Playing Damage Control: 3 Facials for Skincare Repair


We get a lot of questions from our spa-ers. And I’ve noticed a theme the past few days regarding skin woes: How can you rid your face of skin imperfections? These haphazards of the face include pesky blemishes from acne past, dark spots from sun damage (beaching for 9 hours seemed like a good idea at the time) and the normal wear and tear that comes with that whole “getting older” thing. So let’s get to it and nip the blemish in the face this Spa Week. Here are the three best treatments you should do to buff, peel and flash off  flaws. We’ve included some of the $50 spa treatments that you can sign up for now to get the job done. More where those came from on Face off!

Option 1: Microdermabrasion

The lowdown:

Microdermabrasion is sometimes coined the “instant facelift.” It is a painless and non-invasive procedure with little recovery time. (And by recovery we mean for swelling and redness to fade.) Microdermabrasion is a broad term for the application of tiny rough grains to buff away the surface layer of skin. All of the action in microdermabrasion takes place on the stratum corneum (this is your face’s protective shield). When you remove or break up this layer, the ever-so-smart body signals this as a mild injury and the troops rush in to replace the lost skin cells with new and healthy ones. Out with the old and in with the new!

The benefits:

With the often unattractive stratum corneum gone, the skin’s surface is improved. The newer skin cells look and feel smoother. Skin’s imperfections, like sun damage, blemishes and fine lines, are removed. Also, without that barrier medicinal creams and lotions are more effective because the thirsty lower skin layers can soak up the active ingredients.

The $50 treatments:

Option 2: Chemical Peels


The lowdown:

While most chemicals we use are to clean or are something with warnings, Glycolic, salicylic and lactic are types of acids that are commonly used on the face as chemical peels. During the treatment, the specific chemical is applied to small areas on the skin. These applications produce a controlled wound (sounds scarier than it is!), enabling new skin to appear. After the treatment, a reaction similar to a sunburn occurs (the severity depends on the type of peel). The new skin will show it’s face once the skin blisters and peels. Just make sure to plan accordingly so you can bring you’re A-face to that special occasion. The post chemical peel look doesn’t photograph well.

The benefits:

The new and regenerated skin will have an improved texture and tone than the old skin. Glycolic acid exfoliates the skin and is a great anti-aging treatment. Salicylic acid improves the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, blemishes and scarring. And the more friendly lactic peel is gentler and is good for first time users or people with sensitive skin. But don’t be afraid of the chemical peel; the pain is worth the gain.

The $50 treatments:


Option 3: Photo Facials


The lowdown:

Try the new wave of light waves. There are two types of photo facials with different results and different pain tolerance requirements. An IPL (intense pulsed light) treatment is a photo facial that delivers a bright blast of light at very high energy levels through a hand-held device. Warning: these can be painful. On the other end of the pain spectrum, LED (light-emitting diode) photo facials are painless, cool and relaxing. Make sure you choose the light that’s right for you.

The benefits:

The extreme light of IPL’s yields extreme results. The IPL photo facial is the better chose for treating brown spots, broken capillaries, spider veins, and facial redness. LED photo facials are a good choice for people who want to boost collagen or treat acne. Your skin will look better in a flash! (May require a series of flashes for best results.)

The $50 treatments:



Need an at-home hold-over till Spa Week? This FYSY (fix your skin yourself) skin lightening cream recipe will do your face good. Combine the juice of one lemon with one tablespoon of honey and one teaspoon of powdered milk. Heat the mixture up and stir until milk is dissolved. When cool, apply liberally to your face and neck, leaving it on for 20 minutes before rinsing off. Use daily for a month for a lightened and conditioned glow!


Pepto-Bismol Helps Diarrhea… and Acne?


Remember Jane Magazine? I seriously loved that mag when I was 17.  Now that we’re all grown up (sigh), the creator, Jane Pratt has a freaking awesome new website:, for us mature adults.  After perusing around the sex/love, entertainment and tech sections I made my way to beauty. After the first click, a very blonde, very pink face was staring at me from under the title, “I’ll Try Anything Once: The Pepto Bismol Facial.”

Cat from tries the Pepto Bismol Facial

First thought: Well, that stuff is never coming off. Second thought: Why in God’s name would you put that on your face?

As I read on, I learned from Cat,’s beauty blogger (and resident pink face), that Pepto Bismol contains salicylic acid, you know the active ingredient in like, every acne medicines. Interesting. Third thought: I need to get an expert’s opinion. This still looks crazy.

After chatting to Faina, the owner and head esthetician at Faina European Day Spa, I learned that salicylic acid is naturally found in plants like willow bark, wintergreen leaves and birch bark (who knew?), and is used to treat problem skin, e.g. blemishes, marks and scars. The acid exfoliates these problem areas, revealing new, younger looking skin. Faina uses salicylic acid all the time on her clients. She recommends their Acne Defying Facial ($150) which includes a salicylic acid treatment: exfoliation, cleansing, pre-solution, solution and a special cream to reduce redness and promote new cell turnover. This process is similar to the way Cat treated her face with that pink gunk; she exfoliated applied and then cleansed the crap out of her face.

On a side note, I’m not sure if you are aware, but I was a Division I athlete in college. So I got special treatment. I got to take the best (easiest) classes, like Over the Counter Drugs as a chemistry course. As I checked the Pepto label, I saw Magnesium Aluminum Silicate and I remembered learning about Magnesium in OTC Drugs. You can take Magnesium pills when you get poisoning or something, because Magnesium is an absorber. It’s an ingredient in Pepto because it helps soak up stomach acid so you don’t puke. That lead me to investigating Magnesium Aluminum Silicate and if it could help your skin. According to, it’s been in liquid makeup for over 50 years as an anti-shine, anti-oil agent. So this ingredient could also help mattify skin and de-grease zits and make your skin better looking after the Pepto facial.  (See, sometimes college and the word association game pay off.)

In conclusion, there is defiantly some validity to the Pepto Bismol Facial. I may have to try this as a spot treatment first, because having my face covered in pinky gloopy grossness is not going to happen.


Wait! Before you run to Duane Reade and throw 17 bottles of Pepto in your cart, remember this: any time you use a new skin treatment, you run the risk of an adverse reaction. Everyone’s skin is different. Check the label and ask your dermatologist before you put anything on your face. You could be allergic to some of the nausea fighting ingredients in Pepto, and that won’t make you look so hot this weekend. Happy Pepto-ing!

Ps. If you break out after pink-face, there’s always Faina‘s.