Why Your Face Needs a Massage

Photo: Stockbyte/Getty Images

Photo: Stockbyte/Getty Images

Washing your face isn’t what it used to be. In fact, many brands now provide in-depth instructions on application for consumers. Here’s one that might sound familiar: Dab the product in circular motions, then press lightly into the skin with two fingers for further penetration, and dab again with a hot muslin cloth to remove the cleanser. This process may seem mundane and, quite frankly, frivolous for a Monday morning, but you may very well be pleasantly surprised by the results.

“How you apply skin care products is just as important as the products you are using,” says NYC board-certified dermatologist Dr. Francesca Fusco. “Application, massage, and direction of massage will optimize the results of all skin care products.” Skincare brand Vichy conducted a consumer test in 2009 on 30 women aged 30-60 years to evaluate the effectiveness of a facial massage, with techniques invented by physiotherapists and beauticians. The results found a 59-percent increase in skin firmness, 39-percent decrease in visibility of wrinkles and 17-percent decrease in shine. How’s that for results?

“Well-performed facial massages influence the flow of lymphatic, blood, and interstitial fluids, which improves drainage of toxins and revitalizes the skin and muscles,” says Dr. Fusco. “The results [of the study] show that the effectiveness of skin care formulas are multiplied by the action of the massage compared to the product itself applied without it.”

The key is to use smooth, soft movements. “Elastin fibers are like rubber bands,” says master esthetician & laser specialist Kim Laudati. “Stretch them back and forth too often or too quickly and they’ll wear out.” To drain lymphatics, which will reduce puffiness under the eyes, she suggests using rhythmic and light strokes. “For exfoliating movements, gently massage exfoliating products with water, in small circular motions,” and “for application of serums and moisturizers, perform circular and rhythmic strokes spread evenly to help penetrate. This will reduce the chance of product buildup which creates congestion and breakouts,” Laudati says.

Read more: How an All-Oil Skin Care Routine Can Give You Clear Skin