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I consider myself pretty well-versed when it comes to skin care and facials. In fact, I should blame my beauty-obsessed mom for that one. I had my very first facial when I was just 16 years old. I knew nothing about skin care back then and hardly had a regime, but my mother was determined to get me on one. For my birthday she treated me to a spa day at one of the Bloomingdale’s skin spa locations in Manhattan, and the glow-y results had me desperate for more.

By the time I hit my twenties I was cleansing, moisturizing, and slathering on SPF like clockwork. I became a facial fiend, getting facials seasonally. How else was I going to keep my skin healthy and radiant?

Four facials a year might seem excessive to some, but facials really aren't just luxurious treats you should save only for special occasions. They are actually an important part in maintaining a beautiful and healthy complexion.

"Facials are important, period,” says aesthetician Trudilynne Pina, who works at Oliver's Salon and Day Spa in Allentown, Pennsylvania. "They not only make your skin more luminous-looking, but they teach women how to maintain and get a good skin-care regime going."


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I chatted with Pina and broke down everything you need to know and expect when getting a facial. Check it out and get ready to book that appointment.

Don't book just any ol' facial: You want to make sure you get a facial that actually addresses your skin's needs. "Customized facials are key," says Pina. "Get a skin analysis done beforehand. I have had clients come to me for one kind of facial and I'll look at their skin and tell them, 'This is a good facial that you picked, but this particular facial will enhance your skin a lot better.'"

Get regular facials: If you want long-lasting results, one facial a year isn't going to cut it. For the best results, you want to make sure you're getting them regularly. "I would recommend getting a facial at least every season because the changes in seasons can affect your skin," says Pina.

Minimize your chances of having an allergic reaction: Your aesthetician needs to be aware of any medications or topical treatments — such as acne creams — you're currently taking. "These things can interfere with ingredients being used for the facial and cause a reaction," says Pina.

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Be careful with extractions: "Extractions help clean your pores and are an important part of the facial, but I would recommend that if you are going to an aesthetician for the first time to please ask them if they use a high-frequency machine," says Pina. "That helps close the pores from underneath, so that your skin isn't susceptible afterward to environmental pressures and damage." She also adds that not everyone needs extractions. So if you don't have visible blackheads or whiteheads, feel free to skip it.

Speak up if something hurts: "Always say something if something doesn't feel right," says Pina. "If I hear the words tingly, burning, or stinging, I remove the mask immediately with cold water because that's usually a sign that something is wrong. Also, if the client isn't comfortable, they are not going to be able to relax and enjoy the experience."

Don't get a fresh blowout: "Don't come in with your hair done because chances are it will get messed up," Pina says. "There are some facial headbands out there, but many of them leave your hair really flat." Trust me: I learned very early on that the steam from facials turns your fresh blowout into a hot, frizzy mess.

Wear sunscreen afterward: "This is especially important for women with darker skin who are getting dark spots brightened," says Pina. "The brightening agents are not going to properly work if you're not using sunscreen to deflect the light immediately. The skin needs to be protected." So slather on that SPF asap!

Be wary of cheap facial deals: You might want to think twice before booking that Groupon facial deal. "I suggest doing your research and going to a reputable place that specializes in skin care,” says Pina. “If you’re seeing facials for $35, there's a problem. A facial that uses high-quality products and that's conducted by a talented aesthetician shouldn't cost less than $79."

Maintain and exfoliate: Pina recommends doing face masks at home between facials, but always remember to exfoliate. "If you don't cleanse and exfoliate the skin beforehand, you're not going to get the results the mask is designed to give you," she says. "Good exfoliation is key to getting smooth, luminous skin." I love the Bliss Micromagic Microdermabrasion Treatment. Wet your fingertips and apply using small circular motions.