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How to Care for Your Skin After a Facial

The complete guide to what to do—and what not to do—to make the most of your treatment.

When it comes to professional skin treatments, nothing beats a facial customized to tackle your top skin concerns. An in-office facial can incorporate a wide variety of products and modalities, from hydrating boosters and chemical peels to light therapy, microcurrent and microneedling. Whatever techniques are used, the goal of any skin treatment is the same—a healthier-looking complexion.

Want to hold on to your post-facial glow a little longer? Whether you got a treatment for dry skin or a treatment for oily skin to prep for a big event or an intense medical facial, like a skin tightening treatment that addresses signs of aging, at your dermatologist’s office, there are a few easy steps you can take at home to make the most of professional skincare treatments.

What to do after a facial
It’s tempting to jump straight back into your go-to pampering routine after a skin treatment, but a short break from your multi-step skincare regimen can actually be beneficial. It may sound counterintuitive, but in the days following a facial, you’ll want to avoid overloading your skin, as it may be red and feel tight, swollen and irritated. During many in-office facials, particularly in the case of a skin tightening treatment that requires higher concentrations of active ingredients and the use of devices, the provider will use products and techniques that can leave skin vulnerable to irritants for a few days. (Even a hydrating treatment for dry skin can leave your face feeling a little sensitive!)

No matter what kind of facial you had or what skincare concerns are top of mind for you, a post-medi-spa skincare routine that focuses on just a few gentle products formulated with proven ingredients to hydrate, treat and protect post-treatment skin is the way to go. For a foolproof pared-down routine, try:

A hydrating mist: The best thing you can do for your skin is to keep it hydrated. Whether you’ve already got a head start with a skin treatment for dry skin, want to keep oil under control following a skin treatment for oily skin or need to heal after a tightening skin treatment, great skin starts with hydration. A few spritzes of hydrating mist is an easy way to soothe post-treatment redness and prep the skin for serums and creams. SkinCeuticals Phyto Corrective Essence Mist is a must-try for all skin types, thanks to its ultra-gentle and hydrating blend of botanical ingredients, hyaluronic acid and glycerine.

A serum to treat specific concerns: Whatever your skin concerns, there is a serum out there for you. Applied before your moisturizer, a serum is an easy way to boost the benefits of any facial at home.

No matter your skin type, a good place to start is with a hyaluronic acid serum, like SkinCeuticals H.A. Intensifier. This product is gentle and suitable for every skin type, from dry and sensitive to oily. Hyaluronic acid increases the skin’s moisture levels and layers well with other ingredients, so it can be used after any skin treatment for a hit of hydration to plump skin and increase firmness and smoothness.

Another all-around powerhouse skincare product for skin treatment aftercare is a vitamin C serum. Also known as ascorbic acid, vitamin C is a popular antioxidant that owes its rave reviews to its ability to fight hyperpigmentation, protect against UV damage and preserve collagen for a younger-looking complexion. It’s not only great for dehydrated skin but also fights signs of aging. For a vitamin C serum that does it all, try SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic.

If your main concern is oily skin, a skincare routine that keeps sebum production under control will help preserve the balance achieved by a facial. After a treatment for oily skin, keep skin hydrated and mattified with a combination of a serum for oily skin and an oil-free moisturizer. Add SkinCeuticals Blemish + Age Defense to your routine to reap the oil-control and acne-fighting benefits of salicylic acid, glycolic acid and dioic acid, followed by SkinCeuticals Phyto A+ Brightening Treatment to smooth, brighten and clarify skin with azelaic acid.

If your goal is to keep your skin looking firm after a skin tightening treatment, an anti-aging approach to skincare is best. Along with a vitamin C serum, try adding SkinCeuticals Blemish + Age Defense to your post-facial care; it contains glycolic and citric acids, both of which help to reduce the appearance of fine lines.

Sunscreen: You should always wear sun protection, but it’s an especially crucial step post-facial. Together, UVA and UVB rays not only cause skin cancer but sun exposure is also the number one cause of skin aging. A good mineral sunscreen applied every morning and reapplied every two hours will help protect your skin in the long run as well as make the results from your skin treatment last longer. To help cover up post-facial redness, you can opt for a tinted mineral sunscreen like SkinCeuticals Physical Fusion UV Defense SPF 50, which is formulated with sensitive-skin-friendly physical filters like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.

What not to do after a facial
There are also a few things you shouldn’t do right after a facial. To make the most of professional skincare treatments , avoid these frequent post-facial mistakes:

Pile on the makeup: Though you may be tempted to cover up temporary redness by busting out your highest-coverage concealer, steering clear of makeup for a few days after a skin treatment is a good idea—let the facial work its magic! Makeup can clog pores, so skipping it allows the product you apply post-facial to penetrate deeper into the skin.

Exfoliate excessively: Fresh off your facial, your skin may be a little more sensitive than usual, especially if your provider used chemical peels or techniques such as laser or microneedling during your skin tightening treatment. Avoid scrubs, cleansing brushes and chemical exfoliants—focus on hydration instead.

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