When you’re having frustrating challenges with your skin, a facial treatment is usually just the ticket. But sometimes it’s exactly the wrong thing to do.

Here are some skin conditions for which a facial is contraindicated (not recommended):

  • Acute sunburn (you can still see an esthetician for a soothing cool compress treatment to help ease your discomfort, but no heat or friction can be employed)
  • Severe cystic acne with open pustules
  • Open cuts or abrasions
  • Bruises and swelling (Get your physician’s approval for a treatment; post-surgical or post-trauma bruising and swelling can often be mitigated by gentle manual lymphatic drainage massage)
  • Active herpes lesions
  • Conjuctivitis (“pink eye”)
  • Severe eczema
  • Severe psoraisis
  • Impetigo
  • Fungal infection
  • Extreme allergic sensitivities (you probably wouldn’t be tempted anyhow!)

This of course is not a complete list of every medical condition that precludes a facial treatment. If you have any doubts about your suitability for a treatment, consult with your physician.

Health conditions that require treatment modifications

Unfortunately, not every esthetician or spa will ask you about health conditions that could affect the outcome of your facial treatment. If you’re a new client, a good skin care facility will ask for your history either in writing or in a thorough pre-treatment consultation, and usually through both.

Even if they don’t ask you, be sure to inform your esthetician of your current health status, particularly if you are:

  • Pregnant: use of most essential oils is contraindicated for pregnancy. We usually recommend that clients err in favor of caution and avoid spa treatments during the first trimester, however this is when most skin problems occur. Be sure to have a consultation with an esthetician if you’re experiencing acne or other hormonally induced skin problems during pregnancy.
  • Diabetic: Impaired wound healing can make extractions hazardous
  • A cancer patient undergoing treatment, or cancer survivor who’s had lymph nodes removed: massage may be contraindicated, and many normally beneficial ingredients may irritate your skin. Look for an esthetician certified in Oncology Esthetics. Our esthetics team includes members certified in this specialty by Morag Curran, the leading educator in the field.
  • An organ transplant patient on anti-rejection drugs: your skin may experience increased sensitivity to normally benign ingredients. We recommend the use of a product line created specifically for health challenged skins.
  • Claustrophobic or prone to panic attacks. Just letting your esthetician know that you experience this condition will help you relax and enjoy your treatment. Ask not to have steam used in your treatment and request that you not be “wrapped up” or have warm mitts on your hands (one person’s “cozy” is another person’s nightmare.)
  • Have sensitivities or allergies: for example, many skin care products (not just foods) contain nut oils. Just because a spa is using natural or organic products does not mean you’ll be less likely to have an allergic reaction to their products. In fact, essential oils, a tremendously beneficial group of ingredients, are plant derived and can cause allergic reactions in certain individuals.
  • Experiencing Rosacea: the right facial treatment can provide relief from some rosacea symptoms, but it is crucial to avoid heat, friction, squeezing during extractions, ingredients that increase circulation and peeling agents.