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Are Spa Facials Worth It?

By Amalah

OH, wise advice giver, save the face of this lady. Lately, I have developed adult acne. I am currently on all kinds of wonderful prescribed medications to help combact the enemy. Do you think monthly facials would help? I take really good care of my skin and use great products, and there is nothing else I can do at home. Is there a difference with giving at home masks, or going and laying down some cold hard cash for the spa fluff on a regular basis?

While I’ve always used spa facials as more of an occasional pampering treat, I know many women who swear by them when things get really ooky and out of control. (During pregnancy, for example.) The effectiveness and “difference” over at-home treatments will vary from spa to spa and technician to technician, but hey, the words “there is nothing else I can do at home” are enough to warrant a “go ahead and try it!” from me.
Worst-case, you don’t see much of a lasting improvement between visits, but at least a spa facial is more or less enjoyable (save for the extractions) and if you don’t think they’re making a difference, you just stop going. And you won’t be left with a drawer full of creams and masks to glare at everyday as a reminder of Expensive Crap That Didn’t Work Gar Smash.
One reeeeeeally important thing to remember, before a spa facial or an at-home treatment, is to be very, very careful about interactions and reactions from your medications. Acne meds are serious stuff, and even nice products sold at Sephora and at the prettiest spa can do more harm than good. Many acne prescriptions increase your skin’s sensitivity to…well, a load of things. Be especially careful with any type of additional acid (salicylic, glycolic, etc.) and fragrance (the last facial I had gave me the option to choose all fragrance-free products, which I appreciated). Tell your technician exactly what meds you’re on, poke around on message boards and see if anyone else reports success and/or reactions to certain cosmetic mask ingredients. Maybe call a couple spas and ask if they have any special expertise or treatments for adult acne before you book an appointment.
If you notice increased redness and irritation that you believe is excessive (i.e. you’re still red and sore the next day, 24 hours or so), stop, be it an at-home mask or whatever the technician used during a facial. It’s just not worth it. Consider a homemade mask instead, to save money. Cooked oatmeal (or a paste made with uncooked oatmeal and water) is a great acne treatment. Aloe vera heals scabs and lesions faster (just be sure to moisturize afterwards). Lemon juice is a great toner. Provided you don’t have any food allergies, these should be okay for you to use — even between facials, to prolong the effects without being overly harsh to your already-in-crisis skin.

About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch


Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to [email protected].

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

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I get facials periodically and I love them. 80% of my love is just that it’s so relaxing and feels really good, but I do notice a difference in my skin afterward. Not a major difference though. My skin does this thing where periodically it starts looking really dull and blah, and if I get a facial, it’s like it’s recharged for another couple of months, until it starts looking blah again and I fix it with another facial. Honestly, I could probably accomplish the same thing at home with intensive exfoliating and steaming but I don’t really want to… Read more »