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Facial Gone Wrong? 6 Signs of a Bad Facial

Facial Gone Wrong? 6 Signs of a Bad Facial

Facials are an incredible form of self-care, but that doesn’t mean that all facials are created equal.

One of the advantages of going to a professional for your skin care needs is that you have a higher likelihood of finding the right facial for your skin’s unique needs. 

However, even with the proper guidance, reactions can happen. Identifying the signs that your skin may not be reacting appropriately can help you take the best care of your skin possible — so here are the top six signs that you’re dealing with a bad facial (plus what you can do about it if it happens to you).

1. Bright red skin

Even the mildest facials have transient, temporary side effects like redness and irritation. You can and should expect your skin to be a little pink or red when leaving your appointment, which is why most skin care providers recommend taking the rest of the day off. However, if your skin is more than just a little pink, it could be a sign of an adverse reaction to the treatment or an ingredient in the facial you received. 

An unexpected sensitivity or allergic reaction is one of the most common reasons for a facial gone wrong. Tell your provider before your treatment if you have any known skin allergies or sensitivities or if you’re taking any medications (over-the-counter or otherwise). 

If you’re experiencing bright red skin after your appointment, follow up with your provider to see if it’s a normal and expected part of the process, or if it’s a sign of something that needs to be addressed. 

2. Irritation that lasts more than a day or two

In addition to bright red skin, you can also expect your skin to be a little irritated for a day or two after your facial. Certain facials, like microneedling, can provide amazing results but generally require a little extra downtime. However, if you’re still experiencing extreme irritation for more than a day or two after your treatment, it’s likely a sign that you are dealing with a facial gone wrong. 

In some instances, skin care ingredients can burn your skin, leaving scarring or welts behind. This is often the case with at-home facials using too high of a percentage of active ingredients or leaving those ingredients on the skin for too long. Never use ingredients meant for in-office skin care treatments at home, especially without the advice and guidance of a trained, licensed skin care provider. 

3. Being pressured into treatments you don’t want

Deciding to invest in your skin and pursue a skin care treatment is a decision most people take seriously — everyone wants to spend their money wisely, after all! When you schedule a treatment, you can expect your skin care provider to talk to you about your goals and what your desired results are so that you can work together to find the perfect fit. 

However, you should never feel pressured to sign up for skin care treatments you don’t want. We want you to feel confident with the options you’ve chosen, whether that’s a BBL photofacial, a Gold Infusion facial or any other skin care treatment. While many skin care providers will make suggestions about what treatments and products will be the most efficient at helping you reach your goals, the decision is ultimately up to you. 

4. Being in pain during your treatment

Not every skin care treatment and facial is pain-free, especially those that involve needles. Our skin care providers will always be open and honest with you about any potential discomfort you should expect, though, so there should never be any surprises. Unfortunately, that honesty isn’t always the case anywhere you go.

If you’re experiencing pain during your skin care treatment, and especially if you’re expressing your discomfort and not being taken seriously, this is definitely a facial gone wrong. Trust is essential to a quality relationship with your skin care provider, so not feeling like you’re being taken seriously is a red flag that you should find a new one. 

5. Bleeding when you leave your appointment 

Not all facials involve needles, but the ones that do come with their own set of potential side effects. Obviously, anything that involves puncturing the skin, regardless of how impressive the results are, does come with the risk of bleeding afterward. 

However, any bleeding that results from an in-office skin care treatment should be resolved before you walk out the door. If you’re still bleeding, especially if your skin care provider isn’t doing anything to try to stop it, it’s time to find another office. 

The potential for bleeding is also why it’s crucial that you disclose your entire medical history to your skin care provider. Certain medications, like blood thinners, can increase your risk of bleeding during and after a skin care treatment. Some medications may even make it too dangerous to have specific treatments, although there may be safe alternatives that provide similar results. 

Drinking alcohol before or after your treatment can also increase your risk, so avoid this for at least a day or two on either side of your appointment (especially if your skin care treatment involves needles). Your skin care provider will go over other recommendations as well, but make sure you follow them to keep your treatment as safe and effective as possible. 

6. Stinging when you apply an at-home facial

There are many options for facials that you can perform on your own at home. Many of them, like our Clay Time charcoal mask or Crystal Clear clarifying pads, are easy to apply and offer results that rival those you can get in an office setting, especially when used regularly.

However, that doesn’t mean that everything sold over the counter is safe, especially if you’re new to performing your own facials. Exfoliating ingredients, in particular, can be harsh on your skin. If you’re noticing that your skin is stinging when you’re putting on the product, it doesn’t mean it’s effective — it may be a sign of a facial gone wrong. 

Before trying a new at-home facial, do a little research on how to safely exfoliate your skin. If something doesn’t feel right, wash it immediately off your skin and contact your skin care provider. If you develop welts, hives or any swelling or trouble breathing, seek medical attention right away.

How can you avoid potential issues?

There are many ways that a facial gone wrong can happen. But how are you supposed to know what to expect, and how can you avoid issues?

The best way to anticipate potential side effects or issues is to work with a licensed, trained skin care professional. While this doesn’t guarantee that you won’t have any problems or experience any unexpected allergic reactions, it does minimize the possibility and give you all the information you need to make an informed decision. 

Plus, working with a skin care provider to achieve your goals means that you can create a customized plan that takes all of your health into account. After all, it’s not just about what you’re putting on your skin in the moment; other factors also come into play. For example, your skin may react fine to an ingredient, but combining that ingredient with a different one may trigger a serious reaction. Skin care providers look at the whole picture, which can help you avoid irritating or painful side effects you may not have seen coming if you go it alone. 

When in doubt, schedule a consultation. You won’t be locked into scheduling any skin care treatments, and you can discuss your goals in detail to make sure you get the results you want in the safest way possible (with the smallest risk of side effects). We want you to feel confident scheduling a facial, and we’re committed to helping you achieve your optimal results. 

To sum things up...

Even with the best care and intentions, facials gone wrong can happen. However, when you know how to protect your skin and find a skin care provider that works with you and takes you seriously, you have the highest chance of getting the results you want without as many uncomfortable side effects. If you’re looking for advice on how to get your skin looking and feeling its best, Skin Pharm is here for you!


Microneedling > Fact Sheets | Yale Medicine

Microneedling Devices: Getting to the Point on Benefits, Risks and Safety | FDA

How to safely exfoliate at home | AAD


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