Whether it’s used to illuminate a room or add a pop of color to your cuisine, it seems like Himalayan salt is everywhere these days. But while beauty buffs are used to slathering the stuff all over their bodies as a scrub to score smooth skin, the It-ingredient has found a new focal point as spas around the country have recently begun incorporating them into facial treatments to help rejuvenate skin in less than an hour.
Himalayan salt is said to have purifying and soothing benefits and can even absorb oils, thanks to the calcium, magnesium, and potassium that give the trendy seasoning its naturally rosy hue, according to Mona Gohara, associate clinical professor of dermatology at Yale School of Medicine. It’s also been praised for properties that make it ideal to tackle skin concerns including anti-aging and acne. “You can actually treat active acne with the salt facial where [with] a lot of treatments you can’t go over active acne because it is antibacterial and antimicrobial, and it’s a manual exfoliator,” says Lindsay Malachowski, Director of Operations at Skinney MedSpa in New York City, which offers the treatment for $350. “So it all helps to open things up.”
While you might picture pink crystals getting rubbed all over your face (or into an open wound), a finer grain is applied with small swipes from a microdermabrasion-like machine (without feeling like your face is getting sucked into a vacuum). “Unlike microdermabrasion…it’s a closed-loop, positive-pressure system, so it’s applying the salt to the skin but without pulling on the skin,” Malachowski says.
Following exfoliation, the skin receives an aesthetic ultrasound massage that pushes either a light moisturizer formulated with hyaluronic acid or a hydrating mask deep into the skin’s layers. The facial is finished with 20 minutes of high-intensity LED light therapy that helps to calm any irritation, kill bacteria (even the kind that causes acne), and stimulate collagen production.
The treatment promises to improve natural skin hydration and firmness as well as enhance radiance for a tighter and brighter look. “We started doing the salt facials on [our clients], and they saw amazing results,” Malachowski explains. “Their skin really cleared up, the pigmentation reduced, and then just overall, their skin was brighter, healthier, more toned, hydrated.”
Sure, salt facials offer some instant skin gratification, but the experts stress that it’s best not to overdo it with other services and to space at least three weeks between appointments. The same goes for anyone on a retinol, which Malachowski recommends discontinuing 72 hours before and after a salt facial. “You do want to be careful, just like going to the gym,” she explained. “You want to work out and have a routine, but you’re not going to take 3 SLT [Strengthen, Lengthen, Tone] classes in a day.”
If you do decide to snag a salt facial for yourself, be sure to speak with a dermatologist or a licensed esthetician, especially if you have rosacea, eczema, or any similar skin condition, to ensure you don’t end up with any irritation.
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