Exfoliation is a skin care therapy in which the outer layers of dead skin cells are gently sloughed off with the use of an abrasive tool or product. Any area of the skin can be exfoliated. By speeding up the skin’s natural process of shedding dead skin cells, exfoliation helps prevent pimples and blackheads.
Microdermabrasion is a method of exfoliation that uses a machine to remove dead surface skin cells and initiate cellular turnover. It was first adopted in Europe in the 1980s and was introduced to the United States in the late 1990s. Its introduction led the revolution of device-driven, noninvasive cosmetic procedures.
A chemical peel is an acid solution that is applied to the skin. It dissolves the outermost layer of skin cells, which then peels off over the following days to reveal the fresher, younger layer below. Peels are very effective in treating a large range of skin concerns such as aging, sun damage, acne, mild scarring, improving skin brightness, and evening skin tone.
Waxing is the most common method of hair removal in spas today. Hair on any part of the body or face can be waxed. Warm wax is applied to the area and then removed, bringing the hair with it. There are two types of wax: hard and soft. Hard wax, which is easier on delicate skin, is often used on the face, underarms, and bikini area. Soft wax is used on the legs, arms, back, and chest.
Esthetics is the application of various treatments to the skin, to maintain its health and vitality. Estheticians are trained in skin wellness, helping their clients balance oil and moisture content and achieve a healthy, youthful complexion. As well as various facial treatments (described in more detail below), they commonly also perform body treatments such as salt or sugar scrubs, moisturizing or slenderizing body wraps, hair removal techniques such as waxing or threading, and hand/foot treatments to rejuvenate the skin.
An extraction is the process of clearing a clogged or compacted pore by manual or mechanical means. Extractions are often performed as part of a facial. Most people need at least a couple of extractions during each facial, though you may require more extractions if this is your first facial.
If you are considering a future skin care career, ASCP can help you decide. If you have questions that are not answered on this page, please feel free to contact us.