Facials can be a valuable part of your skin care routine, with options existing for every budget.

How often you should get a facial depends on a variety of individual factors including your skin type, skin care needs and goals, and the type of facial you are receiving.

Some facials — like superficial to medium chemical peels — should only be done every couple of weeks (for superficial peels) or months (for medium chemical peels), depending on the strength of the peeling solution used.

Deep chemical peels can only be done once in your lifetime.

Laser resurfacing and LED light therapy are facial treatments performed over the course of multiple sessions, with weeks or months between sessions, depending on the strength of the laser or LED light used.

There’s not a clear guideline for how often you should apply at-home or homemade face masks.

If you have skin concerns and are interested in getting a facial, you can consult with a licensed aesthetician or dermatologist who can help you determine what type of facial to get and how often you should get a facial.

According to a 2018 research review, face masks are the single most used beauty product to aid in facial rejuvenation.

Common ingredients in home face masks include:

  • moisturizers
  • exfoliants
  • vitamins
  • minerals
  • proteins
  • herbal ingredients

The individual ingredients in a given mask can help you determine how often it should be used.

Your skin type

Sensitive skin, dry skin, oily skin, and mature skin will all react differently to face masks and facials.

Seasonal weather conditions

Depending on where you live, your skin may have different needs during dry winter months than in humid summer months.

Timing your facials

How often you should get a facial depends on the type and strength of facial you are receiving. Deeper peels have a longer recovery time and can be applied less frequently.

Chemical peels, for example, are classified into three categories:

  • Superficial peels exfoliate the upper layers of your skin, known as the epidermal layers. They generally use alpha-hydroxy acids (AHA) or beta-hydroxy acids (BHA) and require 4 to 6 applications that are applied at least 2 to 4 weeks apart to prevent damage and give your skin time to heal.
  • Medium-depth peels reach the upper layers of the dermis down to the papillary dermis. These treatments generally use glycolic acid or 35 to 50 percent trichloroacetic acid (TCA). These peels may be performed every few to several months.
  • Deep peels use high concentration TCA (more than 50 percent) or a chemical called phenol. They are the deepest type of chemical peel. These peels penetrate the papillary dermis to reach the middle layer of your skin, called the reticular dermis. They can only be applied once in your lifetime.

Laser treatments are often done multiple times over the course of 3 months, usually a month apart. But the timing will depend on what type of laser is used. Your dermatologist or aesthetician will instruct you on often you should receive treatment.

Milder types of facials include gelatin, clay, and activated charcoal face masks. They can be safely applied more frequently.

Anecdotal use supports the following frequency guidelines:

  • Sheet face masks: once a week
  • Activated charcoal face masks: once a month
  • Clay face masks: once or twice a week
  • Gelatin face masks: twice a month
  • Tea face masks: once a month

Acne-prone skin

People with acne-prone skin should take special considerations when getting facials. Before getting a facial, talk with your dermatologist about your skin history, concerns, and any products you are using.

Some products used to treat acne, including topical retinoids, salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, and isotretinoin (Accutane), can increase your skin’s sensitivity and cause skin dryness, peeling, and stinging.

If you’re using these products, your doctor may recommend you avoid certain kinds of facials to prevent further skin sensitivity or irritation.

People with acne-prone skin may experience increased breakouts due to wearing face masks during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Referred to as “maskne,” these breakouts are due to a disruption of the skin’s microbiome caused by a combination of factors, including irritation from mask fabric and the trapping of sweat, bacteria, and sebum on the skin, which can increase susceptibility to skin infections.

Limited studies suggest that certain types of facials can benefit people with acne. They include:

  • salicylic acid peels
  • glycolic acid peels
  • certain types of laser therapy
  • comedo removal (blackhead extraction)

The most common types of home face masks and their purported benefits include:

  • Sheet face masks: for recovery, healing, and hydrating
  • Activated charcoal face masks: for removing blackheads and whiteheads, and clearing impurities
  • Clay face masks: for removing excess oil and treating acne, dark spots, and sun damage
  • Gelatin face masks: for improving collagen production
  • Tea face masks: for minimizing the appearance of fine lines, neutralizing the effect of free radicals, and preventing acne
  • Honey face masks: for moisturizing and calming the skin
  • Gua sha or jade rolling: for increasing circulation

In most cases, these benefits are based on anecdotal evidence and not backed by clinical research.

Start with the individual product guidelines included in or on the packaging and adapt as needed.

You may find that your individual needs differ, so pay attention to how your skin reacts to any new masks or other changes in your routine.

There are a number of recipes for masks that you can make at home.

Common ingredients include:

If you decide to make a homemade mask, make sure to use a recipe from a reputable source.

You should also do a patch test by applying the mixture to a small area of skin. If you develop any signs of irritation over the next 24 hours — such as redness, itchiness, or blistering — don’t apply the mixture to your face.

Aestheticians are licensed through their region’s board of cosmetology or department of health for their expertise in cosmetic skin care.

They’re not medical doctors, so they’re unable to diagnose, prescribe, or treat clinical skin conditions.

Dermatologists are medical doctors qualified to diagnose and treat skin conditions. They use some facial procedures including LED light therapy, chemical peels, and laser resurfacing to treat various skin care concerns.

A professional facial typically includes one or more of the following:

  • cleansing
  • steam to help open pores
  • exfoliation to remove dead skin cells
  • manual extraction of clogged pores
  • facial massage to promote circulation
  • mask to address specific skin concerns
  • application of serum, toner, moisturizer, and sunscreen
  • laser resurfacing, a minimally invasive treatment that can help repair the skin
  • chemical peels to remove damaged skin cells and tighten the skin
  • LED light therapy treatments to treat acne, reduce inflammation, and promote anti-aging effects

Depending on the salon and service, your appointment may also include:

As with commercial and homemade masks, your next session will depend on your skin needs and the types of treatments performed.

Your aesthetician will provide any necessary aftercare instructions and advise you on when to make your next appointment.

Your skin is your largest organ. It functions as a barrier, protecting your body from harmful elements.

Many people believe that the skin on their face can be properly taken care of by adding facials to their skin care regimen.

If you’re unsure of how to add facials to your routine — or want to schedule a professional treatment — schedule a consultation with a reputable aesthetician or dermatologist.

They can answer any questions you may have and help develop a treatment plan suited to your needs.