Last year, Americans spent nearly $17 billion on spa services. A lot of that money went toward facials: treatments that claim to remove blemishes, combat wrinkles, moisturize, regenerate, tighten and otherwise beautify the skin so that your face looks fabulous.

But is there evidence to support the claims (and costs) of these treatments? Experts say it depends on the type of facial, where you have it performed and the skin benefit you’re hoping to get out of it.

“I was at this beautiful spa in Santa Fe, and the esthetician giving me a facial said the next citrus emollient she was going to apply would help cleanse my liver,” recalls Ushma Neill, editor-at-large of the Journal of Clinical Investigation and vice president of scientific education and training at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. “I almost sat up in disbelief.”

That experience, Neill says, prompted her to investigate the existing science on spa facials. She published her findings in a 2012 report. Her conclusion? “I realized just how useless it all was,” she says. “I haven’t had a facial since I wrote that article.”

Neill says she doesn’t dispute claims that facials can temporarily revamp the skin by “moisturizing it to the max” and removing pimples and other blemishes. But when it comes to many of the fancier, pricier services that claim to combat aging or inflammation—everything from ozone and antioxidant treatments to stem-cell extract applications—most of that stuff is “complete malarkey,” she says.

Blog source: Time