How to choose the best facial for your skin type.

Image via iStock

Spas can be daunting places. When you’re faced with an extensive menu of facial treatments, it can be tempting to just pick the most exotic-sounding one — but, unsurprisingly, that doesn’t always guarantee you the results you’re after.

According to Sanctuary Spa celebrity facialist Nichola Joss, facials are by no means a one-size-fits-all treatment. If you really want to get the most out of your experience, it’s best to start by choosing one that will work best for your skin type.

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And, while professional facials are fantastic, your at-home skincare routine also has a significant impact on the results. Here’s what to ask for in the spa and how to back it up at home, regardless of your skin type.

Oily skin

Those with oily skin should choose a professional facial that focuses on deep cleansing and balance.

“Oily skins should not be over-exfoliated as it can lead to excess sebum being produced,” says Joss.

Dry skin needs both oil and water. Image via iStock.

At home, ensure you are double cleansing in the evenings and following up with a pore-refining toner to help reduce and refine pores while rebalancing the PH of the skin.

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Joss recommends choosing treatments and products that include citrus ingredients which are great for cutting through the grease and rose for soothing skin and reducing redness.

Dry skin

"Dry skin needs both oil and water to balance it out, so look for facials that include masks, which will help penetrate product into the skin," says Joss.

An exfoliating treatment is good for dry skin to help with the removal of flaky skin, but care needs to be taken as your skin can be quite fragile, sensitive, tight and sore. Joss advises using a gentle exfoliator or Muslin cloth with creamy cleansers.

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At home, choose products made with bees wax, jojoba and shea butter, and add a few drops of a rich facial oil into your daily moisturiser to ensure your skin is getting an extra boost of moisture. Massaging oils into your skin in the evening will also help hydration. (Post continues after gallery.)

Dehydrated skin

Dehydrated skin indicates a lack of water, which can be caused by several factors including age, air conditioning, central heating, a poor diet or a harsh skincare routine.

Because of this, the skin's natural exfoliating cycle slows down. According to Joss, your best bet is going for facials that include gentle exfoliation — both physical or enzyme — as they're a great way to improve the condition of flaky, dry skin.

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At home, applying oils to your skin is a good start to sealing in the water content and preventing dehydration. Adding a facial oil to your daily skincare routine, like the Sanctuary Spa Lipid Recovery Facial Oil, will keep skin hydrated and looking dewy and healthy. For cleansing try a cleansing oil, as they're gentle and won't strip the skin.

Combination skin

This skin type has the combination of both oily and dry areas, which ideally need to be treated separately.

For professional treatments, Joss advises trying enzyme, chemical or even microdermabrasion exfoliants.

At home, use a foamy cleanser in the morning to help reduce the oil which has built up overnight and a creamy one in the evening to help with dry areas. Generally, your skin will benefit from using lighter lotions along the T-zone and something a little richer on the cheeks. Great ingredients include geranium, rose and jojoba. (Post continues after gallery.)

Blemish/acne-prone skin

"Oxygen facials are great for blemish-prone skin as oxygen has an anti-bacterial affect on the skin," says Joss.

She also recommends using targeted products for blemishes and congested skin and applying to problem areas even before breakouts, as this will prevent spots from appearing. Your best bet is to use calming ingredients like lavender or tea tree oil, which will also help to rebalance the pH levels in oily, blemish-prone skin.

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For a natural DIY option, Joss recommends rubbing raw potato paste on your skin to get rid of pimples, or mixing cocoa powder, mint leaves and peppermint oil with grated lemon rind to naturally elimate blemishes and breakouts.

Mature skin

Oxygen facials are also a great option for mature skin, as the penetration of oxygen into the basal layer of the skin encourages cell renewal and helps regulate pigmentation.

Joss's number one tip for ageing skin? Cleanse in an upwards direction to help lift the skin and muscle and go for a creamy cleanser to minimise the appearance of fine lines.

How often do you get facials?

Sanctuary Spa have recently launched their #LetGo movement, a campaign to encourage women to relax, breathe and take a break to avoid burning out from our busy lives. You can learn more here.