai Hospital. “Red light has been shown to be an effective anti-inflammatory and stimulator of collagen, making it useful in treating aging skin, while blue light has been shown to help reduce levels of acne-causing bacteria, making it a go to treatment for patients with acne.”

Butt facial

Society has become obsessed with the booty, so it’s about time that there was a treatment developed to make the skin as soft as, well, a baby’s butt. The “booty-cial” promises to do just that. “This treatment typically involves a deep cleanse, scrub, and rinse to assist in resurfacing the skin for improved tone and texture in the buttocks area, which is professionally what we consider to be a ‘hard to reach and treat area,’” says Irene. “Overall, it helps with the health of skin on the rear end and leaves it smoother and more balanced.”

Detox algae facial

The secret ingredient to puffy eyes and a swollen face? According to Angelena Lucheux, esthetician and owner of Tailor Made for You Skincare in Queens, NY, it’s the sea algae extracts known as Fucus vesiculosus and Laminaria digitata. “It works wonders to help boost circulation and activates our lymphatic system,” she says. “Since it keeps the blood flowing, skin is much more radiant and less puffy, and it’s excellent for anti-aging.” Valendia agrees and even uses it in a thermal wrap to help patients shed excess water weight. “It’s a thermal treatment designed to release marine active ingredients that remineralize, tone, and purify the body,” she explains. “Self-heating algae eliminate dead cells and refine the texture of the skin, and it also contains marine salts which stimulate and detoxify the epidermis.”

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