About 50 million Americans are affected by acne, according to the American Academy of Dermatology Association (AAD), making it the most common skin condition in the nation. Although it usually begins in puberty, with about 85 percent of individuals between the ages of 12 and 24 dealing with at least mild symptoms, acne can occur at any stage of life. In fact, the AAD says it’s increasing among adults and plagues up to 15 percent of women. Not only that, but “maskne” is now plaguing men and women alike—wearing masks to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 can cause skin abrasion and result in acne mechanica.
No wonder Market Research Future (MRFR) recently reported that the global acne treatment market is expected to grow exponentially over the next few years. As a result, spa-goers will likely seek services to battle blemishes in bigger numbers as well. How can you best cater to these clients? “Acne is sort of a Rubik’s Cube, in that there are many layers to tackle in the quest for clearing the skin and bringing it into balance,” says Angie Dennis, lead esthetician and spa coordinator at Spa Ssakwa’q’n in Worley, Idaho. “There is not a one-size-fits-all solution.” Fortunately, however, there are plenty of protocols that offer immediate and long-lasting results—especially when clients commit to regular professional treatments, along with following expert-prescribed home care. Just take a look at these five popular offerings from around the country, which not only banish breakouts, but ensure customer loyalty, as well.
BJ Grand Salon & Spa Springfield, Illinois
Featured brand: Phytomer
(60 min./starting at $98)
Ideal for acne sufferers of all ages, this clinical facial is particularly good for thick and oily skin, and taps products that facilitate the extraction of comedones while calming the complexion and shrinking pores. It begins with Oligopur Purifying Cleansing Gel, a gentle foaming mousse that dislodges impurities and excess sebum. An acid exfoliant and multiple toners further aid in detoxifying the complexion. Meanwhile, the Oligopur Flawless Skin Mask helps with congestion, and the application of Acnipur Blemish Solution Fluid and Oligopur Hydra- Matifying Control Cream boost moisture and mimimize shine.
Clearing things up: From the powerful AHAs and vegetal acids to marine-based extracts, trace elements and minerals, each ingredient works in concert to soothe redness and inflammation while oxygenating the skin and yielding a bright and mattified complexion. “The Blemish Solution Fluid’s active ingredient is a high-tech marine sugar called Absolute Marine Mattifier, which has an immediate effect,” says master esthetician Jessi Bynum. “Afterward, blemishes tend to heal faster, and we offer retail products and a customized at-home regimen to help maintain results between treatments.”
Spa Ssakwa’q’n Worley, Idaho
Featured brand: Naturopathica
This soothing experience addresses acne with a combination of peels, masks, serums, oils and moisturizers, and decongests the skin with exfoliation and extractions. After a thorough consult and intake upon arrival, guests are wrapped in the spa’s famous down comforter to help encourage relaxation. The facial then commences with Aloe Cleansing Gel, which boosts collagen and helps heal the complexion and reduce redness. Next up is the Pumpkin Purifying Enzyme Peel in either a 3 percent, or 15 percent (professional) concentration. After the peel is removed, the therapist performs a facial massage using Neroli Clarifying Facial Oil. That’s followed by the application of the Moss Blemish Treatment Mask, which helps refine pores and absorb excess oil, thanks to ingredients including moss extract, kaolin and bentonite. The mask is removed, and the facial concludes with a layer of AHA Purifying Night Serum and Rosemary Oil-Reducing Moisturizer.
Clearing things up: This customizable facial helps control bacterial growth while balancing sebum production and exfoliating dead skin cells, on which propionibacterium acnes feed. “Also, using a water-based moisturizer
that contains hyaluronic acid, among other key ingredients, helps hydrate the skin,” says Dennis, who emphasizes the importance of home care for maintaining results. “We especially recommend continuing the AHA Purifying Night Serum, which combines salicylic and glycolic acids with aloe vera leaf juice, providing exfoliating, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antibacterial and soothing properties. It also aids in fading dark spots and acne scarring, and helps prevent further breakouts.”
THE PURITY FACIAL
Beauty Bar by Heather New Bern, North Carolina
Featured brand: Yon-Ka Paris
This luxurious service, which can be fully customized according to skin type and acne severity and location (face, back, chest), includes cleansing and toning, a double exfoliation, pore- clearing extractions and complexion-calming hydration. “We use the professional Active Micro Peel as one of our exfoliating processes, which contains antibacterial apple cider vinegar, and we may also include modalities such as high frequency, steam or LED light therapy,” says owner and master esthetician Heather Green. The treatment concludes with the application of either Crème PG, which boasts anti-inflammatory and balancing ingredients, or—for guests whose complexions may have become irritated by extractions—Crème 15, which includes soothing chamomile.
Clearing things up: Estheticians at Beauty Bar by Heather love using products like Emulsion Pure and Juvenil for guests with chronic breakouts because they contain Yon-Ka’s Quintessence—a blend of several essential oils, including rosemary and cypress. “Its antiseptic properties are detoxifying and help regulate sebaceous secretions,” says Green. “The lime essential oil in Juvenil is also antibacterial, as well as packed with antioxidants to protect skin and help prevent future breakouts.”
ACNE PROTOCOL WITH PROBIOTICS
Flawless Skin Miami
Featured brand: DermaSwiss
Anyone who suffers from acne can benefit from this service, which helps to maintain the balance of the skin microbiome using powerful probiotics. “It’s even great for back facials,” says owner Belkys Rodriguez. The protocol begins with Purifying Cleansing Gel, followed by the application of a mixture of DermaScrub—an enzymatic exfoliant made with diatomaceous earth and papaya extract—and salicylic acid, which is left on for eight minutes. After removing it with plenty of water, extractions are performed, followed by high frequency for the next three minutes to reduce redness, kill bacteria and minimize pores. Then, mandelic acid is applied, along with a spot serum to any active lesions and a clarifying serum, which is also formulated with probiotics. “Next, we apply Epifactor—a must-have that helps the skin recover faster,” says Rodriguez. “Finally comes the client’s favorite part: The Purifying Peel Off Mask. It’s left on for 20 minutes to completely decongest the skin.” The treatment concludes with Coplacen Serum—a hydrolyzed collagen with epidermal growth factor that locks in moisture.
Clearing things up: Probiotics are particularly good for breakouts because they normalize the growth of acne- causing bacteria. “They deliver exactly what you want in an acne treatment—immediate results and the prevention of future lesions,” Rodriguez enthuses. Additional star ingredients are a concentrate derived from licorice that helps reduce inflammation and redness. “But my favorite part is the mandelic acid, not only because it leaves a healthy glow, but it’s an ideal peeling agent for sensitive complexions with acne and pigmentation,” Rodriguez notes. “It’s especially good after extractions because it’s a mild acid that immediately changes the appearance of the skin. Guests see results from the very first session, which makes them want to return.”
OXYCEUTICALS OXYGEN ACNE FACIAL
Skintique Miami, Coral Gables, Florida
Featured brand: ECHO2 Plus
(50 min./$95; 65 min./$115)
Designed for practically any type of breakout on any part of the body, this treatment quickly and gently kills acne-causing bacteria with a pure oxygen infusion that delivers clinical-grade active ingredients deep into the critical layer of the skin where acne begins. A complete consultation helps to determine whether the client should get the 50-minute Level 1 option (for mild to moderate acne), or the 65-minute Level 2 (for more severe conditions). From there, a four-step process is followed, using Salicylic Cleanser, Enzyme Exfoliating Gel, Calming Serum and Nutrient Hydrator.
Clearing things up: The first two products (cleanser and gel) act as peeling agents to remove the upper layers of the skin, allowing for better extractions and penetration of the active ingredients that follow. “The treatment concludes with an oxygen infusion of aloe, calendula and a pro-vitamin complex that disinfect, treat and heal the acne lesions,” says founder and owner Jeanette D. Acosta, CME. Almost immediately, clients notice clearer, calmer, less inflamed skin. “We can typically clear the complexion with 8 to 10 treatments, performed two to three weeks apart, and then a maintenance treatment every four to six weeks,” Acosta notes. “Acne takes time and consistency to clear, but because of how quickly clients see results, they’re motivated to keep coming back.” Best of all, the treatments help protect the skin from further breakouts and damage.