Wondering what sets a so-so facial apart from a sensational one? Or what to do when a treatment goes wrong? Skincare expert Teresa Tarmey has answers…

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Surrendering your face to the hands of a stranger can be a daunting experience, not least if you’ve had a bad facial treatment experience in the past, or on the flipside if you’re a facial newbie. Whether you’ve got a skin condition or concern that’s seriously bothering you, or you simply want to look fresh, energised and rested, a good facial can make all the difference between feeling happy in your skin and feeling like you want to hide. With that being said, how do you identify the specialist and treatment to suit you, and what can you expect from the array of facial options on offer these days? We sought out the wisdom of renowned skincare specialist Teresa Tarmey  to get to the bottom what makes a facialist fantastic, and when to look elsewhere if things don’t seem quite right...

I'm booking a facial- what should I look out for? What qualifications should a facialist have? Any alarm bells to look out for?! Equally what would put you at ease?

Seek out recommendations always, and research where your friends and family have been. Your therapist should always listen to you and your skin concerns and address them. It’s really important to feel that all of your needs are being met. Experience is important when considering which facialist to go to, as the more experience they have, the more knowledge they will have collated in terms of working with many different types of skin. A good thorough consultation is really important as your facialist that’s how your facialist initially gets to know and understand your skin. As for alarm bells, I'd say be wary if you’re facialist is suggesting a more advanced treatment such as laser that they haven't much experience in, or if they haven’t thoroughly done a risk assessment in terms of reactions.

What can I expect during a basic facial?

A thorough skin consultation, followed by a deep cleanse, exfoliation, extractions, massage and treatments targeted to your skin- namely a selection of serums, masks and various other products, depending on your skin type.

My skin feels uncomfortable during a facial- is this normal?

Yes, but it depends on the kind of facial you’re having. More results driven treatments or peels may be slightly uncomfortable or ‘odd’ feeling, although your facialist should tell you if a product will tingle or feel active on the skin. Always feedback to your facialist how the skin feels during a treatment; a good facialist will always ask and know the right and wrong signs.

What results are possible from a basic facial? Is there normally any downtime? How long can results last?

There shouldn’t be any downtime. Generally a deeper cleanse with extractions makes skin feel so much cleaner, while it should also look brighter, plumper and glowing. It's not unusual to be a little red afterwards if having many extractions though.

I've got a skin condition- can I still book in for a regular facial? What are my options?

Yes, your facialist should be able to devise a bespoke facial to suit your condition and give you advice on how to manage it. They should be experienced enough to make a plan to help the skin going forward too. Depending on experience, most good facialists have at least a little, or ideally a lot of knowledge on issues, triggers and needs of those suffering with skin conditions.

Something's gone wrong and my skin looks worse than before! Should I go back to my facialist? What's the protocol if my expectation aren't met?

Always let your facialist know if you’ve suffered any reaction; they will be able to give advice on how to manage it and perhaps want to see you again to look at the skin. Always let the facialist or clinic know if you feel that your expectations were not met in a treatment.

How often is it advisable to book in for a facial, generally speaking?

Monthly, or more if you’re on a course for targeted results. The time and money can obviously be barriers to this, but monthly is ideal.

I have a special occasion coming up- once and for all should I book in for a facial beforehand? If so, how much time in advance is advisable?

Yes, facials can make the skin look hydrated, healthy and radiant before an event. Always tell your facialist the reason for your visit so that can they can make the facial bespoke for you. LED light is great before an event for glowing skin even on the day of the event, as is the right peel. If you have several months to go before the event, your facialist will work out a programme to get you skin looking perfect on the day.

Should my facialist sell me products too? Should he or she follow up with me after the treatment? Should I be given a treatment plan or at-home care regime?

All of the above. Good skin starts with a home care routine of recommended products and sensible nutritional advice. A treatment plan is great too to work towards your skin goals. Homecare and treatments work together and if the therapist is confident in the products that she's selling, there's no doubt she'll be raving about them. Whether you buy them is of course up to you.

I'd like to try a more 'high tech' facial- what are the best options in your opinion, and where should I seek one out? How much does price range differ from more basic facials? What am I paying for?

You are paying for the experience of your facialist and for the machines that he or she uses. High tech facials give visible, optimum results and really can change the skin, reversing signs of damage while rejuvenating, rebalancing and lifting where needed. Price wise, again this depends on the experience of your specialist and equipment involved. For example I have one system that cost me over £100,000, but there's also a similar model on the market that another therapist could buy for say £20,000 or £30,000. I genuinely only buy what I believe is the best on the market, which usually comes with a big price tag. I offer a lot to warrant the high price point that not many other clinics or salons offer all in one treatment. For instance the Advanced TT. This includes a general facial, peel and LED with as many lasers as the client may need. This then caps the price as opposed to charging for each treatment separately, so explore your options in terms of combining treatments.

I'm interested in cosmetic skin treatments- how do I know that my clinic or skin specialist is up to scratch? Can I have regular facials after cosmetic treatments?

Look for a reputable clinic and don't be scared to ask lots of in-depth questions about the experience of your skin specialist. See how long they have been treating patients and clients, as despite knowledge, confidence and real know-how in performing such treatments can take years of practice to acquire.

Can a skincare expert advise me on diet and lifestyle for skin health?

They should definitely show an interest in internal skin support through diet, exercise, managing stress levels and leading a lifestyle that will nurture skin health. The wellbeing side is an aspect that’s especially close to my heart as a therapist, and I work very closely with the VIVAMAYR clinic in Austria for this reason.

Is it possible to achieve facial-style results at home?

A high quality, consistent skincare routine is essential to good skin. For targeted results and rejuvenation, high tech facials will reap better rewards and amazing results, with a little time, patience and possibly investment.

Wondering how ‘expert’ your PT might be too?  Go beneath the sales pitch and clue yourself up by giving this a read…

Book an appointment with Teresa or one of her team  here