In-Office Solutions to Clear and Prevent Breakouts

Trapped dirt, oil and dead skin all lead to breakouts. An anti-acne facial can prevent breakouts, the deep pore-cleansing facial makes use of extractions and sometimes a light chemical peel to clear skin. “While there are other factors to pimples, eliminating one part of the problem with a pore-cleansing facial can help,” says Josanna Gaither, director of education and aesthetics for Natura Bissé. 

Before any large breakout arises, it starts its life out as a small (sometimes microscopic) whitehead or blackhead. “If it’s not tackled early enough, it develops into something larger and can become a cyst or nodule,” explains Studio City, CA, dermatologist Gene Rubinstein, MD. And that’s where a deep pore-cleansing facial comes in. “The goal is to prevent breakouts before they start by keeping skin healthy.”

Antibacterials and anti-inflammatories like salicylic and lactic acids, benzoyl peroxide (in low doses), zinc and even probiotics are on deck since they break up acne-causing bacteria. Extractions are usually a big part of anti-acne facials too since debris living inside the pore is physically removed. (That, plus a mild glycolic or salicylic acid peel, literally wipes the pores clean to remove dead skin.) But when it comes to extractions, Dr. Rubinstein says if the skin needs to be broken to expel what’s in the pore, it has to be done precisely and properly by a licensed professional. “Otherwise, infection can occur as well as potential skin damage,” he says. Besides peels, microdermabrasion can be used as part of an acne-fighting facial since it works to remove the outermost layer of skin, allowing skin to breathe and function properly. A series of treatments is almost always needed to make a difference.

One reason why women shy away from facials is the fear of breaking out afterward. Facials work to detox your skin, which can cause pimples. Taking anywhere from one to several days to surface, you might experience anything from a small whitehead to a full-blown cyst following a facial. But besides detoxifying, products that are too heavy for your skin, poor exfoliation or a residue left behind from a mask or serum can be to blame, too. “There may be some sort of short-lived inflammation in the skin post-treatment, especially with extractions, that can cause breakouts as the skin purges and heals,” adds Dr. Rubinstein. Spot treat the area and it should start to dwindle rapidly. Lay off retinoids for at least the first 24 hours and don’t pick at the blemish no matter what.

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