- Sensitive skin can benefit from soothing, hydrating facials.
- Deep exfoliating treatments should be avoided.
- Acne in sensitive skin can be treated with salicylic acid or LED facials.
- At-home treatments can also calm irritation and hydrate the skin.
Sensitive skin is easily irritated by skin care products and its environment. It occurs when the protective moisture barrier of the skin is compromised, allowing too much moisture to evaporate and harmful bacteria, allergens and other irritants to enter the skin.
People with sensitive skin may be hesitant to get spa facials, but their skin can benefit from treatments designed to moisturize and hydrate.
Are Facials Recommended for Sensitive Skin Types?
People with sensitive skin can get facials, but carefully selecting the type of facial and what products and active ingredients are being used is key to a good outcome. The right types of facials can improve sensitive skin by calming redness, hydrating and managing acne.
Exfoliating or detoxifying facials are not advised as they can cause further irritation. This includes any treatment involving clay, which draws much-needed moisture from the skin and can leave skin feeling tight and dry.
Also to be avoided are facials that use enzyme exfoliators, alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) or beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs). These acids are likely to cause irritation. The exception to this rule is lactic acid, which is gentle enough for most people with sensitive skin.
Finally, any treatment involving physical exfoliation, whether with a scrub or dermabrasion device, is not recommended as it can further damage the skin.
Before your facial, consult with your aesthetician to ensure the treatment does not involve any of the above ingredients or techniques.
Best Soothing Facials for Sensitive Skin
A soothing facial uses anti-inflammatory ingredients to calm redness and irritation. The aesthetician uses gentle cleansing techniques without scrubbing or exfoliating the skin.
Seaweed facials contain high amounts of vitamins, which may reduce the symptoms of rosacea, a skin disorder associated with skin sensitivity.
Facials incorporating green tea and chamomile also work to reduce irritation. Green tea is an antioxidant, while chamomile is an anti-inflammatory that contains skin-soothing terpenoids and flavonoids.
Best Hydrating Facials for Dry, Sensitive Skin
Hydrating facials can improve the look and feel of dry, dull skin by plumping up fine lines and replenishing moisture levels. Some hydrating facials include a physical or chemical exfoliation step, so discuss what your skin can and cannot tolerate with your aesthetician before the treatment begins.
A facial using hyaluronic acid serum improves the skin’s ability to retain moisture and elasticity. Hyaluronic acid is naturally produced by the skin but is often lacking in people with dry skin and people over the age of 30.
An oxygen facial uses a device that shoots stream of salty water and oxygen to cleanse and hydrate your skin. It is ideal for brightening and deep-cleansing dry skin that’s easily irritated by other exfoliating techniques.
Avocado facials take advantage of the fruit’s natural oils to deeply moisturize the skin. Avocadoes contain proteins and vitamins that may improve the skin’s appearance.
Best Facials for Sensitive Acne-Prone Skin
This type of facial is meant to reduce breakouts without causing irritation.
An application of salicylic acid can be used as one step of the facial to break up the oily debris that causes blemishes and to reduce the production of sebum, the oil naturally produced by the skin.
LED facials treat acne in sensitive skin with red and/or blue light. Blue LED light kills anti-causing bacteria while red light reduces inflammation. LED therapy is safe for all skin types and should not irritate sensitive skin.
At-Home Facials for Sensitive Skin
When performing a facial at home, choose simple ingredients to reduce the likelihood of causing a reaction. Extra precautions should be taken if you steam your face to avoid scalding your skin.
Some ingredients that can hydrate and soothe the skin include:
- Aloe vera
- Green tea
- Honey (has antibacterial properties)
- Oatmeal (can restore skin pH balance)
- Yogurt (contains lactic acid)
At-home chemical peels and clay masks should be avoided as they can cause dryness and irritation.
A good skin care routine using hypoallergenic, fragrance-free products should be your first step in maintaining the health and appearance of your skin. Daily use of a sunscreen-containing moisturizer will do more to improve your skin in the long term than any individual spa facial treatment.
If you have specific issues to address, skin rejuvenation techniques such as chemical peels, laser therapy and microneedling can treat common concerns such as acne and acne scarring, uneven skin tone and texture and the signs of aging in sensitive skin
If you have sensitive skin, it’s still possible to benefit from a spa facial if you choose the correct treatment.
A facial incorporating hyaluronic acid, avocado or an oxygenating device can hydrate dry, irritated skin. Facials using green tea, chamomile or seaweed can calm redness and irritation. To treat acne, opt for a salicylic acid application or LED light therapy.
Avoid clay masks, enzyme exfoliators and physical exfoliators such as dermabrasion devices, all of which can damage your skin.
While facials can temporarily brighten and improve your skin’s appearance, more prominent skin issues can be addressed with other professional treatments.