Health + Beauty
What are Medical Facials?
These problem solvers can help the skin you’re in
Who doesn’t love a facial? The deep cleansing, exfoliation and intense hydration are a treat for any complexion.
But what if you have a real skin condition such as acne, rosacea or hyperpigmentation (dark spots)? To see real results, you may want to think about where you get your facial: Your dermatologist or plastic surgeon’s office may be a more suitable setting and a medical facial may be a more suitable treatment for your skin.
The biggest advantage of a medical facial is that office-based aestheticians can use products and techniques that your spa aesthetician cannot (and you can thank the law for that). There’s usually no “menu” at the doctor’s office, since each facial is customized for your skin, but here are a few offerings that you’ll find at the doctor’s office:
- Higher concentrations of active ingredients. You may love the glycolic mini-peel your regular facialist gives you-which could be 10% glycolic acid, max. But at the doctor’s office, you’ll get a significantly more potent peel since your dermatologist has access to 30% glycolic acid or more. This can mean fewer lines and a clearer complexion after a few treatments.
- Dermaplaning is a deep exfoliation that uses a scalpel to scrape off the top layers of skin. It may sound a little scary, but trust me, it’s a great way to get super-smooth skin and less noticeable scars.
- A slightly more gentle approach is microdermabrasion. This exfoliation treatment works by firing fine particles onto the skin to dislodge dead skin, which is then sucked away with vacuum pressure. This suction also helps bring blood flow to the surface of the skin, which can help your skin produce more collagen-and eventually lead to fewer fine lines.
- Similar to spa facials, medical facials also include extractions if your pores are in need of some deep cleaning.
If you are already taking medication for any skin condition, opting for a medical facial over a spa-based one is a great way to minimize negative side effects. The aesthetician in your dermatologist’s office knows about potential interactions that can leave you with possibly not-so-pretty side effects. If you’re thinking of scheduling a medical facial to freshen up before an event, just keep in mind that the more aggressive nature of a medical facial can leave you red and perhaps a little peely for the first few days after your treatment.
If you’re lucky enough to have such great skin that a spa facial is all you need to stay looking fresh, just be sure to always tell your aesthetician if you’re using any prescription products, since Retin-A, Renova and other retinoids, as well as Accutane can make your skin more reactive.
Most dermatologists recommend that those with normal skin get a medical facial a few times a year, so you don’t have to give up your feel-good spa facials. But if you have more problematic skin, a series of four to six medical facials spaced a few weeks apart may be just what the doctor orders to get your skin back on track. When you first sit down with the aesthetician, tell her (or him) what’s bothering and what your goals are, so together you can create the ideal treatment for your skin.