Massage is very easily one of the most overlooked components of a facial. Even if the whole reason you love to visit your esthetician every 4-8 weeks is because you leave feeling relaxed and pampered, you may not know just how much that snore-inducing massage has done for the largest organ in your body, your skin.
The integumentary system (the more medical name for skin and its components) depends on the coordination of multiple systems of the body and homeostasis to keep it in good condition. The circulatory, nerve, muscular, endocrine, and lymphatic systems are all a part of the delicate balancing act which keeps our skin in optimal condition. This is also why facial massage has the ability to affect other systems of the body (ex. lymphatic drainage techniques are helpful in easing seasonal allergies, and sinus congestion, and supports other natural care treatments like acupuncture, naturopathy, and chiropractic).
Connective tissue plays a large role in how facial massage benefits the skin and its functions. The connective tissue contains the cells that produce “the ground substance,” a half-gel, half-fluid binding mass that surrounds every cell and through which nutrients and waste are transported between the blood capillaries and the cell. The condition of the ground substance affects the diffusion rate of nutrients and waste products to and from the cell, and creates the cell’s environment. A build-up of waste, or a lack of nutrients creates a bad environment for the cell. Estheticians can help to normalize the the connective tissue in both function and composition, and free it of harmful substances, by applying pressure and movement through massage. Manual lymph drainage components are another form of mechanical manipulation typically incorporated into a facial massage, that can not only boost circulation, which increases nutrients in the skin cells, but also aids in removing waste products from those cells.
Your well-trained esthetician has a thorough understanding of the physiology and histology of skin, and during a facial focuses their attention on balancing the removal of what we don’t want in your cells, with promoting what we do want in your cells. This is also why it is so important to properly hydrate before and after a facial service. The entire session has got your fluids moving, and your cells need the extra hydration to ensure you completely flush out the toxins, and that your blood can properly distribute nutrients back into those cells. Being sure to stay hydrated, and following your esthetician’s advice for a home-care plan ensures that the results of your facial - boosted circulation, decreased puffiness and inflammation, relieved tension and congestion, and improved texture and tone - last in between visits, and sets you up for better long-term results.
Of course none of this changes what we notice most after a great facial massage - the relaxation. And we wouldn’t want that to change! But now, the next time you get a customized facial service, you know that the whole process is part of a much larger maintenance program for your whole well-being.