A facial is a family of skin care treatments for the face, including steam, exfoliation, extraction, creams, lotions, facial masks, peels, and massage. They are normally performed in beauty salons, but are also a common spa treatment. They are used for general skin health as well as for specific skin conditions. Types of facials include European facial, LED light therapy facials, and mini-facials.
There are different kinds of masks (e.g. cactus, cucumber, etc.) for different purposes: deep-cleansing, by penetrating the pores; healing acne scars or hyper-pigmentation; brightening, for a gradual illumination of the skin tone. Some masks are designed to dry or solidify on the face, almost like plaster; others just remain wet. The perceived effects of a facial mask treatment include revitalizing, healing, or refreshing; and, may yield temporary benefits (depending on environmental, dietary, and other skincare factors). There is little to no objective evidence that there are any long-term benefits to the various available facial treatments.
Masks are removed by either rinsing the face with water, wiping off with a damp cloth, or peeling off of the face. Duration for wearing a mask varies with the type of mask, and manufacturer’s usage instructions. The time can range from a few minutes to overnight. Those with sensitive skin are advised to first test out the mask on a small portion of the skin, in order to check for any irritations. Some facial masks are not suited to frequent use. A glycolic mask should not be used more frequently than once a month without the risk of burning the skin.
Masks can be found anywhere from drugstores to department stores, and can vary in consistency and form. Setting masks include: clay, which is a thicker consistency, and will draw out impurities (and sometimes, natural oils, too) from the pores; a cream, which stays damp to hydrate the skin; sheet-style, in which a paper mask is dampened with liquid to tone and moisturize the skin; and lastly, a hybrid/clay and cream form that includes small beads for removing dead surface skin cells. Non-setting facial masks include warm oil and paraffin wax masks.