Getting the Most from Your Facial

A facial treatment is considered a luxury designed to improve your skin’s appearance. And, chances are, your skin will look fresher and healthier, especially if the facials are done on a regular basis.

However, in the wrong hands, such as those of an unlicensed esthetician or cosmetologist, or if the tools are improperly sanitized or incorrect methods are used, you may wind up with unwanted side effects.

A few of the negative reactions a facial can cause are dryness, breakouts, and irritation. Although these effects are usually not serious, if they get worse, seek medical attention from your doctor or dermatologist. Another side effect you want to avoid: scarring caused by too vigorous, unsanitary, or unskilled extractions of blackheads.

To get the best, and most effective facials, do your research. First, make sure the esthetician or cosmetologist performing your facial is licensed and their license is in good standing. Visit the Board of Barbering and Cosmetology (board) website at to check their license. Also, check with your doctor or dermatologist prior to making your facial appointment to ensure you’re choosing the most appropriate one based on the condition of your skin.

Be aware that licensees must work within certain boundaries enforced by the board. For example, estheticians can give facials, including microdermabrasion services, and “beautify” the skin through facials; however, they cannot use medium-grade or medical-grade skin exfoliates; use lasers, rasps, or needle-like tools; or suggest to a client that they are “treating” a condition. They also are not allowed to remove skin tags or moles, or provide treatments that involve removing scarring, wrinkles, or blemishes—which are considered medical treatments.

To find out more about facials and other cosmetic services, visit the Board of Barbering and Cosmetology’s Frequently Asked Questions web page, under “Cosmetic Services,” and the Medical Board of California’s web page, “Frequently Asked Questions – Cosmetic Treatments.”


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