From skipping your workout to ditching makeup: Things you should definitely avoid after a facial treatment.

Whether you want to brighten dull skin, get rid of niggling acne scars, smooth fine lines or tell your pigmentation to piss off, there are a whole heap of amazing facial treatments out there that can address almost any skin concern. How good!

Watch: On the topic of's what a carbon facial looks and feels like. Post continues below. 

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There's the traditional, relaxing facial full of mood lighting, long massages, nice smelling scrubs and fairy dust (you know the one - you float out in an outrageous state of bliss, smelling like you've been dunked in fancy hippie oil), and then there's the hardcore 'this is going to hurt, but pain is good' kinda facial that works to fix skin issues over a series of sessions.

The thing is, though, no matter what type of facial treatment you have, you need to know that there's a particular aftercare process you should follow for each. Because while we may be aware of the many amazing benefits of facial treatments, post-treatment plans aren’t really common knowledge. But then your skin breaks TF out post-treatment, or it's left feeling a little inflamed for a little too long, and you're left wondering what went wrong.

Listen to Mamamia's podcast for your face, You Beauty, where we talk about what actually happens during a 'Vampire Facial'. Post continues below.

But that's why you have us! We've pulled together a handy guide (with the help of a professional) outlining some of the most common facial treatments, and exactly what to avoid afterwards so you don't screw up your results.

Professional facial treatments.

What are they?

Tailored to the needs of your skin, a professional facial treatment often involves a skin practitioner using special photography and lights to assess and analyse the current health of your skin. "Skin practitioners that have a dermal therapy qualification (university level) will really understand skin too, so we push your skin within safety limits," said Dr Giulia D'Anna from Dermal Distinction


"We also understand what treatments to apply, for how long, and what treatments to avoid, too. Our skin treatments are professional strength, so these are not something that you can just do yourself at home."

What are some immediate side-effects?

While this varies widely, superficial skin treatments (meaning those that are 'skin deep') are usually associated with very minimal downtime. "An example of these kinds of treatments include enzyme facials, where we use fruit acids to hydrate the skin, whilst gently lifting dead skin and pigmentation," said Dr D'Anna. 

On the other side of the spectrum are those types of facials aiming to create changes in the skin, and these treatments might have some downtime. "This might be where we perform rebuilding treatments, such as skin needling, to regulate the skin cell turnover, lift out pigmentation or similar concerns. With this kind of treatment, you might look sunburnt for up to 48 hours." 

What should you completely avoid?

Along with paring back active ingredients (retinol, vitamin C and the gang) immediately after your treatment, Dr D'Anna said to avoid things like coconut oil and slathering on heavy, thick oils. "Otherwise you can say hello to acne and blemishes," said Dr D'Anna. Not cool.

"These oils are far too thick for the skin, filling the pores and trapping skin cells, build up and natural oils and bacteria in the skin. They are a definite no-no."

Okay, ditch the coconut oil. What else?

"Look out for fragrances, too. I know that some products just smell amazing because of them, but fragrances in products are the number one trigger for sensitivity, so they are really best avoided."

Should we take a break from makeup?

According to Dr D'Anna, there's no real need to take a break from makeup per se - but she said you should take a look at the type of makeup you're using. Don't use anything too thick and crazy.

"If you can, opt for mineral-based makeup. There are a few great products on the market these days, and many are well-priced too. Mineral makeup contains few 'filler' ingredients that tend to be damaging. Mineral makeup generally also sits on the surface of your skin rather than filtering down into the skin itself."

Is it okay to work out post-facial?

"Depends on the facial! But generally the answer is no." 


Why? Because your poor little skin has just had a work out of its own, and the blood vessels are pumping to repair and enhance the skin. "The last thing your skin needs is for the blood vessels to get so congested that the skin breaks out because of sweat being unable to leave the pores. I would suggest skipping the workout, or scheduling the facial for much later in the day."


Nup, all good - we'll just skip it. Better to be safe, right?

Laser facial treatments.

What are they?

Mmmkay, let's clear this up real quick because it can get a bit confusing. There are two types of laser facials - non-ablative laser facial treatments and fractional ablative laser treatments. 

Non-ablative lasers work to stimulate collagen deep within your skin, improving the skin's appearance without damaging the surface. "Skin will have more elasticity, plumpness and fine lines and wrinkles will improve," said Dr D'Anna.

Fractional ablative lasers are a lil more aggressive and typically burn the skin. "This is where there is a grid-pattern etched into the skin by the laser, but you also get the heating of the deeper layers too," said Dr D'Anna. 

This means that both the surface of the skin and deeper layers repair and are restored. It basically has all the benefits of the non-ablative laser facial, with the added benefit of reduced pigmentation and smoother skin texture.

What are some immediate side-effects?

"With the non-ablative laser facial, afterwards you may look flushed for an hour or two, but these is no other side-effect. These laser facials are truly 'the bomb'."

Umm, sold. We'll take five.

"With fractional laser facials, you will look like your skin has been 'grazed' and your face will look like you have sunburn. I know that doesn’t sound amazing, but this will only hang around for about 24 to 48 hours."

What should you completely avoid?

Immediately after a laser facial, it is best to steer clear of harsh cleansers and active ingredients. "Retinol or vitamin A should be avoided for at least seven days as this ingredient, whilst being great for anti-ageing, acts to replace the skin surface and increased cellular activity. But the laser treatment just did that - too much is sometimes too much."

Should we take a break from makeup?

"With a non-ablative laser facial, you can really get right back into your makeup routine immediately."

Cool. And the same for fractional laser?

No. "After a fractional laser facial, definitely take a break for a few days," said Dr D'Anna. "The skin will feel rough, as the laser has created a grid pattern on the skin. So, whilst it is tempting to layer on makeup to hide redness, makeup tends to get stuck in the little laser 'pores' that were created." It'll end up looking all cakey and gross, so you're best to just ditch it for a bit.


"The little pores created by fractional laser treatment will dissolve away in 48 to 72 hours, so we do not want makeup to hold them to the skin. Let your skin breathe. I would suggest that a great time frame is at least five days."

Is it okay to work out post-laser?

"Umm, no! Laser increases heat and circulation in the skin. As the skin works away at trying to repair, rebuild and heal, you should not add sweat to the mix," said Dr D'Anna. 

So, what if we were to nip into a cheeky HIIT class afterwards? "Sweating increases the activity that your skin needs to undertake. This not only undermines the laser treatment, but you might end up with blemishes as the pores swell to push out more than they can cope with. Best to give your skin a rest."

Chemical peels.

What are they?

Chemical peels sound freaking terrifying. Like, the thought of peeling layers off your skin does not sound like a good time, ever. But, friends, chemical peels are actually super amazing and cool and they never EVER talk behind your back. They're like a higher strength skin exfoliant and you gotta get around them. 

"There are a number of different types, but they generally all aim to improve the skin surface and quality," said Dr D'Anna.

The most common type of chemical peels are lactic acid peels - which help boost hydration in the skin. "Lactic acid peels are gentle and come in a variety of concentrations, so you can slowly work up to a higher concentration as your skin needs change. Lactic acid peels reduce pigmentation, improve hydration and your skin will feel so soft afterwards. Not only that, but most people can get straight back to normal activity immediately afterwards."

If you're a beginner, a lactic acid peel is probably going to be your best go-to. For specific skin concerns like acne and fine lines and wrinkles, there are a variety of other options out there.

"There are deeper acting peels, too. These are used when we are after some real anti-ageing benefits like fine line reduction, deep pigmentation treatments and treatment of lacklustre skin." 

What are some immediate side-effects?

In terms of side-effects immediately after treatment, you can expect for your skin to be quite red and hot. "The timing of this redness depends upon your skin, but also the concentration of the peel." 

A few days after your treatment, Dr D'Anna said it is possible to have some light peeling - but don't worry, this is a good sign! "I absolutely love it when this happens, because as the skin is lost the most wonderful bright, luminous skin is revealed. It can be annoying dealing with the flakes, but so worth it once the shed is done."


Flakey = good.

If this is annoying the sh*t out of you, you can use a fruit enzyme mask to get rid of the skin flakes. "This helps the shedding process speed up to reveal your new skin."

What should you completely avoid?

"Immediately after the peel, avoid sun exposure. Most of the time, peels are trying to erase the damaging effects of the sun. The last thing your skin needs is to put all that damage back there when your skin is a little more vulnerable."

But you're always avoiding the sun, anyway! Right? RIGHT.

As with the other treatments, try to avoid overly active ingredients like vitamin A/retinol or exfoliating too early. "Your dermal therapist just exfoliated your skin with the chemical peel."

During the immediate post-peel stage, also avoid saunas and heat treatments.

Should we take a break from makeup?

"Whenever you can, use mineral makeup. I can categorically say that I tried using makeup during the peeling/flaking stage a few days after a chemical peel and I looked ridiculous. It's not that it is bad for your skin, but with the flakes it looks so much worse!"

Because you probably don't want to look like Two Face, just ditch it for a few days. 

"Once flaking is over, you can go back to your normal regime. This is usually over after around seven days if you are lucky enough to experience this," says Dr D'Anna.

Is it okay to work out after a chemical peel?

"No! Chemical peels are a liquid exfoliation of your skin, and many peels have an effect a few days after the treatment. I would suggest avoiding working out for a few days so that your skin can reorganise and go through the process of shedding before you work out. The last thing you need is to break out on top of the shed. Nobody needs that in their life."

As always, Dr D'Anna said to make sure you have a proper chat with your dermal therapist before having a facial treatment. This way you'll get a good idea of what you're up for and their advice should guide you to make sure you get the best results out of your specific treatment. "They know you and your skin and the treatment." Indeed.

Feature image: Getty

What's your favourite facial treatment? Share with us in the comment section below.

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