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Are Facials Good for Your Skin? (Answered by a Dermatologist & Aesthetician)
are facials good for your skin

Many women swear by facial treatments–but are facials good for your skin? We’ve looked everywhere and the response seems to be a mixed bag. But women want answers. So we’ve gathered the best of the best and talked to an award-winning dermatologist and celebrity aesthetician to give you the facts. Let’s get into it.

Are Facials Good for Your Skin?

In general, yes, facials are a great way to not only clean your skin but to remove dead skin cells and toxins. After a facial, your skin should look and feel much cleaner. Facials can also help prevent acne and blackheads. Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of getting a facial, the potential risks, and what you should know before you book your facial.

What Is a Facial?

What is a facial?

A facial is a beauty treatment designed to give your face a deep cleanse, exfoliate and hydrate skin with specialized creams and serums. They are traditionally used to improve the overall look and feel of your skin. But many women also rely on this method for help with other things such as reducing excess oil, achieving clear skin, fading wrinkles, and helping with acne. Facials are typically performed in a spa by an aesthetician or sometimes in a clinic by a dermatologist.

Dr. Erum Ilyas, MD, MBE, FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York, notes that most facials are comprised of a series of steps that include:

  • Cleansing the skin
  • Extraction of blackheads
  • Exfoliation
  • Facial massage
  • Applications of creams, serums and sunscreen

There are many different kinds of facials to choose from. From the classic facial and dermaplane to hydra and microdermabrasion facials–there are a variety of options to pick from based on your specific needs. We’ll dive into the most popular choices later in this article. 

Benefits of Facials

are facials good for your skin?

Here’s a controversial topic. Are there truly any benefits from facials? Many women report healthy, vibrant and glowing skin following a facial treatment. “Facials can also help address specific concerns like acne or pigmentation,” says Joshua Ross, a celebrity aesthetician and founder of SkinLab in Manhattan Beach, California. But the benefits all depend on your skin type and the facial you choose.

On the other hand, Dr. Ilyas told us that facials are actually a very temporary treatment. The moisture and exfoliation women experience immediately after unfortunately does not last forever. So what’s the known benefit of a facial then? It seems to be the relaxation component and self-care aspect of taking time for yourself to get pampered. Here’s a complete list of ways facials can be beneficial:

1. Healthy Skin

One of the best benefits of getting a facial treatment is achieving and maintaining healthy skin. Whether you have dry skin, oily skin, combination skin, or normal skin, regular facials can work wonders.

2. Deep Cleansing

A good facial involves deep cleansing of your skin. This helps to remove excess oil, buildup of dead skin cells, and unclog pores. For those with oily skin, this is particularly beneficial as it reduces the chances of acne and breakouts.

3. Improves Skin Texture

Facials can also improve the texture of your skin. By exfoliating dead cells, your skin’s surface becomes smoother and softer.

4. Even Skin Tone

Do you struggle with dark spots, acne marks, or uneven skin tone? Professional facials, especially those using vitamin C or chemical peels, can help to lighten dark spots and create a more even complexion.

5. Youthful Appearance

As we age, our skin naturally loses collagen, leading to the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Regular facials can help to boost collagen production, which contributes to a more youthful-looking skin.

6. Reduces Appearance of Fine Lines

If you’re concerned about the aging process, facials can be an excellent way to address this. Some facials, like lymphatic facials or those using hyaluronic acid, focus on reducing the appearance of fine lines.

7. Boosts Collagen Development

Collagen development is crucial for maintaining firm and plump skin. Certain types of facials, such as oxygen facials or those with hyaluronic acid, can boost collagen development.

8. Clears Skin Issues

Whether it’s acne-prone skin, dry areas, or excess oil, facials can target specific skin issues. For acne-prone skin, facials with salicylic acid peels can be beneficial in clearing out pores.

9. Addresses Specific Skin Concerns

One of the best things about facials is that they can be tailored to your specific skin type and concerns. Whether you have sensitive skin, suffer from skin conditions, or have specific skin concerns, there’s a type of facial for you.

10. Improves Blood Circulation

A good facial massage isn’t just relaxing; it also improves blood circulation. This means more oxygen and nutrients are delivered to your skin’s cells, promoting healthier skin.

11. Lymphatic Drainage

Lymphatic facials or lymphatic massages are great for promoting lymphatic drainage. This helps to reduce puffiness, especially around the eyes, and detoxify the skin.

12. Relieves Psychological Distress

Taking care of your skin isn’t just about the physical benefits; it can also have psychological benefits. Facials can be a relaxing and therapeutic experience, reducing stress and promoting overall well-being.

13. Prevents Sun Damage

Sun damage can lead to premature aging and skin issues. Some facials, especially those with light therapy or specific skincare products, can help to repair and prevent sun damage.

14. Enhances Skincare Routine

Facials aren’t a replacement for your daily skincare routine but rather a complement to it. They can enhance the effectiveness of your skincare products by ensuring they penetrate deeper into the skin.

15. Promotes Skin Rejuvenation

Over time, our skin can become dull and tired-looking. Facials promote skin rejuvenation by stimulating cell turnover and revealing fresh, glowing skin.

16. Tailored Skincare Products

After a facial, skincare professionals often recommend products tailored to your skin’s needs. This ensures you’re using the best treatments for your skin type and concerns.

17. Saves Time and Money

While it may seem like facials cost a lot of money, they can actually save you money in the long run. By maintaining healthy skin, you may reduce the need for expensive skincare products or treatments.

18. Educational

During a facial, professionals often provide skin analysis and advice on how to care for your skin. This knowledge can help you develop a good skincare routine that works for you.

19. Different Types of Facials to Choose From

With so many different types of facials available, you can choose the best option for your skin. Whether it’s a classic facial, aromatherapy facial, or a natural facial, there’s something for everyone.

20. Improves Blood Flow and Skin Glow

Facials increase blood flow to the skin, resulting in a natural glow. This is due to the increased circulation of oxygen and nutrients to the skin’s surface.

So, whether you’re looking to improve your skin’s health, target specific skin concerns, or simply relax and unwind, a facial treatment is a great way to achieve healthier, clearer, and more youthful-looking skin.

Can facials be harmful?

“There is the potential for facials to do some harm and trigger inflammation in response to various products used,” says Ilyas. If you are looking to get a facial, it’s detrimental to find a reputable spa or clinic that follows all the safe sanitary guidelines. If facial devices used for extraction are not properly sterilized, you could run into some major complications.

Other potential negative side effects of facials according to the Northern Colorado Advanced Aesthetics Academy are:

  • Irritation
  • Redness
  • Breakouts
  • Scarring
  • Dryness

Who should get a facial?

Facials can really be for anyone. “Especially those concerned with acne, texture, or uneven pigmentation in the skin,” says Ross. They can also be great for moms wanting to get out and pamper themselves. It’s a relaxing routine and ceremonial-type practice for mom self care. Just be sure to check in on your skin to see how it reacts to your treatments and adjust accordingly.

Popular Types of Facials

are facials good for your skin? Types of facials

So now you want to try a facial, but not sure which is best for you. Here are a few popular facials offered at most spas:

The Classic Facial

A great choice for anyone new to facials. This is a standard treatment that includes cleansing, exfoliating, blackhead extraction, a mask, and moisturizer. Less harsh chemicals are used in this standard facial which makes it great for newbies. 

Microdermabrasion Facial

With a microdermabrasion facial, an aesthetician will use a small tool with a crystal tip to essentially sand the thicker outer layer of your skin. This facial is believed to help with scarring, sun damage, dark spots, evening out skin texture, and helping fade light wrinkles.

Dermaplane Facial

A dermaplane facial exfoliates the skin using a scalpel to gently remove the outer layer of dead skin and hair. The goal is to gain a brighter and smoother complexion from this treatment. Many women report an easier and smoother application of makeup following their dermaplane facial. 


This option is known to help with brightening and firming your skin. A HydraFacial treatment uses a machine to cleanse, exfoliate, and apply several serums. It features a suction tool to help open up pores for easy extraction of dead skin and dirt for that rejuvenation result.

Aromatherapy Facial

Using essential oils derived from plants, this facial not only benefits the skin but also provides relaxation and stress relief through aromatic scents.

Hyaluronic Acid Facial

Hyaluronic acid is known for its hydrating properties. This facial uses hyaluronic acid-infused products to plump and moisturize the skin, leaving it looking dewy and refreshed.

LED Light Therapy Facial

Uses different colors of LED light to target various skin concerns, such as acne, inflammation, and collagen production. It’s non-invasive and promotes skin rejuvenation.

Are Facials Worth It? 

Woman looking in mirror

So all-in-all, what are the facts? “Facials fall under a category of treatments provided by aestheticians that will provide a very temporary and transient effect of mild exfoliation and temporary moisture,” states Ilyas. You technically don’t need facials and there aren’t any solid medical benefits. But if it works for you and you love the results and relaxing self-care component without any negative reactions, go and treat yourself.

FAQ About Facials 

Is it safe to get a facial while breastfeeding?

The chemicals used on your skin during a facial do have the potential to enter your bloodstream. Dr. Ilyas recommends avoiding facials and chemical peels while breastfeeding to avoid any risks. But sometimes moms want a solution for their skin concerns. “If you are dealing with skincare challenges that need to be addressed at this time, talk to your dermatologist about combinations of products that are considered Pregnancy Category B as options to try,” says Ilyas. 

Are facials safe during pregnancy?

There are limited studies about the chemicals used in facials and how they react to babies during pregnancy. Since the products used during a facial may enter your bloodstream, Dr. Ilyas says it’s best to avoid them while pregnant. But if you need skincare help in the meantime, talk to a dermatologist for other recommendations. 

How do I know what facial is best for my skin?

Ross gives insight into this common question. “When booking a facial I generally recommend scheduling what sounds like will be most catered to your skin needs. When you arrive, the aesthetician will do a consultation and will confirm, or recommend a different facial depending on your skin needs.”

How often should you get a facial?

It’s up to you! “[Facials] provide a very temporary and transient effect of mild exfoliation and temporary moisture,” notes Ilyas. If you are happy with the short-term skin benefits and enjoy the self-care routine, talk to your aesthetician about recurring appointments.

Do regular facials help with acne?

Yes, and no–it depends on your specific skin type and body. Ross notes that facials are great for addressing specific skin concerns such as acne. But Ilyas has experienced patients with triggered acne flares following a facial. Everyone handles a facial differently, so it’s best to start slow if possible and see how your skin reacts.

Which facial is best for dry skin?

Dr. Ilyas gives her recommendation on finding the right facial for dry skin. “Focus on treatments that have less alpha and beta hydroxy acids, and instead have hydrating ingredients such as hyaluronic acid.” Check into your local spa services or clinic and ask if they have a hyaluronic acid facial or something similar.

What is the best facial for after pregnancy?

New moms usually crave some form of self-care after having a baby. And a lot of them turn to facials. “After pregnancy, lymphatic drainage facials are frequently recommended,” says Ross. This type of facial encourages circulation to create brighter skin and helps reduce puffiness–it’s super relaxing which is also a plus!

Disclaimer: All content within this site is not intended as medical diagnosis or treatment and should not be considered a substitute for, nor does it replace, professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You are solely responsible for ensuring that any health or nutritional information obtained is accurate. 

Experts in this article:

Dr. Erum Ilyas, MD, MBE, FAAD, is a board-certified dermatologist in New York. She gives practical skin care advice and takes the time to listen to her patients to help diagnose and address their concerns effectively. Dr. Ilyas is also the CEO & Founder of AmberNoon, a clothing line offering daily sun protection while staying trendy.

Joshua Ross is a celebrity aesthetician and founder of SkinLab in Manhattan Beach, California. He is well-known as a skincare expert helping clients transform their skin–whether it’s working with celebrities on The Real Housewives or serving clients at his Brentwood spa.