6 Horrifying Stories of Facials Gone Wrong


Jovo Jovanovic/Stocksy

Facials are supposed to be a healthy part of one's regular skincare routine—the operative phrase there being "supposed to be." The unfortunate truth, however, is that if you've ever had a negative experience at the esthetician's office, you're not alone.

"As an esthetician with 30 years of experience, I believe there are more negative reactions applied to the skin, now than ever," comments Renée Rouleau, one of Byrdie's most vetted facialists. Rouleau's theory is that the at-home skincare market has become saturated with so many harsh products that the average facial client comes to their appointment with an already damaged moisture barrier. That sensitizes the skin, setting it up for negative reactions. (For example, if you cleanse with a sonic brush the night before a facial, follow up with derma-rolling and a potent vitamin C serum the next morning, and head in for your facial later that afternoon, odds are that you're in for some irritation.)

"A knowledgeable esthetician must be more thorough than ever in their consultation to know what the client has been doing to their skin at home," says Rouleau. "I know for me, when I get a new client, I'm often trying to repair the damage to get their skin to a healthier place before I can even think of doing stronger treatments such as chemical peels."

But not all esthetician-client relationships are this open, and that's when facial horror stories can happen. Ready to feel a teeny bit freaked out? We asked Byrdie readers (and one editor) to share their worst facial experiences. Keep scrolling to read six freaky stories of facials gone wrong.