Feeling tired, stressed, weathered by winter and a global pandemic?! Us too. If you’re lucky enough to be able to visit your local spa right now, then that’s a great place to unwind and treat yourself. Here in Taiwan, it’s business as usual for the health and beauty industry, so we’re taking full advantage. There are so many different spa treatments it can all be a bit overwhelming. But never fear, we’ve put together a short list of treatments that will benefit your skin. You’re welcome!
Steam Away Your Troubles
One of the most basic but effective spa treatments is sitting in a hot room, relaxing our muscles, opening our pores and trying not to pass out. Steam rooms and saunas are easy to find at any spa or good gym, but which is the best for our skin?
The difference is in the type of heat they use. While saunas use hot rocks to raise your body temperature, they create a dry heat. This is great for boosting circulation and easing muscles, but it tends to irritate some skin types. Steam rooms alternatively use boiling water (if you hadn’t guessed from the name) to generate a very humid heat, which comes with added benefits.
“Steam opens the skin’s pores and clears out any congestion,” explains Rupert Critchley, MD, founder of London’s Viva Skin Clinics. “Have you ever noticed that warm and healthy glow when you step out of the steam room? That’s because hot steam therapy increases peripheral blood flow, thereby improving your overall skin complexion.” The wet air drenches the skin in moisture, hydrating rather than stripping it, which makes it a great option for those suffering from skin conditions like eczema and dermatitis. It could also benefit oily, acne-prone skin, as the moisture can help rebalance overactive sebum glands while the heat and humidity work to simultaneously unclog and cleanse.
Not only will it cleanse your skin and leave you with a beautiful glow, the sweat you’ll inevitably produce will speed up the detox process, your sinuses will open up and clear your airways, and of course it’s a wonderful way to relax your body and your mind.
Exfoliation Treatments for Brighter Skin
At gabi+skin, we’re no strangers to exfoliation. In fact, our business started with a homemade coffee scrub and our other products naturally grew from there. Exfoliation is an essential part of your weekly skincare routine, and it’s a great spa treatment too. There are two main types of exfoliants - physical exfoliants, like scrubs and clay masks, and chemical exfoliants, like acid serums and peels.
Physical exfoliating treatments are practiced upon the entire body and prepare the skin for better re-mineralization. Combining massage techniques and exfoliation facilitates hydration, removes dead cells from the skin and speeds up the skin renewal process. This allows the skin's healthy cells to come to the surface, leaving it smooth, fresh, and further reducing fine lines and wrinkles. It can also have a detoxifying effect on your entire system as it unclogs your pores, decreases the build-up of grime, bacteria and sweat.
Chemical peels (also called chemexfoliation or derma-peeling treatments) are cosmetic treatments performed on the face, typically used as an anti-aging solution to rejuvenate the skin. They are commonly used to correct skin irregularities in texture, such as fine lines, and color, such as spots caused by sun damage. These peels have varying strengths, characterized by the different kinds of acids used in the applied chemical solution.
Whether you’re exfoliating at home, or in a spa, we recommend that you apply a moisturizer straight after this treatment, and remember not to over exfoliate, as it will lead to dry, flakey skin. Two to three times a week is plenty.
LED Light Therapy Can Transform Your Skin
LED light therapy has become a very popular treatment in the past few years.
If you deal with things like sagging, wrinkling skin, acne, and inflammation, you should try this. But how exactly can a device that emits bright lights help you get a clearer and more radiant complexion? We have asked some dermatologists to give us their opinion concerning everything about LED light therapy.
LED means light-emitting diode. "It works by emitting infrared lights (causing heat) in different wavelengths/spectrums, which have different skincare benefits," says dermatologist Dendy Engelman. "Amber light stimulates collagen and elastin. Red light is most commonly used to promote circulation. White light penetrates the deepest and works to tighten and reduce inflammation. Blue light kills bacteria."
During LED therapy, devices send light waves deep into the skin to trigger natural intracellular reactions. Depending on the light, your skin is going to respond differently. "If [the light is] red, your skin responds by building, strengthening, and maximizing cellular structure. Red light is also believed to target oil glands to reduce cytokines, which cause inflammation and play a role in chronic acne. In the case of blue light, specific wavelengths stimulate production of oxygen radicals that kill acnes bacteria, all without damaging skin," Engelman says.
If you decide to go get an LED treatment along with a massage or facial at a spa, you really don't have to do much but lie there. "We place LED panels a few inches away from the patient's face", says Sheila Nazarian, a plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills. "Eye protection is also placed as the lights are quite bright. We treat [the skin] for about 15 to 20 minutes. At first, it feels warm, but patients report really liking the feeling." The light doesn't cause any burns or skin damage. It's pretty much painless, and if you like lights, the colors can even be relaxing.
Microneedling Can Improve The Appearance And Texture Of Your Skin
Microneedling is a procedure that uses a bunch of tiny needles to puncture the very first layer of skin. This process works to rejuvenate your skin by boosting collagen production. In addition to treating pores, fine wrinkles, loss of elasticity, minor scarring (including acne scarring) and sun damage it also enables topical products to penetrate deeper into the skin, increasing their effectiveness.
The benefits are the same as LED light therapy, but a little more invasive. Most spas include the combination of LED light and microneedling in one visit to get the most of them to treat multiple skin concerns. "After microneedling, we finish with LED lights," says Nazarian.
Just note that this treatment can have some secondary effects. It varies by patient, but immediate side effects include redness, flaking, and mild irritation on the treated areas. These aren’t anything to worry about and will subside within 24-72 hours. It may be difficult to apply makeup over treated skin whilst it is flaking; similar to skin peeling after sunburn. Do not exfoliate as this will irritate the skin.