The secret to beautiful skin can be literally in your own hands Pricey anti-aging creams and weekly facials are getting harder to rationalize. Especially when there’s a free skin treatment at your fingertips. “Your hands are the ultimate tools. They can gauge your skin’s condition like a sensor and smooth out wrinkles like an iron,” says Japanese skin-care guru Chizu Saeki.
The former Christian Dior esthetician has spent 45 years in the beauty industry and sold over 3 million books on DIY skincare in Japan. Her latest book, The Japanese Skincare Revolution: How to Have the Most Beautiful Skin of Your Life–At Any Age has been translated into English for the first time, offering practical techniques to combat everything from puffiness to dry skin, using simple massage methods and quick facials with items readily available at home. Having suffered from “flaky dry skin” in the past, Saeki developed a “steam pack” facial — applying a thick layer of your regular moisturizer, then covering your face with a plastic shower cap or Saran wrap (with breathing holes for your nose and mouth) for 5 to 10 minutes to create a sauna-like effect. “The moisture will deeply penetrate your skin, giving it clarity,” says Saeki.
Dr. Joyce Davis
“This technique is called occlusion,” says Dr. Joyce Davis, a Manhattan-based dermatologist, who adds that it’s a common technique for relieving dryness caused by psoriasis and eczema. “It is an instant fix for a temporarily smoother, plumper complexion for someone with very dry skin,” she says. However, it’s not the best treatment for everyone. Warns Davis: “If you’re acne-prone, you don’t want to use a heavy moisturizer on the face.” Good for any skin type are Saeki’s facial massages, which she claims reduce puffiness and lessen wrinkles by draining lymphatic fluid and “toning the dermis and muscles.”
The doctor’s verdict?
The doctor’s verdict? “Lymphatic drainage massages can possibly reduce swelling from fluid accumulation in the tissues,” she notes. “But when you massage a muscle, you relax it, so it’s not going to tighten the jaw or lift the face.” Though calling it a freebie face-lift may be a stretch, Saeki’s facial massage does have its fans. Brooklynite Jenny Sandbank tested the steam pack facial using a moisturizer from her bathroom cabinet and Saran wrap from her kitchen cupboard. “When I pulled it off, my skin was really dewy and glowy and so hydrated,” says Sandbank, 42. “A guy called me ‘Miss’ that afternoon, and I can’t remember the last time that happened,” she grins.