12 Types of Facials to Consider for Your Skin
Now that you've decided it's time to get a facial, the next question you need to answer is what types of facials to consider for your skin type?
In our previous article, we took an introductory look at many frequently asked questions about what to expect and what exactly is a facial.
This article will go into detail about many of the different types of facials you've read about to help you decide what you might want to try.
Many of these treatments can be performed by different people in different facilities. For example, esthetician's clinics, day spas, medispas, and medical dermatology clinics. Within these environments, procedures may be performed by estheticians, nurses, technicians, and physicians. Be sure to choose your clinic type carefully and provider type, especially if you seek treatments that could cause burns, scars, or bleeding. I prefer to see a board-certified dermatologist for anything more than relaxing spa days.
Not to be thought of as dull, the classic facial was described in our first article. A series of multiple steps over about 45-90 minutes mixed in with some spa luxury. A classic facial will be tailored to your skin type and maybe hydrating, anti-aging, exfoliating, clarifying, etc. If you have sensitive or easily irritated skin, check out these lists of best and worst ingredients to look for.
Various types of facials, treatments and add-ons may be available, including some listed below.
Arranging an ongoing skincare plan and having a monthly facial will help keep your skin healthy and glowing and free of dead skin cells and clogged pores.
Deep Pore Cleansing Facial
A variation on the classic, this type of facial focuses on extractions and deep cleansing. They are best suited to people with skin that tends to be oilier. But how exactly do you get deep into the pores? Multiple steps go into a deep pore cleansing facial. They include heat/steam, often an enzyme peel, cleansing, extractions, and masks designed to absorb (ie. clay or charcoal).
We like to think of this as a subheading. What really does detox mean? A detox facial is likely designed to be similar from a deep cleansing and purifying standpoint. However, like with cosmetic claims and marketing, you could make an endless list of types of facials using all the marketing terms out there.
Microdermabrasion is a minimally invasive procedure that removes dead skin cells from your outer layer. It can improve the appearance of tone, texture, fine lines, age spots, scars, and sometimes melasma. It's performed with either an abrasive wand (a bit like sandpaper) or a very fine spray of particles that get vacuumed away.
There is minimal risk of downtime with some minor irritation for a few hours in some people.
A silk peel is a form of microdermabrasion with a twist. Like typical microdermabrasion, an abrasive (diamond head) device scrubs the skin's outer surface. At the same time, a gentle suction is applied, and a liquid serum is washed over the skin - all simultaneously. It's painless, and the type of serum used depends on your skin needs and goals for the facial. Options usually include hydration, vitamin C and others.
Chemical Facial Peel
In general, a chemical peel means that acid is applied to your face that will speed up the turnover of the cells and result in a more profound shedding of dead skin cells. The types of acids and the concentrations used vary—some examples: glycolic acid, salicylic acid, lactic acid, trichloracetic acid, carbolic acid.
The strength of a chemical peel and the degree of downtime/flaking you experience is divided into levels. A gentle peel (sometimes called a lunchtime peel) will exfoliate superficially with minimal (or zero) redness, flaking, or downtime.
A deep peel (sometimes called level 3) would be performed by a dermatologist with at least two weeks of significant skin redness, flaking, barrier damage, and downtime expected. Think of it as a chemical burn that generates healthy healing as it heals.
Vampire Facial (patient derived plasma treatments)
This is a medical procedure. This type of facial treatment aims to stimulate elasticity and collagen.
The procedures involve taking some of your blood, spinning it down to remove the red cells, and then reusing your plasma on your face or as an injection. It is often performed in conjunction with microneedling. The science behind it is that platelets are incredibly high in growth factors that help stimulate cell regeneration and repair.
A surgical scalpel (😳) is very gently scaped over the surface of your face to remove hair and the outer layer of skin cells. The ultra-smooth and new surface created allows better ingredient penetration into the skin.
This treatment is not recommended if you have bumpy/uneven skin, like acne, because the scalpel can cause cuts.
Maybe it's because I work in hospitals and use scalpels for medical reasons, but this one kind of freaks me out. Choose your provider carefully!
Sometimes called 'collagen induction therapy, microneedling involves pricking the skin with tiny, sterile needles. It is sometimes done with a derma roller for larger areas and sometimes with a small pen-like applicator for spot treatments. The needles penetrate enough to stimulate cell repair, effective for scars, pigmentation, enlarged pores, and possibly stimulating hair growth.
One of the advantages of microneedling is that it is effective while being more affordable than laser. But, again, talking to your board-certified dermatologist is an excellent place to start.
It can be a bit painful, depending on the depth of the needles and the size of the area, so some people use numbing cream. It also takes patience and time while multiple treatments are spaced over weeks to months. Finally, there is a risk of infection, bleeding, or bruising, which should all be very rare, provided you're getting treated by an experienced practitioner in a clinical environment.
If you've ever had physiotherapy that used a TENS machine, this is a similar concept. Microcurrent facial treatments are painless and noninvasive. The most common method is to stimulate muscle contractions to tighten and provide a lifted appearance.
Acupuncture is a medical procedure that needs to be performed by a trained practitioner. Many facial trigger points for both acupuncture and acupressure treatments exist. These can be linked to general wellness for your body and your appearance. Sometimes paired with microcurrent application, the goal is to stimulate collagen production and connect tissue tightening/lifting.
LED Light Facials
LED light therapy is a relatively new skincare option, with some at-home treatments available. The primary purpose of LED lights is to use different wavelengths to target specific skin conditions. For example, blue wavelengths are known to kill acne-causing bacteria and also help improve inflammation. Red wavelengths target cell rejuvenation and collagen production.
This is a big step up in intensity from LED therapy in effectiveness and results. Photo facials are usually provided using a laser, though sometimes a device called IPL (intense pulsed light) is used. This medical-grade procedure must be performed safely, especially to protect your eyes from damage or your skin from burns.
There is some discomfort, but it is minimal. There's no significant downtime, but some small areas of swelling or redness may occur. Also, your pigmented spots will get darker and become more noticeable until they flake off in 2-3 weeks. The results include brightening of dark spots, and reduced red capillaries.
What Other Types of Facials are There?
The sky's the limit!
Remember, many of the above types of facials and treatments are available as add-ons to other services.
Based on your skin type, some variations of the classic facial would include deep cleansing, hydrating, brightening, aromatherapy, and more.