Spa Facial Versus Medical Facial: What’s the Difference?

What do you picture in your mind when you think of a facial? I picture a rustic French spa with Romanesque hot baths, people talking in hushed tones and walking around in white bathrobes and slippers, the smell of lavender and citrus wafting through the air while soft, meditative music creates a Zen-like atmosphere.


I usually think of a facial as being more for my mental health than having any sort of medical benefit, but in reality, it all depends on what kind of facial you get and what sort of condition you’re looking to treat. While most facials are cosmetic in nature – a fun, relaxing activity you treat yourself to during a girl’s day at the spa – medical facials can provide lasting remedies to more serious skin issues.


So, what are the differences exactly, and how do you know which one you need?


Spa Facial – What is It?
A spa facial normally consists of several different steps.

  • Evaluation of your skin by an aesthetician
  • Cleansing of the skin followed by a massage
  • Application of moisturizers
  • Steam treatment to open up pores
  • Extraction of blemishes and application of toner
  • Facial mask sometimes followed by a paraffin mask
  • Second cleansing of the skin and a final application of moisturizer


What are the Benefits?

Though the results aren’t long-lasting – maybe a few days up to a couple of weeks – a spa facial can make your skin look younger and revitalized due to the removal of dead skin cells, the extraction of blackheads, and increased blood circulation from the massage. A spa facial is also extremely relaxing and stress-reducing, and that’s probably the greatest benefit you’ll get out of it.


Who Should Get It?

Anyone looking to pamper themselves or give their skin a quick, little boost. They are also great to get right before a special event like a wedding, when you want your skin to have that extra glow for pictures.


Medical Facial – What is It?

According to Cedars Sinai Marina Del Ray Hospital a medical facial consists of “a deeper cleansing of the skin and a stronger peeling. The chemicals used and the procedures are of a higher effect, more durable and more efficient than the spa facials.” As opposed to a spa facial that provides more superficial results, a medical facial targets specific skin problems like wrinkles, brown spots, and acne.


What are the Benefits?
A medical facial probably won’t be as relaxing as a spa facial (the procedure is usually done in a med spa  and can be more painful and traumatic), but the results will be longer-lasting and more beneficial for the long-term look of your skin. The effects aren’t permanent, however, and if you are treating a chronic condition like acne, it may be best to get regular treatments once every 6 weeks or so. We at PAR  can work with you to determine the best schedule for your needs.


Who Should Get It?

Those with more severe skin conditions who are looking for a longer-term solution.



Though the outcomes are different, there’s no denying that both spa and medical facials can be wonderfully beneficial and healing, whether emotionally, physically, or both. And you can’t put a price tag on the confidence that comes from putting your best face forward. With all the stressful goings-on in the world today, it’s the little things we do to pamper ourselves that can make all the difference in our emotional state. Even if you don’t have severe skin issues, consider treating yourself to facial in the near future. Your skin (and mind) will thank you!