What is an Acne Facial (Acne Spa Treatment)?

There are multiple types of acne facials which aim to alleviate persisting acne symptoms. These range from at-home facials using over the counter products, to beautician facials you can get at a salon or spa and more medically focused dermatological treatments such as dermatologist chemical peeling.

Often referred to as an acne spa treatment, an acne facial is an alternative acne treatment that might be used by beauticians or salons. These sorts of acne treatments usually require multiple courses of treatments, either once a week or bi-weekly.

The acne facial treatment which you may receive at a spa or beauticians typically focuses on a deep pore and tissue cleansing ritual that uses antibacterial ingredients such as tea tree oils and lavender to reduce inflammation on the skin and avoid further acne breakouts. This acne treatment helps with cleansing the skin to remove bacteria and dirt from clogging the pores. This also includes oil secreted on the skin throughout the day. Acne facials also gently exfoliate the skin, which helps to remove dead skin cells.

As a result of the reduction in oil on the skin, the idea behind acne facials is that they can reduce skin irritation and improve hydration, encouraging wider collagen production to help the skin rejuvenate the outer layer of the skin.

What Acne Spa Facials are Available?

Healthline has produced a useful table that outlines how acne facials, which are available at spas and beauticians, might help certain types of acne including blackheads and white pimples.

Standard Acne Facial

A standard acne facial includes a steaming process. Steaming is a process of gently steaming the skin to encourage the pores to open (similarly to how they would in a sauna) and loosen the buildup of dirt in the pores, whilst also softening blackheads. Additionally, steaming will help the skin to release bacteria and dead skin cells that naturally clog your pores. Finally, steaming helps to release trapped sebum oil from the pores, again reducing clogging of your pores.

Next, an exfoliating scrub is used to both clean off dirt and bacteria on the outer layer of the skin, but also to help hydrate the skin and remove bacteria and oil on the skin through hydration. This uses skin massaging and scrubbing techniques to encourage blood flow through the skin for better results.

Decongesting Acne Facial

Using an extractor tool, small pimples are removed from the pores of your skin. This allows your skin to remove whiteheads and blackheads and clear your pores from being blocked, leaving a smoother skin profile.

It must be noted, however, that this is for the early stages of acne, and not cystic acne. Additionally, this is not a cure for the root cause of acne, but as part of a series of treatments within a plan to help to treat your acne.

Acne Facials Using Enzymes

The use of enzymes in acne facials are used by beauticians and acne spa facilitators. Enzyme acne facials use natural ingredients that are found in foods and are moulded into a facial peel. This works by removing the outer layer of the skin, again, similar to a chemical peel and focuses on helping encourage new skin cell regeneration.

Brightening Acne Facials

Brightening acne facials use acid peels (the closest facial to a chemical peel). These include ingredients that have antioxidants with vitamin C. These types of acne facials can be used at varying stages of acne and work by slowing melanin production, improving the speed at which the outer layers of the skin shed to produce a smoother skin profile with less inflammation.

Do Acne Facial Treatments Work?

There is currently no clear evidence to suggest whether acne facials work or not. It is believed that professional acne spa treatments will work better than at-home treatments as a professional acne facial using the correct ingredients, is likely to be better than a simple skin exfoliation mask at home. For the most effective acne treatment, it is recommended to see a dermatologist who can offer a wide range of acne treatments, starting with medication to suppress the inflammation until the acne disappears, coupled with an acne treatment plan that is suitable for your type of acne and skin.

Dermatologist Acne Treatments

Naturally, there are alternatives to facials. Acne Dermatologists provide a range of acne treatments, starting with medication and prescription creams to alleviate the inflammation, and then supported by treatments such as microdermabrasion, Dermalux LED phototherapy and chemical peeling. These are more medically focused acne facial treatments as opposed to scrubs and facials you might find elsewhere. Dermatologists are also able to offer effective acne scar treatment using techniques such as medical skin needling, laser resurfacing and in some cases, surgery.

The benefits of visiting a dermatologist for acne treatment include:

  • A tailored acne treatment plan that suits your acne/skin profile
  • Potential for faster results due to correct acne treatment for your skin
  • Acne treatments that are considered more likely to work, including medication that requires a prescription from a Doctor
  • Consultations by expert Doctors in their field who have completed extensive medical training
  • Treatment in Care Quality Commission approved facilities so you can expect the highest level of care
  • State of the art facilities and equipment
  • Consultations on mental health as well as physical.

As with any acne, it is important to manage expectations. With acne being a complicated skin condition, treatments and success will vary per person. Treatments can also take a couple of months before results are seen so it is important to be patient and follow the treatment course even if no immediate results are visible.

As long as you are not irritating your skin or acne, at-home acne facials can be useful in helping to maintain a cleaner, more hydrated skin profile. This can also help with your acne treatment plan by supporting the treatments you are receiving by keeping your skin in the best condition possible. However, before doing this, you should consult your dermatologist.

Seeing a Dermatologist for Acne Treatments

With acne being so complicated, it’s always best to consult an experienced dermatologist. For more information on acne treatments for your acne, we welcome you to book a consultation with us. Alternatively, please contact us to speak to one of our experts.


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