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Facials: Good for the Skin, Good for the Psyche

Facials are typically considered a means to an end: blast away zits, excavate pores, and tighten saggy areas. But imagine a better kind of facial, one that was more therapeutic, and helped pinpoint the underlying causes of skin issues. Elena Rubin, a New York-based facialist, is pioneering this type of holistic approach. Rubin brings a decidedly academic attitude to skincare: she graduated with a degree in engineering from Georgia Tech before working as a consultant and getting an MBA from Harvard. Now she spends her days geeking out on Tibetan healing practices, acupuncture points, and homeopathic remedies — all of which inform her facials. Here, she explains her untraditional methodology.

No Two Faces Are The Same

Rubin offers two types of facials: short and long. Her reasoning: “I tailor everything to the client, to make sure I’m giving them what is best for their skin.” Every new client fills out an exhaustive survey that covers lifestyle aspects like sleep, exercise, and alcohol consumption. This, paired with Rubin’s preternatural skin sense (she can take one look at your face and tell if you have conditions like candida or lactose intolerance), helps her determine a plan of action. Clearly, it goes without saying that she can tell if you’ve been trading sleep for late night partying.

A Pimple is not Just a Pimple

“Your skin is the first part of your body to show damage,” says Rubin. “That pimple is your body trying to tell you something.” Which is why, in addition to carefully chosen plant-based products, she also doles out gentle advice that ranges from drink more water and dial back your sugar intake to cut out dairy from your diet and see an acupuncturist.

Be Gentle

“The goal is to push the skin as far is it can go without stressing it out,” says Rubin. Too often, she says, we over-exfoliate, over-treat, and over-stress our skin. That can result in irritation, breakouts, and premature aging. This isn’t to say Rubin is against serious treatment — she employs high-tech practices like LED light therapy and microcurrents skillfully and in moderation. “Healthy skin glows and holds on to water,” she says. “It’s not so busy repairing – it can just look good.”

Rubin is in the process of opening a wellness center where patients can come for her signature facials, as well as see an acupuncturist, homeopathic practitioner, or a Tibetan healer. Live outside the city? Check out her line of thoughtfully formulated skincare.

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