Nov 9, 2022

Deep Pore Facial 101

What happens during a deep pore facial?

Formulate user Charlotte wants to know about deep pore facials:

My sister-in-law got me a gift card for an aesthetic day spa for my birthday. She swears by something they do called a "deep pore facial" and wants us to go get one together. Uh, what is that? A quick google has led me to believe that it's sitting and having someone poke at my face to remove blackheads. Is that true? Because if it is, I can do that myself at home. What is the point of this facial, and what happens during it?

Thanks for writing, Charlotte! We consulted our expert friends in the beauty community, and it seems that there's a lot more to deep pore facials than your initial google search told you.

What is a deep pore facial?

The goal of a deep pore facial is to unclog and open up congested pores. Dermatologist Dr. Enrizza Factor explains, "It is a procedure that helps to penetrate your skin deeply to remove the dirt that accumulates in your pores. From steaming to extraction, the entire experience is designed to release your pores." 

A deep pore facial is a treatment that is primarily beneficial to individuals who have oily and/or acne-prone skin. It be helpful for decreasing the size of enlarged pores, preventing future breakouts, minimizing scarring from pimples,  evening the texture of skin, and brightening dull skin.

Licensed professionals perform deep pore facials, typically estheticians, cosmetologists and medical estheticians. Most deep pore facials are performed in medical spas, day spas, and dermatologist's offices. If the facial takes place within a medical spa or dermatologist's office, it is usually being performed under the supervision of a licensed dermatologist.

Typically, a full deep pore facial takes about an hour to complete. It includes the following steps:

Cleanse and exfoliate the skin

The practitioner gently removes dirt, makeup, debris, and anything else that is on the skin. 

Jessica Fenn, of Fenn Aesthetics, typically provides a double cleanse. "First I use a waterless cleanser to remove any dirt, makeup, debris, and basically the outside world. Then a second cleanser is applied, typically a gentle cleanser to actually cleanse the skin and remove any impurities in order to perform the deep cleanse."

 The practitioner also exfoliates the skin after it has been cleansed to promote new cell growth. "The process of exfoliation stimulates blood flow and encourages the production of new cells," explains Dr. Firdous Ibrahim, aesthetic physician and trichologist. "As a result, your skin will appear softer, smoother, and more youthful. Exfoliating the skin before each facial can help to prolong the effects."

Steam open pores and perform extractions

Once the skin is clean, steam is applied so the pores open. Practitioners examine the skin for any blackheads or whiteheads and extract them as needed. Some practitioners use small metal extraction tools, while others may complete this step via Hydrafacial (a hydra-dermabrasion procedure that uses patented technology to suction out debris from pores).

According to Dr. Ibrahim, this is one of the most important steps of the deep pore facial. "One of the main benefits of a deep pore facial is that it can help to unclog pores. Over time, pores can become clogged with dirt, oil, and dead skin cells, which can lead to blackheads and breakouts. A deep pore facial can help to remove all of the build-up from your pores, leaving them clear and clean. "

Apply a toner to balance the pH

Once extractions are complete, toner is applied to the skin. This is to prep the skin so that it can better absorb products that are placed on it.

Apply additional masks and serums, according to the client's needs

Based on the client's needs, masks and products are placed on the face. The mask should soothe the skin and reduce some of the inflammation from the extractions. 

Different masks and serums can be used on different areas of the face. "This can help balance the oil production in both areas if you have an oily T-zone but dry cheeks," shares Aesthetic Medicine Specialist Dr. M.P. Velusamy.

Provide optional extras. 

After the masks and serums have been applied, clients can opt for extra treatments. 

"If a client wishes for deeper exfoliation they can elect for a chemical peel," says Fenn. "A chemical peel is a skin resurfacing application procedure in which a chemical solution is applied to the skin to remove the top layers. Its strengths vary."

Tone, moisturize, and apply sunscreen

After the mask is removed, toner is once again applied to the skin. Water is provided to the recipient of the facial, as to prevent dehydration from the steam. Moisturizer and sunscreen is applied after the toner. 

Sunscreen, in particular, is essential. "Always wear your SPF, especially after a deep pore facial," shares Fenn. "You've exfoliated the damaged layer and have exposed fresh skin. Your SPF should be 30-50 SPF, and worn whenever it's daytime, rain or shine. SPF is your bff." 

How should your skin feel/look after a deep pore facial?

After the facial has been completed, your skin should appear bright and healthy. "You may notice that your skin looks and feels softer and smoother," says Dr. Ibrahim. "Your pores will appear smaller, and your complexion will have a more even tone. You may also find that your skin is better able to retain moisture, resulting in a healthy glow."

"Your skin should feel clean, rejuvenated and fresh after a deep pore facial", shares Fenn. "Your skin should look healthy, full of color, and hydrated."

How often should you get a deep pore facial?

The frequency of deep pore facials depends on the client's needs. Some clients have the facial done every 3-6 months, whereas others have it done as frequently as once a week. The frequency of the treatment depends on your ability to maintain its results at home. "There are many treatment options for unclogging pores, from daily facial washes to topical prescription medication," advises Dr. Factor. "Work with your dermatologist to determine a skincare regimen that will work best for you."

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