Facials for acne-prone skin: Do they really work?

For people with acne, there seems no escape from unsightly blemishes and sore, inflamed skin. Those with happier complexions swear by facials for their healthy glow, but you are not so sure. What if you end up irritated skin and fresh breakouts? Are facials a good idea for acne-prone skin? Let’s find out! 


What are facials?

A facial is a cosmetic procedure that cleanses and refreshes the skin. The goal is to eliminate pore blockages by removing excess oil, dead skin cells, and other impurities. Facials also leave the skin feeling hydrated and supple.

When booking an appointment for a facial, most people call their salon. But you could also get a professional facial at the dermatologist’s office. Those who prefer a do-it-yourself (DIY) approach could use natural ingredients or a ready-to-use acne facial kit.


Facials and acne-prone skin

Gentle facials are a great choice if you have mild, non-inflammatory acne (blackheads and whiteheads). This is no cure for your acne problem, but it will minimise the appearance of blemishes.

People with mild inflammatory acne could also benefit from an acne facial. If you break out only occasionally or don’t have too many pimples, you are dealing with a milder form of acne.

However, if your skin is covered in numerous red and painful lesions, facials could worsen the acne. Be on the safe side and assess the severity of the acne before getting a facial. (Here’s a handy guide to the different grades of acne.)

When selecting a facial, pay attention to ingredient quality and avoid facials that might be harsh. Sometimes the products applied during a facial could clash with skincare products or medication that you are using, which may lead to irritation. If in doubt, cover your bases by consulting a dermatologist.


The right facial for acne-prone skin

When choosing a facial, identify your skin concerns first. Some facials reduce the appearance of acne by targeting acne bacteria and reducing inflammation. Others focus on controlling oil levels or treating acne-related scars and discolouration. Here are some types of facials you could consider:

  • Regular facial: The classic version involves steaming, exfoliation, massage, and a mask to remove dead skin and excess oil, and even out the skin tone. Your facialist will also extract blackheads and whiteheads safely.
  • Brightening facial: Acid peels, masks, and antioxidant-rich serums target dark spots caused by acne. A brightening facial promotes shedding of the skin’s outer layer, thereby revealing new and healthy skin cells. It might also slow down the production of melanin.
  • Decongesting facial: The goal is to deep-clean the pores and clear out clogs. The facialist may use an extractor tool to remove blackheads and whiteheads. The decongesting facial leaves the skin looking and feeling smooth.
  • LED photofacial: A light-emitting device is used to target acne bacteria and minimise the appearance of scars and dark sports. Suitable for sensitive skin, LED facials show quick results against active pimples and scars. (Discover the benefits of photofacials for acne-prone skin.)

Facials are not the right choice for everyone though. The exfoliation and massaging techniques can sometimes irritate acne-prone skin. If you have moderate or severe acne and are thinking of getting a facial, make sure to cross-check with your dermatologist first. 


Should you use at-home acne facial kits?

DIY acne facials kits are convenient, easy to use, and cheaper than professional facials. You can shop for them online, at local cosmetics stores, or in the beauty sections of supermarkets. With facial kits for acne-prone skin, you get to enjoy the salon experience in the comfort of your home.

A home facial kit for acne works on your skin in the same way as any other facial. It cleanses, hydrates, nourishes, minimises blemishes, and leaves your skin feeling smooth and rejuvenated. Most DIY acne facial kits come with a handful of skincare products and may include:

  • A gentle cleanser for acne-prone skin
  • A scrub to remove stubborn debris
  • A face mask to calm the skin
  • A light moisturiser for hydration

Facial kits for acne-prone skin often feature active ingredients like tea tree oil, salicylic acid, papaya extract, and green tea.


How to use facial kits for acne-prone skin

Start by reading the instructions on the package. You’ll find that most home facial kits involve a five-step process:

  1. Cleanse: Moisten your skin with lukewarm water, and then apply a pea-sized amount of cleanser all over the face and neck. Use gentle circular motions to spread the product evenly. Do this for about a minute before rinsing off thoroughly. The goal is to start your facial with a clean face.
  2. Scrub: Apply the scrub from your acne facial kit to the moistened face and neck. Again, take a minute to rub the product all over the skin. The scrub will help deep-clean the pores and remove stubborn build-up, as well as minimise blackheads and whiteheads. Finally, rinse off the scrub with lukewarm water.
  3. Steam: Set up your facial steamer to unclog pores and dislodge impurities. Don’t have a steamer? Dip a towel in hot water and place it on your face. Repeat the process a few times to ensure your skin gets the steam treatment. Just be careful not to use water that is scalding hot—you don’t want to burn your skin.
  4. Mask: Facial kits for acne-prone skin may feature a clay
    mask or a sheet mask. Read the package instructions before applying the mask. Don’t leave it on for longer than is specified on the package. Mask removal will depend on the type of face mask being used: While a clay mask will need to be washed off, the goodness of a sheet mask may need to be massaged into the skin.
  5. Moisturise: If you haven’t used a moisturising sheet mask in Step 4, close out the facial with a dash of moisturiser. A facial kit for acne-prone skin will usually include a lightweight, oil-free moisturiser that does not weigh down your skin. Massage this into your face and neck, and follow up with sunscreen during the day.


Best practices for acne facial kits

  • Check that the facial kit suits your skin type. Using non-comedogenic products that don’t suit your complexion could aggravate your acne.
  • Go through the list of ingredients on the package. Avoid the kit if you are allergic or sensitive to any of the ingredients.
  • Always run a patch test on your inner arm before using a new product. If you have no irritation after 24 hours, the product should be safe for you to use.
  • Skip the makeup routine if you’ve just had a facial. But don't skip out on sunscreen if you're likely to be outside during the day.
  • If you experience irritation during your home facial, wash off the product and discontinue use. Consult a dermatologist if the irritation does not subside.


Skincare between facials

A facial once a week or every two weeks is great. But show your skin some love on a daily basis too!

To keep your acne under control, cleanse with a mild cleanser or face wash. You could look up reviews for the best face wash for men and women with acne. Ideally, invest in a product that deep cleans the pores without drying out the skin.

Next, apply toner all over your face and neck using a cotton ball. This restores the skin’s natural pH balance and leaves it refreshed.

Your complexion is now ready for acne treatment. Target your blemishes at the root by applying Clearica Anti-Acne Cream. This plant-based cream is gentle enough for all skin types but packs a serious punch. It clears the pores, reduces inflammation, fights acne-causing bacteria, and soothes the skin.

Finally, hydrate with your favourite moisturiser. Go for something lightweight with SPF for sun protection during the day and a more nourishing cream at night. (Here are more tips on how to care for acne-prone skin.)





Disclaimer: This page is for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended as a recommendation or for diagnostic purposes. Please consult your dermatologist or doctor before acting on any of the information provided here.





Disclaimer: This page is for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended as a recommendation or for diagnostic purposes. Please consult your dermatologist or doctor before acting on any of the information provided here.