Facials are a skincare procedure generally found on most spa menus for those seeking an hour of relaxation with minimal results. But for a treatment that’s a bit less luxurious albeit with much more pronounced results, medical facials are a great treatment option. They give extra attention to your skin problems with a skin analysis and customizable treatment plan and concentrate on exfoliation to renew your skin’s surface. If you’ve been considering a medical facial or maybe this is the first you’re hearing of it, here is everything you need to know before getting a medical facial.
What is a medical facial?
A medical facial is a highly-customizable treatment very similar to and following generally the same steps as a spa facial: cleansing, exfoliation, extractions, and moisturizing but with the use of medical-grade products and tools. Because they use these tools – light and laser treatments, peels, and microdermabrasion – the medical facial is more intense and the results are longer-lasting. However, medical facials are not what you would consider relaxing or pampering like a spa facial.
Your skin generally renews itself every 4 to 6 weeks but as you age, that rate slows down, resulting in wrinkles and lackluster skin. With a medical-grade facial, you are exfoliating away those dead skin cells and revealing a beautiful, new layer of skin.
Medical facial vs. spa facial
If an hour of relaxation and pampering are your goals, then a spa facial would be your preference between the two options. A medical facial is what you would choose if you are looking to actually improve or correct a skin condition or alleviate the signs of aging. The emphasis of a medical facial is to tackle serious skin concerns that need a clinical approach to deliver results.
Who are the best candidates for medical facials?
Medical facials can use a wide variety of methods, tools, and medical-grade products so they are very customizable to your specific skin needs, whether it be sun damage, acne, dehydration, or aging signs. Because of this, they are an effective skincare option for nearly everyone.
However, people who are on severe prescriptions (Accutane, for example) to treat skin problems like acne or rosacea can tend to increase skin sensitivity should discuss with an aesthetician before getting a medical facial. Pregnant women, people with heart conditions, and people who take blood thinners should avoid treatments that use photorejuvenation (IPL) which is often included in a medical facial.
Your Virginia Surgical Arts skincare professional will discuss any allergies, medications, or skin sensitivities with you and recommend a customized treatment plan.
What happens during a medical facial?
A medical facial can include a combination of treatments such as:
- Steam helps to enhance circulation, open up your pores and soften the surface of the skin to make your skin more receptive to treatment.
- Deep pore cleansing cleanses the skin without disrupting its pH balance, oils, and liquids that are essential to maintaining the skin’s health.
- Massage of the face, neck, and decolletage helps to reduce fluid retention and flush out toxins by promoting circulation.
- Exfoliation with either microdermabrasion crystals or chemical peels stimulates the renewal of skin cells, removes the top layer of dry, dead skin to allow the products to absorb deeper into the skin, and fades breakout marks.
- Light peel (for a more in-depth look at chemical peels, check out this article).
- Manual extraction is used to remove any congestion of the pores like blackheads or whiteheads resulting in a smoother complexion.
- Masks are generally used at the end of the medical facial to reduce redness and hydrate the skin.
- Hydration and SPF are possibly the most important steps of the facial and generally come last. A toner will be applied to restore the skin’s pH followed by a moisturizer designed for your specific skin type, which is a critical part of any skincare routine. Finally, a broad spectrum SPF product is used to protect your skin from UVB and UVA rays.
The treatment will generally start with a skin analysis when you can discuss any skin concerns, medications or allergies with the professional who will then assess your skin type and determine what tools will be used for your customized medical facial.
Depending on the treatments performed, your medical facial may take about 30 to 90 minutes. You may experience some mild discomfort and redness following the treatment depending on the ingredients in the products that have been used. It’s important that you follow the post-procedural routine that your skincare professional lays out for you particularly if you’ve had a treatment that increases your skin’s sensitivity to sunlight.
When is the best time for me to get a medical facial?
The frequency and timing of when you should get a medical facial depends on your specific skin concerns, the result you seek, and the treatments used. Generally, the results are more pronounced when you undergo a series of treatments spaced about 4-6 weeks apart. But if you’re looking for fast results for an upcoming event, you may benefit from just one medical facial.
We do recommend that you get a medical facial during periods when your exposure to the sun will be limited.
How can I prolong the results of a medical facial?
The key to maintaining and prolonging your results is, yep you guessed it, sunscreen. Applying a sunscreen of at least SPF 30, staying out of direct sunlight, going makeup-free directly after your treatment, avoid picking at your skin, and using products that contain retinol are all necessary steps to prolong your results.
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