As the weather gets cooler, we shift our wardrobe to include warmer layers of clothing—why not take that same approach to our skin care routine? Why not add an extra layer of protection and moisture to our daily skin care routine? Or better yet, why not take that extra step and get a professional treatment?
The Benefits of Professional Facial Treatments
Professional treatments can help shed the damage summertime has caused our skin. Controlled exfoliation breaks down the dead stratum corneum (skin’s outermost layer) cells, allowing your esthetician to treat deeper levels of the skin. Shedding those outer layers of skin also allows fresh cells to regenerate for a fresh fall glow. As an esthetician, I always advise my patients to get professional treatments this time of year to help their skin recover from summer and ease through this seasonal shift, keeping their complexion healthy in time for fall and the coming holidays. Here are other reasons to consider getting in-office treatments:
- More potent ingredients, faster results. Don’t get us wrong: At-home skin care products and treatments can be effective when used correctly. However, there are certain results you just can’t achieve without the help of a professional. A professional treatment performed in a clinical facility or spa is going to be more potent than any topical treatment performed at home. A professional simply has access to professional-grade active ingredients that can penetrate more deeply into your skin than any retail product.
- Some potent treatments can do more harm than good if done incorrectly. A professional works to adjust and control the pH levels of the skin, by treating both the epidermis and dermis with high-quality professional-grade products, machines and tools. These professional products, if used incorrectly (by a client at home) could really do damage to the skin.
- Professionals can diagnose your skin type and concerns correctly. We often misdiagnose our own skin type. Seeking a professional analysis of what your skin type is may be just what your complexion needs to stay balanced. A professional has the knowledge and tools to analyze and customize treatments for your skin needs.
- Professional treatments can help you relax. Not only does an expert know how to properly navigate professional products, they also have the ability to provide a relaxing and luxurious experience to ease the mind, body and soul.
Best Facial Treatments for Fall and Winter
There are so many professional treatments available today. If you’re wondering which one is right for you around this time of the year, below are a few suggestions, along with why I recommend them, the process and the cost involved. With a few adjustments to your current regimen combined with professional treatments, your skin will retain that youthful, supple summer glow all throughout the holidays.
1. Chemical Peel
What it is: The process of applying a chemical solution to the skin to slough off dead skin cells, accelerate cell turnover and stimulate collagen production for smoother, brighter skin.
Who it is for: Anyone who wants to improve the overall health of their complexion. Depending on the strength of the peel—superficial, medium or deep—it can address many specific concerns from reversing hyperpigmention, smoothing wrinkles and improving skin tone, texture and clarity.
Why get it at this time of the year: It’s a great way to address multiple skin concerns at once. This time of the year is ideal because we are less susceptible to complications that come with too much UV exposure during the post-care healing process.
How it works: A thorough consultation between you and the professional happens a week prior to your appointment, during which certain ingredients are advised to be avoided days leading to the peel. On the day of the peel, your skin is simply cleansed, then prepped with a solution typically to neutralize the pH levels of your complexion. All peels are slightly different; the professional will know what to use based on your skin needs and concerns, and the amount of the chemical peel that will be applied. After the peel, soothing products are applied to wrap up the treatment.
Length of appointment: Can vary. Every location is different but it’s typically 45 to 60 minutes.
Downtime: The process is quick and painless (for most), but the downtime depends on the strength of the peel and the state of your complexion prior to the peel. You’ll begin to see peeling and flaking of the skin in the days after, which can be esthetically displeasing for some. You might also feel tight and dry as outer layers shed and fresh skin cells emerge. This phase could go anywhere from five days to several weeks.
Aftercare: Depending on peel strength, it’s best to avoid harsh sunlight, hot yoga, heavy cardio and sweaty activities for the first 48 hours. Although we do want to promote the peeling of your skin, calming creams can be applied as needed to relieve dry patches. SPF should be applied every morning and throughout the day if you’re outside.
Cost: $150–$500. It’s best to do chemical peels in a series for optimal long-term results, however, you will still see the benefits from just one.
Best at-home products to enhance your results: PCA Skin Total Strength Serum, Sunday Riley Good Genes All-In-One Lactic Acid Treatment, SkinMedica TNS Essential Serum, iS Clinical Reparative Moisture Emulsion and EltaMD UV Daily Broad-Spectrum SPF 40
What it is: A procedure that removes the upper layers of skin known as the stratum corneum using a diamond- or crystal-tipped device. By physically exfoliating the upper layers of skin, this treatment accelerates cell turnover to even tone and smooth texture, while stimulating collagen and elastin production to smooth out fine lines and wrinkles.
Who it is for: Everyone, because it can be customized to your skin’s needs, from reversing sun damage to smoothing and revitalizing the complexion, which is just what we need as we shift into fall.
Why get it at this time of the year: The removal of the outermost layers of the skin brings forth new skin, revitalizing summer-damaged skin.
How it works: Typically this treatment is added on to a facial or could be performed alone. A double cleanse is followed by mild exfoliation, prepping the skin for microdermabrasion. There are two types of microdermabrasion: crystal and diamond. The crystal microdermabrasion emits micronized crystals to resurface the outer layers of the skin. The other type uses a diamond-tipped wand for areas that need more abrasive resurfacing or harder-to-reach areas (corner of nose, parts of the ears and eye area). The type of microdermabrasion will be tailored to your skin’s concerns and needs.
Length of appointment: Timing may vary, depending on whether it’s done by itself or as an add-on. Usually 30 to 60 minutes.
Downtime: The best part of the service is that there is no downtime! It is best to avoid getting this service before heavily sweating or high exposure to UV rays, but other than that, your makeup will go flawlessly and last even longer!
Aftercare: This treatment will elevate your current regimen and its efficacy, extending the life of your serums and creams. Keep in mind that the product-absorption rate is going to be much faster following microdermabrasion treatment, which might elevate certain sensations (stinging, burning, etc.) from using potent skin care treatments.
Cost: $50–$100. Typically won’t break the bank with this one.
Best at-home products to enhance your results: Eminence Mangosteen Resurfacing Concentrate, Dr. Dennis Gross Universal Peel Pads, SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic and Caudalie Radiance Serum
What it is: A minimally invasive cosmetic treatment that involves puncturing the skin with needles (or a dermaroller), which causes trauma and lesions to the skin to trigger your skin’s repair process and collagen production.
Who it is for: Someone who wants to postpone or reverse signs of aging, promote clarity and improve overall tone and texture.
Why get it at this time of the year: This procedure is not performed on sun-sensitive skin due to the small punctures you are promoting within the skin.
How it works: Simple cleansing and mild exfoliation (if any, dependent on needle size) prior to microneedling. Depending on the depth and strength of the needle, a numbing cream may be applied to ease discomfort. After microneedling, skin is infused with serums and treatment creams—firming, hydrating, calming, brightening, etc.—to target your skin concerns.
Length of appointment: Usually 30 to 60 minutes (timing may vary depending on facility protocol).
Downtime: It would vary on the depth of microneedle being used.
Aftercare: After your treatment, avoid using a harsh exfoliating or resurfacing cleanser within the first 72 hours; use mild cleansing balms and milk cleansers instead. It is also best not to use exfoliating serums and retinol until advised by your esthetician. Consider adding calming, soothing and restorative products to repair the skin barrier. Sunscreen is crucial at all times. Depending on skin type, infusing the skin with collagen and peptides is great for the anti-aging treatments.
Cost: $50 to $300. Will vary based on location.
Best at-home products to enhance your results: iS Clinical Youth Complex, Eminence C + E Rosehip Firming Oil, Elemis Pro Collagen Marine Cream, Naturopathica Chamomile Cleansing Milk and SkinCeuticals Resveratrol B E
4. Laser Treatments
What it is: A procedure that directs short, concentrated pulsating beams of light to treat skin. These days it can really target anything you wish to have removed: pigmentation, age spots, acne, scarring and unwanted hair.
Who it is for: Someone who wants to see drastic results or has already tried a series of chemical peels for their skin care concerns.
Why get it at this time of the year: Depending on the depth of the laser treatment, the healing time can be pretty lengthy with a laser facial and it is heavily advised to stay inside to avoid UV rays.
How it works: Your skin is simply prepped and typically numbed before the laser treatment begins. After the treatment, an ointment (clinical-strength topical products that often the medi-spa makes) and icepack are applied depending on the level of laser.
Length of appointment: One hour; lengthy paperwork is typically involved prior to service.
Downtime: Depending on the strength/depth of the laser treatment, but usually a minimum or two to three weeks.
Aftercare: Just like after microneedling, it’s important to reevaluate your skin care regimen to tailor your complexion post-healing. Switch exfoliating cleansers with soothing balms and milk cleansers, and resurfacing treatments like peels and retinols with calming serums. Do not pick or peel any flaking skin or scabs. If you’re experiencing sensitivity or redness, applying ice packs may provide some relief.
Cost: Costly: $500–$1000+ (series typically involved)
Best at-home products to enhance your results: iS Clinical Pro-Heal Serum Advanced Plus, Avene Tolerance Extreme Cream, Naturopathica Chamomile Cleansing Milk, SkinCeuticals Hyaluronic Acid Intensifier and iS Clinical GeneXC