Do Acne Facials Work? Our Guide to the Popular Treatment

BY: Groupon Editors |Oct 16, 2017

Acne is the most common skin disease—an estimated 80% of the population has experienced it at some point in their lives. It occurs when oil mixed with dead skin cells clogs follicles, leading to the growth of bacteria. One potential way to treat acne is an acne facial performed by a licensed aesthetician.

But what exactly is involved in an acne facial? And will it work to get rid of all types of pimples? Below, we answer some of the most common questions about acne facials to help you determine if the treatment is right for you.

What is an acne facial?

An acne facial is much like any other type of facial, but specially formulated to try and kill acne-causing bacteria, unclog pores, and reduce oil production.

What happens during the facial?

Aestheticians first remove makeup and dirt from the skin using a cleanser formulated for acne. After analyzing acne, blackheads, and red marks with a brightly lit magnifying lamp, the aesthetician usually opens up pores with steam and exfoliates the skin. They may perform extractions to remove clogs, though they should never attempt to extract deep and inflamed blemishes such as nodules or cysts.

The skincare expert might then perform a facial massage to boost lymphatic drainage before applying various products to reduce surface oil, fight acne bacteria, unclog pores, and calm inflamed skin.

How long do facials for acne take?

Like most facials, they generally last about 60 minutes.

What special ingredients and acne treatments are typically used to help clear skin?

Aestheticians usually use a cleanser containing such proven anti-acne ingredients as benzoyl peroxide (which helps kill acne bacteria) or salicylic acid (which helps exfoliate the clogged pores). They may also use a clay mask or other oil-fighting products, as well as products with anti-inflammatory ingredients like chamomile and feverfew.

Do acne facials work?

For some people who suffer from typical mild acne breakouts caused by an oily t-zone, acne facials can be a very effective part of an anti-acne skincare regimen. But depending on the severity of your acne and the treatment's ingredients, anti-acne facials may not be effective at all. It's important to look at the ingredients used in the skincare products to determine whether they'll be effective. For instance, benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, and sulfur are proven acne fighters, but they may not work on moderate to severe acne.

People with moderate to severe acne are usually better off seeing a dermatologist, and those suffering from hormonal or inflammatory acne probably need a more medically-focused treatment to clear their skin.

Still, visiting an aesthetician for a facial might still be beneficial, even if the facial itself doesn't work miracles. At the very least, the skincare expert can evaluate your acne and may be able to recommend at-home products or an acne treatment that can help.

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