Will my face break out if I get a facial?

Break Outs from Facial Treatment Products

Do you know what's in that mask? Some commonly-used ingredients in facials have been shown to be comedogenic.
Do you know what's in that mask? Some commonly-used ingredients in facials have been shown to be comedogenic.
Bernhard Lang/Getty Images

Moisturizing and cleansing agents can also lead to post-facial break outs. During a facial, skin is cleansed with toner, often massaged with oils and moisturized. Prior to the application of these cleansing and moisturizing agents, skin is often steamed, a process that opens pores and makes them more susceptible to an allergic reaction.

Depending on the quality and type of the external agents used on delicate facial skin, a post-facial break out can occur. Ingredients that may show up in some facial treatments can be comedogenic -- shown to produce acne by clogging pores or irritating skin.

Comedogenicity is rated on a scale from 0 to 5, and some ingredients have been shown to be more comedogenic than others. For example, algae extract, a commonly used ingredient to moisturize skin, is both highly irritating and comedogenic. On the other hand, mineral oil, commonly thought to easily clog pores, has been proven to be entirely non-comedogenic [source: Dermaxime].

Other factors, like what ingredients are combined in a certain product, how long a treatment is left on the skin and the spa visitor's skin type can all contribute to a post-facial break out. So it's clear that predicting how each individual may react to both the facial treatment and extraction processes can be difficult.

There's no guarantee that you will or won't suffer a break out after getting a facial treatment. Some spa goers are more susceptible than others. You can reduce the likelihood of a break out following a facial by going to a professional esthetician rather than treating yourself at home. Look for a reputable spa with experienced staff that undergo continuing training in their craft and use high-end products. With spa treatments, as with most things, you get what you pay for. Since you're splurging on a facial anyway, you might as well go the whole nine yards.

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