How to book a spa treatment when you have sensitive skin

Indulging in a facial or spa treatment should never be tainted by worry about a reaction.

If your local spa doesn’t yet offer Pai treatments, follow our guide to making visits a stress-free experience.

Check the itinerary 

Some facial elements can simply be too much for reactive skin, so make sure to read up on the specifics of your chosen treatment.


Alongside telling your therapist what level of pressure you like, your skin concerns and allergies, ask if the treatment includes any of the following steps:

Facial massage

Our gentle Pai treatments include massage, but we use a mix of acupressure and light lymphatic drainage to avoid creating friction and heat in sensitive skin.

Some massage techniques can be overly stimulating so, to avoid leaving red-faced, ask your therapist to keep it light or skip this step if you’re extremely sensitive.


Although there’s a certain satisfaction in waving goodbye that lingering blackhead, extraction can damage the skin and cause further irritation.

Ask your therapist to skip the steaming that often precedes extraction (it’s too intense for redness-prone skin) and limit prodding to only the most visible of pores!


A more extreme version of exfoliation, dermabrasion essentially removes a layer of dead cells before they’re ready to come off.

Most skin types will become sensitive to sunlight after this treatment and it can also worsen broken capillaries and redness, so it’s a definite no-go for skin prone to Rosacea.

Laser treatments

Aggressive laser treatments can sensitise the skin even further and reactive skin types often take longer to heal after this style of treatment.



Ask what they’re using

Before committing to a treatment, ask the spa which products they’ll be using.

If necessary, ask if you can look at the ingredients list and keep an eye out for the following:


Drying alcohols can crop up in just about any stage of a facial, but particularly in toners and makeup removers.

To avoid irritating and over-drying sensitive skin, flag this with your therapist and ask them to keep your treatment strictly sober!


Essential oils

They might make creams smell heavenly, but high levels of essential oils can be just as irritating as synthetic fragrance – particularly if they’re from the citrus family. 

Fancy some aromatherapy? Ask for essential oils in an oil burner to scent the room instead.

Alpha/Beta Hydroxy Acids

These acids are often sourced from fruit and are fantastic for breaking down the glue that holds dead skin cells to the surface of our skin.

However on very sensitive skin they need to be used in low concentrations. If you’re unsure, ask your therapist to swap them for very gentle exfoliation with a soft muslin cloth or Jojoba bead exfoliator.


BYOB – Bring your own beauty!

If in doubt, there’s no harm in bringing along a few of your own trusted products to be used during your treatment; such as your own non-toxic nail polish or hand cream when going for a manicure.

Any good spa should be happy to accommodate, particularly if it saves you discomfort.

Shop this post

You might enjoy these