Amid noisy downtown traffic and towering concrete buildings of City College, I was surprised to find such tranquil respite within the Skin Bar at the Career Technology Center (V-Building). I was welcomed into the Cosmetology Department’s esthetician lab with the scent of herbal essential oils, calm minimal lighting and gentle classical music; instantly, I felt transported far from campus and away from the stress of the day.
Kameal Thomas, the student esthetician performing my facial, began by wrapping me in a cocoon of sheets, then turned on a steam machine and a special blue light that was said to help disinfect and discourage acne-causing bacteria. The hour-long facial included two rounds of cleansing, a thorough exfoliation, an oil massage on my face, neck and shoulders, a skin analysis, and a final application of moisturizer with sun protection.
I felt immediate relief as she firmly massaged the knots in my neck and shoulders caused by long hours of working in front of a computer. “It’s relaxation that also serves a purpose,” said Thomas. As she massaged along my jawline and neck, she explained that the motion encouraged a healthy flow of the fluid that swells in lymph nodes from stress hormones, drawing away from the face and preventing acne. I don’t expect a single treatment to have any long-term effects, but I did leave with amazingly smooth, hydrated skin that I couldn’t stop touching, plus a noticeable decrease in stress that lasted throughout the day.
The plain facial was provided to City Times as a compliment of the Cosmetology Department, but is available to students and staff with SDCC ID card for $10, and to to the public for $20 (cash only). All services at the Skin Bar are offered on a walk-in basis only from Tuesday to Saturday. A full list of services and hours of operation can be found on the City College Cosmetology Department website.