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Are Facials Actually Good for Your Skin?

By Erika Luceri-Johnson

Chances are, if you’re committed to keeping your skin clear, you’ve treated yourself to a facial or two. But are these appointments really worth your time and money? In short: absolutely! Under the right circumstances, facials are a fantastic way to unclog pores and get your skin glowing.

Of course, not all facials are created equal. In order to book a facial that’s really going to benefit your skin, you first have to understand which facials actually target acne, and what type of aesthetician to seek out in your pursuit of a flawless complexion. We’re here to help.

Acne Facials vs. Frivolous Facials

Despite what movies and tv shows might have led to you believe, not every facial features masks, creams, and cucumbers over your eyes. While those facials can be a great way to relax, they’re ultimately not going to help you in your fight against acne.

Extractions, on the other hand, are absolutely the way to go. These facials are a little more hands-on — rather than simply rubbing topical products on your face, the aesthetician uses a comedone extractor to squeeze out blackheads and whiteheads.

That being said, creams, masks, and peels can (and should) be part of your facial experience. Without extraction, however, you won’t be getting to the root of the problem. If you’re wondering which facial to book, listen to WebMD — expensive doesn’t always mean better! Do your research before shelling out the big bucks. Sure, that oxygen facial might be trendy, but is there any concrete research suggesting it works? If a quick search of reliable sources indicates that the answer is “no”, it might be best to skip the procedure.

How Extraction Works

Before you can understand the totally fascinating (and slightly icky) way extraction works, it’s important to understand what causes pimples to form in the first place. It all starts with the sebaceous units we have in our skin, which are oil-producing glands where pimples form (because of overproduction of oil, bacteria, or dead skin).

As the pimple grows, it starts to become inflamed, oxidizing and forming a black- or whitehead. Often, it’s hard for your cleansers and creams to penetrate past the surface of the clogged pore. When you undergo an extraction, however — during which a trained aesthetician squeezes out the blockage — inflammation will go down, the bacteria will die, and your skin care products will be able to enter the now freed-up pore and keep it clear.

Finding The Right Aesthetician

This should go without saying, but we’re going to go ahead and say it — never go to an unlicensed aesthetician! Consider horror stories like beauty blogger Juli’s a cautionary tale of what could happen if you don’t go to a licensed professional.

There’s no need to run for the hills, though: an aesthetician with proper training will immediately be able to identify who’s a good candidate for which type of facial, and what products to use on sensitive, acne-prone skin. Beware of facialists offering prices way below their competition — there’s a good chance they haven’t earned the degree they’d need to bump up their price. It is important to see an aesthetician associated with a dermatologist.

Not sure what kind of facial (or which aesthetician) is right for you? Talk to a dermatologist to make sure your skin is in good hands.

Looking for help with your acne? Join ClearlyDerm’s Virtual Acne Program for personalized treatments without the hassle of an in-office visit.

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