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Facial Massage: More Than Relaxation

By: Danae Markland
Posted: March 30, 2012, from the April 2012 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

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There is no denying that massage of any kind improves the appearance of the skin for a short period of time after a treatment. This instant improvement is again due to an increase in blood flow and, ultimately, an increase in cellular oxygenation. As with many aspects of the skin, circulation decreases with age, leading to a dull appearance. Massage improves circulation, leading to a more youthful complexion. Clients who smoke and those who engage in air travel regularly also benefit from enhanced circulation, because smoking and air travel limit the amount of oxygen obtained by the cells, leading to lifeless complexions. See Facial Protocol With Massage for step-by-step instruction of how this facial massage should be administered.

After treatment

The most well-known type of therapeutic facial massage is lymphatic drainage. This technique involves gentle massage of the lymph nodes in order to encourage cellular detoxification. Lymphatic drainage is often used—and is highly effective—after surgery to reduce edema and increase healing time. Basic massage, however, can be beneficial following less invasive procedures, as well. IPL, laser and superficial chemical peels induce at least a small amount of inflammation in the skin, and utilizing a light stroking technique five to seven days after treatment will allow the skin to return to its baseline at a faster rate, allowing for quicker results.

Incorporating into existing protocols

Massage is most often incorporated in a standard facial following the exfoliation and steaming process, because the skin is believed to absorb more moisture and nutrients immediately after this step.

Superficial chemical peel procedures can also incorporate massage. Because chemical peels tend to provide deeper exfoliation than the masks used in facials, massage is typically recommended before the application of the acid. Performing massage at this point will prevent overstimulation after the peel has been applied. Skin care professionals should limit their massage time to no more than 10 minutes when incorporating facial massage with a superficial chemical peel. Massage is not recommended in conjunction with medium or deep peels. See Superficial Chemical Peel Protocol With Massage for step-by-step instruction of how this facial massage should be administered.

The bottom line

The fact is that clients want results. The faster skin care professionals can provide these results, the more loyal their clients become. Most will gladly pay a higher price for a more beneficial service; therefore, anywhere increased results can be provided will impact the success of a skin care facility. If you are not already offering facial massage in your protocols, consider including a $25 upcharge for a 10-minute corrective massage. Conversely, if you already offer massage as a standard part of your protocol, consider discussing the many therapeutic benefits of massage with clients. A good experience often has a viral effect—once clients see that their skin care professional goes above and beyond to give the best treatment possible, referrals are sure to follow. By making the most of every treatment opportunity, skin care professionals can increase outcomes and, in turn, increase revenue and clientele.

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