How Often Should You Get a Facial?

Esthetician giving facial
Don Bayley/E+/Getty Images

How often you should get a facial depends on several factors—your skin type, skin condition, skin care goals, budget, age, and location. If you want to take good care of your skin, booking a professional facial once a month is ideal. Why? The skin is a living organ, and it takes about 30 days for the cells to move up from the dermis to the surface, or epidermis, where they flatten out, die, and slough off. Giving it a boost every 30 days is what skin needs to look its best.

A professional facial stimulates that exfoliation process, keeping the skin more toned and youthful-looking. Working with a skin care expert can also get you on a daily skin care routine where you use higher quality products made with ingredients like peptides that will help your skin look its best. The skin care products available in drug stores are often a cocktail of chemicals that don't really nourish your skin.

Factors That Affect How Often You Should Get a Facial

  • Skin Type:  There are many different skin types—normal, dry, or oily. If you have oily, acne-prone skin with breakouts, blackheads, and clogged pores, you should get a facial at least every month, perhaps more frequently, until it is cleared out and calmed down. As your skin improves, you can try to stretch it out until you're on a schedule where your skin stays relatively clean and clear. If you have normal, combination, and dry skin, a facial every month is fine. People with sensitive skin might want to go less often—say every two months to avoid inflaming their skin.
  • Skin Condition: The esthetician will alert you to any skin condition you may have, whether it's dryness, dehydration, redness, blackheads, dull skin, etc. You might come more frequently if you have acne, blackheads, or whiteheads you want to get cleared out. You can also come more frequently if you have skin that would benefit from a series of treatments like peels or light therapy. The schedule will be suggested by your esthetician.
  • Skin Care Goals: For the healthiest skin, find a great esthetician early in life, get on a good skin care regime, and follow it. She will tell you about products that are right for you, and alter them as your skin changes. A lot of damage is done due to extrinsic factors (especially the sun) that you can manage with a good sunscreen.
  • Age: Younger people without problems like acne and breakouts can get facials less frequently because their skin naturally generates new cell growth faster. When you're young, the biggest priority is to be on a good skin-care regime, keep the skin clear of blackheads, and have a strategy to deal with breakouts. As you age, your skin care regimen will need some tweaking to help stimulate the growth of collagen. Your skin also benefits from the stimulation and treatments such as peels, light therapy, and microdermabrasion, which remove dead skin and stimulate the growth of new skin cells.
  • Budget: Work with your esthetician to prioritize your expenditures—investing in good products is important—and plan a routine. Try to have a facial at least four times a year as the season changes, if you can't afford to go every month.
  • Location: Urban environments have more pollution that makes your skin dirtier. You might need to be rigorous about your once-a-month schedule.

Find An Esthetician You Can Trust

When you're planning routine facials, the most important thing to do is find an esthetician you can trust. Look for a person with a good reputation—and ask your friends for recommendations. Although it can be a little risky to get a one-off facial (say at a resort spa), many hotels only hire trained estheticians and use quality skin care products. If you're at a major high-end hotel or resort spa managed by Four Seasons, Ritz-Carlton, Hyatt or Mandarin Oriental, you will receive an excellent service because their hiring standards and training levels are high.

But independently owned resorts are a little "iffier." They can be excellent or cut corners you don't want to know about.

Is There Such A Thing As Too Many Facials?

Yes! If you get several facials within a few weeks your skin can become overstimulated, which is called sensitizing the skin. Sometimes unethical estheticians recommend an overly aggressive schedule so they can make more money. Unless you have oily skin that needs clearing up, once every month is sufficient.