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  • Writer's pictureHollywood Institute

8 Things to Know About Acne Facials

Acne is often tied to hormonal changes in teenagers, like braces and school dances. But for many, it's not just a teen thing. It can come back during stress, hormonal shifts (like pregnancy or menopause), or due to weather or new skincare routines.

While acne is commonplace and perfectly natural, it can be frustrating for those who struggle with it. Acne-prone skin, one of the best treatments is an acne facial (and, of course, a trip to your dermatologist).

Types of Acne Facials

Acne facials come in various types, each designed to address specific aspects of acne-prone skin. Some facials focus on deep cleansing and extraction; others incorporate exfoliation and specialized treatments. Facials can be surface-level, targeting the upper skin layer, or more aggressive with treatments like lasers and chemical peels. Glycolic acid and retinol are often used as effective acne treatments during chemical peels, reducing the appearance of pores and blemishes while tightening the skin. From classic basic facials to more complex Microdermabrasion and LED treatments, consulting with a skin care professional to determine which type of acne facial is most suitable for your skin's unique needs is essential.

Extraction is Common

One of the hallmark procedures during an acne facial is extraction. Extraction involves gently removing blackheads, whiteheads, and other pore-clogging impurities from the skin. While it may sound uncomfortable, a skilled esthetician knows how to perform extractions without causing undue pain or damage to the skin. The effects of extraction usually last for about four weeks, so it’s a good idea to schedule one monthly.

Proper extraction can help unclog pores, reduce inflammation, and improve the skin's appearance.

Exfoliation is Crucial for Acne Facials

Exfoliation is crucial for acne facials. Accumulation of dead skin cells can clog pores and give your complexion a dull appearance. By incorporating exfoliation techniques, such as chemical peels or mechanical exfoliation, acne facials help slough off these dead skin cells, revealing fresher, smoother skin underneath. Dermaplaning facials have also become a popular exfoliating facial at spas and salons. A complete skin regimen should include some form of exfoliation at home every week. These products often contain ingredients such as glycolic or salicylic acid. Regular exfoliation also helps other skincare products work better by letting them penetrate your skin.

Hydration is Essential

Contrary to what many think, even skin prone to acne requires hydration. Dehydrated skin can exacerbate acne by triggering increased oil production. A well-balanced acne facial will include hydrating elements to maintain the skin's moisture barrier. During an acne facial, the facialist will end the facial with a robust and hydrating serum and a moisturizer. Hydrated skin is healthier and better equipped to fight acne-causing bacteria and inflammation. Be careful using foaming cleansers at home. They can remove important oils from your skin and make acne worse. Those with acne-prone skin might be tempted to skip their moisturizer to avoid shine; however, a light, gel-based moisturizer can prevent shine while still leaving the skin feeling plump and hydrated.


Hydrafacial has gained significant popularity for its ability to deliver a multi-step treatment that cleanses, exfoliates, extracts, and hydrates the skin. A hydra facial machine uses a combination of gentle exfoliation, vacuum suction, and infusions of serums to improve skin texture and clarity. These facial machines are useful solutions for different skin types and can be personalized to treat acne issues.

Post-Facial Care

After an acne facial, your skin may experience some temporary side effects. It might feel tight, dry, warm and appear slightly red. In some cases, mild peeling might occur as well. It's essential to follow the post-facial care instructions your skincare professional provides. A gentle moisturizer can help alleviate any dryness or tightness and promote skin healing, and your facialist may suggest specific ingredients to help reduce redness.

Additionally, always apply sunscreen to protect your skin from UV damage, as freshly treated skin can be more sensitive to the sun.

Clay Masks Can Help

Incorporating clay masks into your skincare can aid acne-prone skin. Masks like kaolin or bentonite clay absorb oil, unclog pores, and reduce inflammation. They work with acne facials for healthier skin in the long run. Professionals might use a clay mask during a facial to relax and gently cleanse pores.

Microdermabrasion and LED Machines

Microdermabrasion is a popular treatment often included in acne facials. This method uses a device to softly remove the outer layer of dead skin cells. It helps make your skin smoother and lessen the look of scars and blemishes. Additionally, LED (Light Emitting Diode) machines are gaining traction as effective tools for acne treatment. Varied light wavelengths can focus on specific skin problems like inflammation and bacteria, aiding in controlling acne outbreaks. Acne facials can offer a holistic approach to managing acne-prone skin. With dozens of facials available, each addressing various aspects of acne and skin health, individuals can find tailored solutions that suit their unique needs.

If you’re interested in learning more about the science of facials, contact The Hollywood Institute today to learn more about our skincare course or schedule an appointment at our student-led spa.

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