By Shelby Jones, Public Relations Manager, ISPA

It can be hard to know which type of facial to get when there’s a menu’s worth of offerings at your favorite spa. It all depends on how your skin feels, how it reacts to certain ingredients and what you want to accomplish. Celebrities like Madonna love an oxygen facial while supermodels Gisele Bündchen and Kate Moss opt for a deep-cleanse. If you’re clueless, it’s best to book a consultation with an esthetician to help you figure out exactly what your skin needs.

Some facials include extractions, where blackheads and whiteheads are manually removed from the skin. There is some debate amongst estheticians whether extractions should be done or not. It’s best to talk to your therapist before you begin your treatment to determine if extractions are right for your skin.

Deep-Cleansing Facial

This facial involves the use of machines or manual techniques to open pores, extract blackheads by hand, purify skin, close pores and revitalize skin. You should consider this type of facial if you have acne, or during warmer weather when skin can become more oily and prone to flare-ups. Read: Man’s First Spa Day and Facial


This treatment is used to improve the appearance of sun-damaged skin, treat hyperpigmentation and reduce or remove scars. It’s a popular cosmetic procedure where the face is sprayed with abrasive crystals to remove dead cells. In fact, of the medical services offered at spas, microdermabrasion is the most popular (ISPA 2010 U.S. Spa Industry Study). Microdermabrasion can help to reduce fine lines and age spots. It can be performed in less than an hour, so you can get back to your normal routine immediately following the treatment. Read: 4-step Microdermabrasion in NYC.

Photo-facial/Intense Pulse Light Therapy

Photo-facial or Intense Pulse Light (IPL) therapy ranks fifth among the medical services offered at spas in the U.S. (ISPA 2010 U.S. Spa Industry Study). It works to stimulate the deeper tissues of the skin with concentrated light. This is a great treatment if you have redness, light acne scars, rosacea, broken capillaries or hyperpigmentation. Best of all, it’s a quick treatment that can be done on a lunch break so you can return to work after it’s over. Watch: IPL treatment in Spa Merge’s Organic Plant Stem Cell Facial.

Oxygen Facial

An oxygen facial delivers pure oxygen at a high pressure and anti-aging serum through an airbrush to the face. This treatment stimulates the skin so new collagen growth can occur. It’s designed to plump and smooth the face immediately. It’s perfect if you have a big event to attend or if you’re planning to have your photograph taken. Read: An alternative type of oxygen facial at The Pod Spa.

If you want to learn more about different spa treatments visit ISPA’s spa glossary at

Shelby Jones is based in Lexington, KY at the ISPA headquarters, Spa Week’s exclusive trade partner. She has worked as ISPA’s Public Relations Manager for five years where she connects with top media outlets to promote ISPA members and the spa lifestyle. To get in touch with Shelby please visit experienceispa.comemail her or follow @ISPADoYou on Twitter. If you’re in the spa industry, we encourage you to become a member of ISPA; weekly e-mails with pointers like these are just one small part of the package to help you succeed!