Acne Facials: Do They Help or Hurt?
Acne is caused by an increase in dead skin cells that contain keratin. These cells get clogged in the hair follicles within the skin, along with dirt, oil, and makeup. Salicylic acid and retinoids like retinol can help to clear this harmful debris from the pores, though these treatments can take six to eight weeks to work.
Acne facials are a great way to help speed up the process. However, there are a few problems and caveats with acne facials. Here’s what you need to know before getting one, as well as some of the best ingredients to look for in an acne facial.
What Is an Acne Facial?
Most acne facials include extractions and a facial massage with specific skincare ingredients. Extractions are used to remove built-up dirt and debris from the pores using pressure, while topical ingredients can help to further cleanse the pores and prevent acne-causing bacteria from causing new acne.
The technique and specific steps in your acne facial will depend heavily on the practice you’ve selected and your skin type and needs.
The Problem with Acne Facials
The extractions that are often included in acne facials can be problematic, as it is very technique-dependent. This is why you need to find an aesthetician trained in acne if you want an acne facial for extractions.
Extractions can lead to acne scars if not performed properly. Putting an uneven amount of pressure on the hair follicle (pore) can actually push the contents deeper and cause a cyst or a scar – or at a minimum, will not clear the pore. Additionally, the ingredients and massage technique used to apply the products to prep the skin will effect the following:
- The pressure needed to extract the keratinaceous material from the clogged pores.
- Damage to the hair follicle – if the follicle is damaged, more and more acne will occur in that pore, because the normal exfoliation process (called keratinization) in the pores will be altered. The only way to cure this when it happens is with retinoids or hydroxyacids.
- The skin must be cleansed properly with an antibacterial acne toner or pre procedure cleanser before and after extractions to prevent skin infections.
You must also use the proper skincare regimen for your Baumann Skin Type®, because it is better to prevent acne than to treat it. So you shouldn’t rely on acne facials to treat and prevent this common skin problem. Instead, talk to your dermatologist about the best daily treatment regimen to keep your skin clear and healthy.
What Are the Best Ingredients for Acne Facials?
A variety of topical ingredients may be used in an acne facial, depending on the provider. However, these five acne facial ingredients are the most effective:
- Salicylic acid
- Exfoliating enzymes like pumpkin
Be sure to ask which ingredients and products will be used during your acne facial prior to getting one. Let your provider know if you are currently using any acne treatment medications, in case they interact with some acne facial ingredients.
What Should I Apply to My Skin After an Acne Facial?
It is important that the aesthetician properly clean your skin with an antibacterial acne toner or cleanser before and after extractions. Your aesthetician will likely apply a soothing serum or a hydrating serum after the acne facial. Once you get home, I recommend using a hyaluronic acid hydrating serum like SkinMedica HA5 Rejuvenating Hydrator the night that you get an acne facial. If your skin still feels sensitive in the am, use the hydrating serum again. You can resume your normal skin care regimen once your skin doesn’t feel sensitive.
Who Are Acne Facials Best For?
Acne facials can be suitable for both teens and adults alike who are struggling to manage acne. However, it is important to remember that following a regular skincare regimen designed for your Baumann Skin Type® is the best line of defense against acne. Acne facials can be a good supplement to help speed up the treatment process, but they should always be used in conjunction with the proper skincare regimen.
Acne facials can be helpful in speeding up the acne treatment process, but extractions can be problematic in some instances. Work with your provider to develop a personalized skin care routine designed for acne-prone skin, and discuss the technique and ingredients used for acne facials before getting one.
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