Should You Opt For A Medifacial Over A Generic Salon Facial? We Investigate


While a skincare enthusiast may scoff at this question in the first place, the truth is a majority of folk still do get their facials from salons they’ve been frequenting for years. But in the last few years, there’s been an upswing in facials being done at dermatologists’ clinics and medical spas. So, we set out to find out more about medifacials and whether they really do win over salon ones.

First things first, what has led to this trend? “The pandemic has given birth to many beauty trends, the world around us is changing as we speak. There is an increase in demand for non-invasive or no-touch procedures for our skin. Facials are finally becoming more scientific and result oriented, and are run by skin experts and dermatologists. Most of the treatments are USFDA approved and provide benefits inside out,” opines Dr. Geetika Mittal Gupta, Aesthetic Physician and Founder of ISAAC Luxe.

There’s also so much more access and information about these new-age facials and new technologies now than ever before. These are no more ones that only celebrities frequent or HNI individuals rave about. So, access and information coupled with disposable incomes and a real keen interest in skincare for many has further boosted this trend.

Medifacial vs salon facial

Chaitanya Kenchammanahoskote, Founder of Maya MediSpa shares, “Medifacials, as the name suggests, are medical-grade treatments that work beyond the skin surface and in the deeper layers, which are meant to address skin issues like acne, pigmentation, etc. Medifacials are customised after a thorough assessment from a medical provider to address an individual’s skin problems and concerns. In comparison, generic facials that are often done at salons do not have the strength or potency, and neither are these done under the supervision of a medical provider.” She feels that salon facials are done more from a relaxation point of view rather than fixing the issue from the core.

Dr Geetika reiterates this saying, “Salon facials are designed to give a more soothing and pampering experience. These facials simply target the top layer of the skin, and the results are temporary. Also, in some cases, harsh chemical products or scrubs are used which cause more harm to the skin than good!”

As Chaitanya pointed out above, the major benefit of medifacials is that these are done under medical supervision. “Skincare and treatments are not one size fits all.  After a thorough investigation by a medical provider, treatments and facials are suggested to the clients as per the concerns.”

Medical facials are, thus, often customised as per your skin type including oily, acne-prone skin, sensitive skin, etc. and takes into consideration skin disorders like rosacea, acne, scarring, pigmentation, melasma, sun damage, fine lines & wrinkles, and beyond.

Who can opt for medifacials?

Dr. Rashmi Shetty, Founder and Chief Dermatologist at Ra Skin & Aesthetics, says, “Medifacials are a sensible approach to proactively care for your skin, aiming to maintain its natural condition and support early restoration. This involves utilising medications and treatments tailored to your skin type. This method proves advantageous as it specifically addresses issues like dehydration, the accumulation of dead skin cells, and initial concerns related to pigmentation, which often serve as initial triggers for skin problems. Consequently, numerous facial treatments prioritise these foundational aspects.” So, a ‘prevention is better than cure’ approach, where you care for your skin with facials that deep clean and maintain optimal hydration to prevent future skin issues can work for those with normal skin types and no known skin concerns. 

She shares that at Ra Skin and Aesthetics, they offer a comprehensive treatment called the RA 360-degree facial. “This multifaceted treatment serves to rejuvenate dull skin, infuse essential vitamins and nutrients into the skin, and promote relaxation along with lymphatic drainage, a highly effective tool for reducing puffiness and providing immediate hydration. Moreover, it delves into the deeper layers of the skin, leaving it revitalised and refreshed.” Sounds heavenly!

Some other well-known medifacials being offered at dermat clinics and medical spas include the HydraFacial, O2 Derm Facial, the Zein Obagi facial, Collagen Treatments, etc.

“One of the most popular medifacials around the world is the real HydraFacial,” says Chaitanya, stressing on the word ‘real’. “The real Hydrafacial uses the original hydra facial machine from the company based in California.” She points out that Hydrafacial owns about 60 odd patents and it uses the vortex technology and a system where there is no cross contamination and everything used to do the treatment like the tips and are single use only. She reveals though, “There is a challenge for us though because a lot of the spas and salons have started to use the term ‘HydraFacial’ but aren’t using the real machine or the technology.” 

In fact, in the news just a few months ago, a woman talked about how she paid Rs. 50,000 for multiple sessions of HydraFacial at a small nondescript salon in Mumbai and had a terrible skin reaction that needed medical attention. This kind of episode probably best explains Chaitanya’s warnings.

Sharing more on the real HydraFacial she says it uses one-of-a-kind patented vortex delivery system that removes oil, dirt, make up and debris from deep within the skin. “This technology also allows for a concentrated delivery of anti-oxidants, nutrients, hydrators like hyaluronic acid and peptides into your skin and the results are most of the time is seen pretty instantly and it last longer than your traditional spa or a salon facial.” After experiencing this particular facial at the Maya Medi Spa in Bangalore, I can vouch for this fact. My skin felt squeaky clean after the treatment and over the next few days it continued to feel well hydrated and nourished.

Maya Medi Spa also offers exclusive treatments within HydraFacial’s portfolio of offerings. “The most popular one being the Jenifer Lopez serum. She teamed with the HydraFacial company and launched the ‘JLo Serum’ that is used to target hydration and to brighten the pigmentation and to give you the glow that she is known for.  Maya Medi spa is the only ones to be offering that in India.” They also offer the targeted serum ‘Hydraglucan’ from Dr. Paul Nassif, a leading plastic surgeon.

Ra Skin and Aesthetics also offers an array of other sought-after facials including the Hydroxy Facial, Collagen Facial, and a Deep-Cleansing Clean Up specifically designed for acne-prone, excessively oily, and congested skin, which is particularly favoured by teenagers.

Certain clinics have also developed their own exclusive facial treatments. The Fresh Facial offered at ISAAC Luxe being a case in point. This is ISAAC’s 3-in-1 treatment with a combination of Photofacial, Pink Aging, and Ice Facial. The three facials work in harmony to leave your skin looking and feeling fresh as ever. The Photofacial uses light therapy to target the deeper layers of your skin, reducing the appearance of hyperpigmentation, sun spots, acne breakouts, and redness. Meanwhile, Pink Aging infuses your skin with 56 active ingredients that help slow down the ageing process, stimulating collagen production and promoting a youthful, radiant glow. To top it all off, the Ice Facial soothes and refreshes your skin, reducing inflammation and tightening pores for a smoother, more even complexion. I personally experienced this facial at ISAAC Luxe Clinic in Mumbai and I have to admit, I came out feeling super fresh and my skin felt plump, cool and hydrated like never before.


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All about medifacials

Dermatologists all agree that usually a gap of 2-4 weeks between these facials is desirable. “The average time to regenerate cells is about 3-4 weeks, so this would be the best possible time gap for medifacials,” says Dr Geetika, “That’s how long it takes your skin to move through the full life cycle of skin cell growth and exfoliation and a facial helps that process along the way.”

A deterrent for many who stay away from medifacials and instead opt for salon facials, is the hefty price tag of the former. The cost of medifacials can vary anywhere between ₹5,000 to ₹25,000 or more per session. Dr Rashmi explains that it is not solely an expenditure but rather contingent on the utilisation of high-quality equipment, which justifies the investment. “However, it’s important not to assume that a higher price tag guarantees commensurate benefits. It is imperative to select the right provider for these treatments,” she points out. 

To summarise, generic salon facials continue to provide relaxation and pampering every now and then and are much needed, but medifacials, while pricier, tend to offer short-term and long-term benefits – especially for those with specific skin concerns – that clearly outweigh salon ones. The key is to be mindful of where you choose to get such treatments done; ensure you reach out to reputed dermatologist and cosmetologist clinics for the best quality of products and technology to avoid any negative skin reactions.

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