The New York Times recently reported a debate between aestheticians and dermatologists on the effectiveness of facials. Doctors are suggesting that people have "unrealistic expectations" of what a facial can do for their skin and say that since they lack scientific evidence, they're a waste of money. However, considering the fact that facials make up $10.9 billion in the spa industry, aestheticians must be doing something right.
In all reality, no, a facial will not erase your wrinkles and make you look ten years younger. But if your expectations are managed and you get them for the right reasons, you will be pleased. A typical facial exfoliates, extracts and cleanses, leaving your skin feeling clean and moisturized.
Personally, I'm a big fan of facials, (especially the Mario Badescu European Facial) but definitely agree with The Times that if you have bigger skin issues, you should consult your derm.