Hair & Beauty Magazine

5 Ways Skin Care Treatments Can Actually Cause Breakouts

By Jackiebernardi @JackieBernardi

Skin Care Breakouts

It just doesn’t seem right

You go to get a professional skin care treatment that is supposed to make your skin beautiful and healthy, and then a day or two later your face starts breaking out. What’s up with that?

There could be a variety of factors that cause your skin to react to a facial treatment , but here are the five most common:

Skin Sensitivities or Allergies

Occasionally, the skin will erupt in pimples if it is sensitive, allergic to the ingredients or combination of ingredients that are applied to your skin during treatment.  The ingredient(s) that irritate cause the body to send a message to the brain that something on the surface is antagonizing and potentially threatening.  The body reacts by sending its “troops” to the area in the form of inflammation and increased sebum production resulting in breakouts.  Indicators for a sensitivity/allergic reaction can be any or all of the below:

  • Redness
  • Your face has a burning/tingling sensation
  • Breakouts last for more than a few days
  • You develop bumps, welts, or hives

If any of this occurs, stop using the products, and call the professional who treated you, and you may want to see a doctor.

Tip: If you have any known allergies, or sensitivities to ANYTHING, be sure to tell your treatment provider before the treatment starts.

Reaction to new products - Perhaps no one will notice if I just look away. Oh Dear.
A great way to look at this is to compare it to a diet.  If you’ve not been eating the most healthy foods, and only eat when you are starving, you body has come to rely on this as its “standard.” When you go on a diet, start eating healthy foods at dependable intervals, your body freaks out a little.

Maybe you gain a little weight at first, or you get gassy from all the new healthy foods you are eating.  This is just your body reacting to new, unfamiliar information.  If you stick with it another few days, your body adjusts, and starts to flourish.  This exact same thing can happen to your skin when you apply new products with unfamiliar ingredients.

Tip: If you find yourself with pimples for a day or two after your treatment, don’t panic. I may just be a temporary thing as your skin adjusts to products that are good for it.  

Over-Agressive Treatments

Oh, I hate talking about this, but sometimes it does happen–your skin care therapist may get “happy hands” on you, and may provide a more agressive treatment then your skin is prepared to handle.  Here are three signs of over-aggressive skin care which can lead to post treatment breakouts:

  • Using products with ingredients that are too strong/inappropriate
  • Forcing extractions on pores that are not ready
  • Too much massage (what!)

To avoid having a treatment that is too much for your skin, talk to your therapist.  If your skin is prone to breaking out from extractions, tell the treatment provider you don’t want them.  If you already have a few pimples before the treatment, you may want to pass on the massage portion of the treatment.  Never forget that you are the customer, and that you should speak up and have the treatment you want.

Tip: Check out your skin care provider before you make an appointment.  Checking sites like or Yelp for reviews, and only go to people with consistently excellent reviews.

Sanitation Issues

Unsanitary treatment rooms/tool/products can bring on a bad case of breakouts. Make certain that the spa/doctors office is meticulously clean before you book that appointment.  It is perfectly alright to ask for a tour of the facility (especially the treatment rooms) before you have a service.

Hazmat sign
A skin care provider that does not practice strict sanitation protocols, is not the person to go to.  Instruments that have not been cleaned between treatments simply spread bacteria and can cause breakouts (and worse).  Again, discuss this with your treatment provider–ask how tools, linens, etc. are sanitized before your service begins.

Tip: When looking around the treatment room, take notice of the product containers. If they are squeaky clean, it is an indication that your provider is concerned with sanitation.  If they are a goopy mess, run away!

Sometimes a pimple is just a pimple

This is just about bad timing.  Ocassionally, you will get a facial treatment and it will coincide with an “already-brewing” breakout.  It might be hormones, or blocked pores, or humidity. There is just no telling, and it could happen at any time.  Typically a “normal” pimple will last 2-4 days. Just continue your healthy skin care practices, and all will be good with time.

Tip: Try not to schedule your skin care treatment during times when your hormones are going nuts.

Do you ever breakout after a skin care treatment?  Can you identify what triggers it?

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