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How Does a HydraFacial Treatment Work and is it Good For Acne? 

October 3, 2023

By now you’ve probably heard of the ever-popular HydraFacial treatment, but how does it actually work and what does it treat? Is this facial treatment good for those struggling with acne? First, we will break down the steps of the HydraFacial treatment and then whether it’s one you should consider for treating acne!

By: Mackenzie, Licensed Esthetician


What is a HydraFacial?

A HydraFacial is a facial treatment that delivers exfoliation, deep cleansing extractions, and hydration to the face. The serums are typically hyaluronic acid, antioxidants, or peptides. The device has vacuum suction that removes dead skin cells and impurities while infusing those serums at the same time. The HydraFacial treatment helps exfoliate and deeply cleanse the skin It is considered a “wet” facial treatment, using liquid serums rather than scrubs or chemical peels for exfoliation. This makes it gentler on the skin than some other facial treatments.

Is The HydraFacial Pregnancy or Breastfeeding-Safe?

One thing to keep in mind is that the peel step (see more below) is not pregnancy friendly. With that said, we can swap out the peel for a vitamin c booster. This will help with any redness, hyperpigmentation, and overall skin brightening and make the entire treatment pregnancy and breastfeeding-safe.

So while by default the HydraFacial is not safe for those who are pregnant or breastfeeding, there are steps we can take to make it perfectly safe. This makes the HydraFacial a great pampering treatment for expectant parents who are otherwise limited in their skincare options.

Now let’s break down the steps of this treatment!

Close-up photo of various HydraFacial serums in a person's hands

The Steps of the HydraFacial Treatment

First step: Cleanse

The first step in the HydraFacial is the cleansing step. HydraFacials use “Activ-4” which has glucosamine: this helps to improve skin hydration and decrease wrinkles. In addition, it inhibits melanin and is useful for hyperpigmentation.

Activ-4 also has lactic acid which helps remove dead skin cells and help fade dark spots. This will also deeply cleanse the skin while softening sebum/oils and impurities. 

Second step: Peel

In the second step, a peel is applied. There are 4 different peels used: the sensitive peel, the 7.5% peel, 15% peel, and 30% peel. We usually stay around the sensitive peel and 7.5%, and rarely use the 30%. These mini-peels have no down time. There is a mixture of glycolic and salicylic acid.

The peel helps to hydrate the skin and loosens debris inside the pores which will then removed in the next step (extractions). This is where, if you struggle with acne, it becomes very beneficial. 

Third step: Extract

Step three is extractions, a non-invasive way to remove dirt and debris from the skin. The HydraFacial uses suction to help pull all the gunk out. There are different vacuums to choose from depending on the skin type. A bonus is that you can actually see all the debris in the gunk jar at the end of the facial.  

Fourth step: Infusion

Serums will be infused into the skin in the fourth step. They will help improve hydration and elasticity. This will also help protect and fight against environmental free radicals that ages the skin. Again, depending on where you receive a HydraFacial treatment, these serums can typically included antioxidants, hyaluronic acid, and peptides.

Is the HydraFacial Good For Treating Acne?

The Hydrafacial treatment uses hydra-dermabrasion which is similar to microdermabrasion. They both use movement and force to remove the outer most layer of dead skin. By cleansing your skin and pores of impurities, this will stay on top of fighting against oil and debris that cause acne.

These results will last 4-6 weeks which is the recommended time to stay on top of your hydrafacials. When you immediately leave you will look refreshed and have a nice glow. That will last about the first couple of days, but then all the serums that are infused during the facial will be working for that entire 4-6 week duration. I personally love pairing any HydraFacials with a dermaplane. Removing the dead skin cells and vellus hair before the hydrafacial helps product penetrate even deeper! 

At the end of the day, yes—HydraFacials are one of the best treatments you can do to both treat and prevent acne! If you’re in Cincinnati, OH and want to schedule a treatment or learn more, fill out our form here and we’ll be in touch!