Sunday, June 4, 2017

To steam or not to steam in a facial treatment

A blog reader left the following comment on my post One facial experience—not a great one:    

Hi Carolyn! I was reading on your blog about not using steam in your facials, and I’m wondering what you use in its place? Do your clients ever ask if you could use the steam on them or question you why you don’t use it? Many thanks!

Those are great questions. It is rare that a client questions me about not using steam. If it does happen, it would be on their first visit. Steam is so prevalent in facials that it is a rarity to not have that machine used in a facial.

I can say unequivocally, I have never had a client ask if I could use steam on them. If and when the subject arises I simply explain why I don’t use it and why I don’t recommend it in facials a client may get elsewhere. Once I give them information on how unnecessary it is and how detrimental it is to the delicate capillaries, at that point it becomes a non-issue.

Sometimes in life until a thing is challenged, it just becomes normalcommonplace. This, I believe, is true with using steam in a facial. My first job was with Repechage skin care in spring of 1985. I was a novice aesthetician and wasn’t yet questioning what I had learned in skin care school nor what I was being asked to do within this job. I was trained in school to use steam and steam was what I was told to use in the Repechage facials.

Steam is said to soften the skin for extractions. Or that is probably the main reason aestheticians use it in a facial (although not the only reason). What I found in these first facials I was giving as a new employee was once the steam was taken off the skin, the skin hardened (dried) making extractions harder to perform.

As an example of this, I was recently working on one of my teenage clients. She had been to another salon for quite a while and they used steam in the facials prior to extractions. (This client did need a lot of extractions, named large embedded blackheads.) I did what I normally do: instead of steam I used a glycerin-based Yonka product called Dermol 1* on the to-be-extracted places, let it sit for a minute, then performed the extractions. Dermol helps to soften the skin and makes the debris in the pores come out much easier.
*The Yonka Dermols have gone through two changes in the past 5 years, starting with being morphed into one product: Hydralia, and recently this was changed into Hydra+. Still and all, a glycerin-based product works wonders when performing extractions in a facial treatment.

Out of curiosity I asked this client if she felt her (many) extractions went easier with the use of steam in her previous facials or if the extractions I just did on her felt “better”if extractions can feel good in any case! Not surprisingly, this young lady said she noticed a big difference in the pain level of today’s extractions. In other words, my extractions felt better—much less painful. I believe this was due primarily to the use of the glycerin product. It is a must-have for aestheticians.

Granted, I am proficient at extractions and have a good touch when it comes to performing them. But I know beyond doubt that using a softening agent (in this case, Dermol, Hydralia, or Hydra+) vs. using a steam machine is a much better way to perform extractions.

The bottom line is I am not a fan of stream in (or out) of facials. I also encourage my clients to try new things if they feel so inclined, but to monitor their skin to see if, in the case of using steam, redness occurs when it wasn't there or there is more redness than there was before. I have written several articles with more to come about the use or not of steam on the face and why I am so against it.

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