- 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 effectively calm irritation and hydrate the skin.
Sensitive skin is easily irritated by skin care products and the environment. Sensitivity occurs when the protective moisture barrier of the skin is compromised, allowing too much moisture to evaporate, and allowing harmful bacteria, allergens and other irritants to enter the skin.
Those with sensitive skin may be hesitant to have spa facials, however, a facial for sensitive skin can provide strong benefits, as these treatments can moisturize and hydrate.
Are Facials Recommended for Sensitive Skin Types?
People with sensitive skin are recommended to get facials, but only after carefully selecting the type of facial, the products and active ingredients, as this is key to a good outcome. The correct type of facial can improve sensitive skin by calming redness, improving hydration 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) as 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 damage sensitive 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 incorporates anti-inflammatory ingredients to calm redness and irritation. The aesthetician will use 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 that include green tea and chamomile also work to reduce irritation. Green tea is an antioxidant, while chamomile contains anti-inflammatory terpenoids and antibacterial flavonoids.
Best Hydrating Facials for Dry, Sensitive Skin
Hydrating facials can improve the appearance and texture 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 (HA) serum improves the skin’s ability to retain moisture and elasticity. HA 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 projects a stream of salty water and oxygen to cleanse and hydrate the skin. It is ideal for brightening and deep cleaning dry skin that’s easily irritated by other exfoliating techniques.
Best Facials for Sensitive Acne-Prone Skin
The following types of facials are meant to reduce breakouts without causing irritation.
A salicylic acid facial breaks up the oily debris that causes blemishes and reduces 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
As the first step of a DIY facial, some people steam their faces by standing over a pot of boiling water. This can be irritating to sensitive skin, so if you choose to do so, avoid scalding your skin by maintaining your face several feet from the pot. Discontinue steaming if your skin feels uncomfortably hot.
Next, apply your mask. Choose natural ingredients to reduce the likelihood of irritation. At-home chemical peels and clay masks should be avoided as they can cause dryness and irritation.
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)
These ingredients can be used in any combination and, if necessary, mixed with water to form a paste. Apply the mixture to your face, avoiding the fragile area around your eyes. After 15–20 minutes, rinse off the mask and apply your regular moisturizer.
A good skin care routine incorporates hypoallergenic, fragrance-free products to maintain the health and appearance of skin. Daily use of a sunscreen-containing moisturizer will do more to protect your skin against the signs of aging in the long term than any individual spa facial treatment.
For extra skin care benefits, use products such as serums and moisturizers that contain HA, and ceramides, which help restore your skin’s compromised moisture barrier. Vitamin C promotes collagen and elastin production while protecting your skin from free radicals.
To exfoliate and brighten, products containing lactic acid are usually gentle enough to use on sensitive skin.
If you have sensitive skin, you can still reap the benefits of 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 that include 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 sensitive skin.
As an alternative to facials, regular use of hydrating and skin-nourishing serums and moisturizers can brighten and improve your skin’s appearance in the long term.
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