Is It Normal To Suffer From Breakouts After A Facial?

Facials are the ultimate form of beauty self-care. Treating yourself to an hour of sheer bliss and relaxation as an expert works to fix all of your skin woes feels unequivocally rejuvenating. The experience is all the more fulfilling as you glance in the mirror and see that unmatched natural glow that leaves you wanting to go makeup-free for the rest of the day. Of course, it could all come crashing down when you wake up the next morning in a fit of rage after discovering a breakout. 


How could something designed to help my skin make it worse? Then the blame game begins, convincing yourself you're never going back to that facialist again and that it must have been their fault. Or is it just your skin? Well, it turns out that it's a lot more complicated than that.

Don't worry, though; you're not alone. Breaking out after facials is actually very common, per Skin MD. The real trick is figuring out if your post-facial breakout is the natural outcome of a facial or if it's actually safe to blame your esthetician this time.

When it's normal to experience a post-facial breakout

As it turns out, "The Purge" isn't just a title reserved for a terrifying movie series. It can also mean your very own personal horror movie unfolding on your skin. If you've had a lot of experience with intense active ingredients, you'll be familiar with the concept of skin purging. This means that your skin can instantly react to a new product pulling out all of the gunk that was living underneath your skin, resulting in a phase of pretty rough breakouts before your skin begins to magically clear up and get better (via Byrdie). Essentially, your skin may look worse before it gets better after a facial.


"When doing a lot of extractions to clear out bumps, sometimes not all of the lodged oil will come out and because we don't force anything that doesn't want to come out," celebrity esthetician Renée Rouleau explained to Marie Claire. "Some purging can occur a day or two after a facial as the pore does its own self-cleaning." 

So, in some cases, a post-facial breakout makes perfect sense and can even be considered a good sign. The deep cleanse is working; it just also happened to skip ahead and force out any breakouts lingering underneath the surface. However, sometimes it can just come down to a poorly executed facial.

When to question the post-facial breakout

While breaking out is a common result of the facial process, it sometimes has a lot less to do with skin purging and more to do with the type of facial. Using extraction tools at home can be tricky, but a professional esthetician should know how much pressure to apply and when to stop pushing. Your esthetician should also make a point to clear out all of the debris they can when beginning the process. On this, Dr. Sejal Shah explained to Self, "If the pore is not completely cleared during extractions, you may notice an acne flare after the facial as the residual contents come to the surface naturally." 


The best way of telling if the post-facial breakout is normal is by examining the type of breakout. On this, Andrea Pfeffer, the founder of Pfeffer Sal, spoke to Refinery29 about the signs you should look out for. "If a treatment is done properly, a breakout should be minimal, and it shouldn't be a big continued breakout after a treatment. A few whiteheads is okay, but if you're inflamed and it's out of the ordinary for your skin, then it's a red flag," she explained.

Depending on the facial you're getting and your skin type, post-facial breakouts are likely to be a result especially if extractions are involved. 

Try to keep your skin free of any irritants after your post-facial breakout

While it's very common to break out after a facial, it can be annoying since you shelled out big bucks to have clear skin. However, there are steps you can take to minimize your breakouts and help get rid of them faster. Skin MD advises against wearing makeup after a facial since your pores are open and you don't want to clog them. Avoid working out and using saunas for a day or two to prevent excess sweating, which can irritate your face.


If you do break out, don't pick at your blemishes. Plus, you'll want to avoid any skincare item with fragrances that can further irritate your skin, shares Medical News Today. Fortunately, breakouts caused by facials aren't the same as acne and will go away with time. The purging period lasts around four to six weeks, but you will eventually reap the benefits of your facial. During that time, use products that contain calming ingredients such as aloe, peptides, and ceramides. Hyaluronic acid also helps keep the skin hydrated without clogging pores. That being said, remember to always do a skin patch test first so that you're sure the ingredients won't cause an allergic reaction. After all, skin is extra sensitive during a purge so you'll need to give it some extra TLC.