Why Face Mapping Is The Most Proactive Form Of Skin Care There Is

Placing your face under UV light is both scary and fascinating.
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Placing your face under UV light is both scary and fascinating.

I'm gonna be straight with you. When I scheduled my "face mapping" appointment at Hand & Stone Spa in Scottsdale, I was a little terrified. And when I showed up to have my face examined under harsh and telling UV lights, I vocalized my apprehension and fears. 

Exactly how much sun damage was I going to see? And how much congestion from old dirt, oil, and the elements would present? Shudder.  

head and stone spa interior

Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa has numerous locations throughout the country. Many of them provide complimentary UV Face-Mapping.

"Don't be scared!" insisted Sheila, the friendly skin care expert who was there to "read" my face and answer my many questions. 

For some reason, baring all under this light was more nerve-racking than my first down there wax. Talk about stress!

face mapping machine

On the left is the front of the machine, where customers put their face. The right photo shows the viewfinder that the skin care expert looks through when examining your skin.

face mapping machine

You sit on a chair with the silver cloth enrobing your face to keep light out. 

I sat down, assumed the position, and the blue UV light flickered on. There's a mirror inside that allows you to view your face, as well. My initial reaction after all that anticipation was, "Well, that's not so bad!"

There were dark, purple spots on my lower cheeks from my most recent bout of hormonal acne. There were also some white, flaky patches on the center of my forehead and chin. And I noticed a faint smattering of slightly darker purple spots across my nose and upper cheeks, which were signs of skin damage from the sun.

The flaky stuff, Sheila explained, was buildup from dry, dead skin, a sign I needed a good exfoliation and more moisture. 

The sun spots were kind of obvious, as were the darker spots from recent blemishes. What wasn't as obvious were the slightly yellow parts that appeared around my nostrils and under my nose. Sheila said that this was buildup of oil and debris. Eww!

I stared at my skin--equally horrified and amused--for a little longer and then stepped out into the world of normal lighting. That dry, flaky skin? No way you'd even be able to tell it was there, yet it was obviously hindering my skin from reaching its potential for luminosity. And the yellowed parts? The sun damage? Invisible, but I'm better off for knowing it's all there.

face mapping results

Here's the map that Sheila created for my face. Notice the color codes and notes regarding problem areas.

face mapping skin solution suggestions

She also handed me these cards, which recommended various skin care regimens using products available at Hand & Stone.

clarity rx skin care products

The spa's assortment of Clarity RX products.

I was familiar with the Dermalogica brand, as I've used their products in the past. I was not, however, very familiar with the line my my esthetician used for my facial, Clarity RX, which uses organic-based and pharmaceutical-grade ingredients. 

head and stone spa toom

My esthetician performed a detoxifying facial that would eliminate the dead skin buildup, reduce clogged pores, and just give my face an overall healthier glow. She suggested some slight changes to my current regimen that would help my skin become more beautiful.

When all was said and done, my skin felt seriously amazing. Like, guys, even though I wasn't wearing an ounce of makeup, and I probably had a few red spots from extractions, I felt like a million bucks. I'll definitely go back.

bare face without makeup

My skin the next day. I look tired (and that's definitely some bed-head in the upper left corner), but heck if my skin doesn't look refreshed!

So here's the takeaway: While buzzwords like "face-mapping" may get side eye from skeptics, the process is pretty legit. You cannot see all the underlying issues of your skin in everyday light, but the UV light makes you face those issues straight on, which thereby allows you to address them.

  • Would you brave the UV light? Or would you rather just not see all of that? 
  • How do you feel about facials in general? How regularly do you get them, if at all?