You Should Get A Facial…and other famous last words


I received a gift certificate to a local spa as a Christmas gift two years ago. I’m not in the habit of ‘making time for me’ but I was worried that this card had expired which wouldn’t be very considerate to the person who purchased it for me. So after reminding myself for about six months, I finally called the spa to inquire about their policy. “They don’t expire. Why don’t you make an appointment for one of our services?”

Okay now what? I’m not a fan of massages; I’ve got this weird thing about people who I don’t know touching me. Their manis and pedis were probably overpriced. Hmm. Maybe I could get a facial. I told the girl how old I was and asked her what she would recommend. “Our anti-aging facial would be best for you.” Ouch. I’m at THAT age. I stressed to the woman that my skin is very sensitive and she said they have gentle products and I shouldn’t have any problems.

The day arrived and I showed up a few minutes early to fill out a form which made me feel like I was having a minor medical procedure. Blood type, next of kin, am I an organ donor….okay maybe I’m exaggerating but I’m not comfortable in these pretentious-feeling environments to begin with. Soon I was met by a girl young enough to be my daughter, who led me into a very dark room and asked me to remove my clothes and put on what I would refer to as a shower towel (you know how you wrap the towel around your chest when you get out of the shower?). I couldn’t understand why I need to be all but naked for a facial, but whatever. I carefully covered up any exposed skin and lay motionless on the table, waiting for something to happen.

Finally the young girl came in, wrapped my hair in a turban and started the process. She adjusted the table I was laying on so that my legs and feet were elevated which felt much better on my back and managed to relax me, if only slightly. I closed my eyes and she began to paint some kind of concoction on my face. Being the naturally inquisitive type and also being fearful of my very sensitive skin breaking out, I asked what she was applying. She seemed to be reading from the label each time I asked, so I doubted I would get much of an in-depth answer. She also applied toner after each product, which seemed excessive to me. I was tolerating it pretty well until the picking began. She went over my whole face, extracting anything that resembled a blemish. This instantly took me back to my teenage years, when I endured regular visits to the dermatologist for my horrid acne. I held my breath and waited for this part to be over. How can people find this relaxing??

“So what do you do to your skin….Juvaderm, Botox, Restylane…?” she asked.

I don’t do any of those things.

“Oh,” she seemed surprised. “So what skin care treatment line are you using….Pevonia, LaMer, LaPrarie…?”

“Um, I use natural bar soap and water. That’s it.” I felt so common. But it’s the truth. I learned a long time ago, the less I do to my skin, the better it looks.

“Wow. Your skin looks great for your age. You must have good genes.”

“…for (my) age.” Grrr. Geez I’m 46 not 100! I managed to squeak out a “thanks”.

“In fact, I have extra time because of it. How about I do some dermabrasion?”

That sounded painful. So I asked how uncomfortable it would be. She assured me I would feel almost nothing and I would be happy with the results. Okay.

Ashlee proceeded to drag a wand over my face that felt like a combination of sandpaper and a vacuum cleaner. It wasn’t really painful, but it felt pretty weird. She commented how much dead skin she was getting off my face. Ewww. I guess that’s good?

By this point my skin was feeling pretty roughed up, and now it was time for the Laser Genesis treatment. Having a laser zap my face had me more than a bit concerned, but Ashlee assured me I would feel very little as the laser was non-invasive. By gently heating the upper dermis below your skin’s surface, Laser Genesis stimulates collagen regrowth to reduce the appearance of wrinkles. Additional heat is generated in dilated capillaries to reduce redness. She fired up the machine and went to work. It was a pretty quick process, but felt like hot little baby bees were stinging me. I told myself I was being a wimp and managed to suck it up and deal with it. My nail marks can probably still be seen in that table.

Shortly thereafter, I was done and went out to the front desk to pay. My generous gift card was reduced to zero and I still had a small balance due on top of it. Geez, how do people afford to do this on a regular basis?! I was convinced my face probably looked like I went 5 rounds with Mohammad Ali, and I rushed to my car as quickly as possible.

Surprisingly, I didn’t break out from the procedures. My skin was red and a bit puffy for the rest of the night, but looked close to normal by morning. It certainly felt softer. And over the next few days, the deep crevices between my eyes seemed a bit less cavernous. Maybe there’s something to this facial business. But for now, I think I’ll stick to my soap and water, thank you.

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