Search for experts, reviews, and advice.
Type keyword to search.
The main difference between a medical facial and a Classic European Facial is that it is typically performed within a cosmetic doctor’s office and uses medical-grade products and tools. “Because I work within a medical office with a doctor’s supervision, I’m allowed to use stronger peels when I give a client a medical facial. For example, a 30% glycolic peel is the strongest you’ll find in a classic spa, but I can use a 70% glycolic peel and more advanced versions like the VI Peel,” explains Yurga Kors, GPC, Aesthetics Director of the Skin N.Y. Medi-Spa, located within the Park Avenue Plastic Surgery Center in New York City.
Medical facials are custom tailored to your skin’s needs and generally follow the same steps as a spa facial—cleansing, exfoliating, extractions, and moisturizing—but on a more intense level. “Other popular components of a medical facial may include dermaplaning, which uses a surgical knife to remove the top layer of skin, or microcurrent, ultrasound, and radio waves for firming and lifting the skin,” says Kors.
Medical facials are also a safe and effective way of complementing other noninvasive treatments such as injectable dermal fillers or laser resurfacing. It can help prepare your skin for the treatment and improve results post-treatment. It’s also a bonus when your cosmetic doctor can coordinate directly with your medical aesthetician to create the ultimate game plan.
With such a variety of methods, tools, and products available, a medical facial can be customized to accommodate your skin needs, whether it be rectifying aging, dehydrated, sun damaged, or acne prone skin.
“People who have severe acne and are taking Accutane or have chronic rosacea should avoid facials and consult their dermatologist,” warns Aesthetician Jillian Wright, owner of Jillian Wright Clinical Skin Spa. Also, pregnant women and people with any kind of heart condition or who take blood thinners should avoid microcurrent therapy and photorejuvenation (IPL), which are often included in a medical facial. As always, discuss any allergies or skin sensitivities with your cosmetic doctor or aesthetician before starting a treatment.
Since a medical facial is more vigorous than a Classic European Facial, it’s obviously less relaxing, but the results are worth the minor edge. After a quick consultation, the aesthetician will cleanse, steam, exfoliate and massage your skin, while incorporating treatments such as microdermabrasion, dermaplaning, a chemical peel, microcurrent, LED light therapy, or photo rejuvenation (IPL), that are best suited for your skin’s needs.
30 to 90 minutes
$175 to $500
At most, your skin may feel slightly warm and appear red, but nothing that makeup can’t hide (although you might not want to cover up your newfound glow).
You skin will immediately appear smoother, tighter, brighter, and more lifted, and clear. Results are cumulative, so the more you go, the better you’ll look.
Most aestheticians suggest getting a medical facial once a month, but fitting that into the modern woman’s schedule can be tough. Having treatments done quarterly is very beneficial, too. At the very least, sneak one in whenever possible because it’ll give your regular skincare routine a nice boost.
A medical facial should be administered by a board certified dermatologist or licensed aesthetician who practices under the supervision of a trusted cosmetic doctor. “An aesthetician has to be licensed in the state they are practicing in. There are several different schools you can attend, but ultimately you have to pass a state administered written and practical exam to get your license,” explains Wright.
Don’t let the term “facial” fool you…this is no trip to the spa. Medical facials are all business, but the above average results make the lack of pampering an even trade.
Some of the best spas offer the best facials by hosting top doctors on site to add some medical oomph to the spa classic…a fabulous treat indeed! Keep a lookout for these events.
Sometimes, little tweaks to your daily regimen can extend the glow- lifespan from a medical facial, so don’t be shy about asking your skincare specialist for suggestions.
Disclaimer: As always, this information is provided to you for educational and/or informational purposes only, and should not be construed as an endorsement of any particular product, treatment, or procedure. This information is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnoses, or treatment by a doctor or other qualified health care professional. For medical concerns, including decisions about any procedure or treatment, users should always consult their doctor or other qualified health care professional. Please visit our Terms of Service to view our full disclaimers.