Walking the streets of Turkey’s largest city Istanbul, it doesn’t take long to notice people with hair transplants and face bandages. While breast implants, nose and ear operations, butt shaping and tummy tucks are among the most popular aesthetic operations in Turkey, it is also known for its spa culture and facial treatments.
The UK’s Telegraph News reported that of the 1.2 million foreigners who visited Turkey in 2022 for medical tourism, the vast majority went for cosmetic surgery.
From traditional Turkish hammams to beauty salons and modern skin clinics, there are plenty of options to choose from when it comes to getting a facial in Turkey.
One of the main reasons why people choose to get facial treatments in Turkey is the affordability. Compared to other countries, Turkey offers cheaper prices, while giving high quality treatment.
The key differences in the steps of a facial in Turkey may include the use of traditional Turkish methods such as steam and massage, in addition to modern techniques such as microdermabrasion and chemical peels.
Types of facials offered in Turkey
When getting a facial in Turkey, the first thing to do is to decide what type of facial you need. Whether you’re dealing with wrinkles, sagging, large pores, spots, acne or dull, tired skin, you can talk to a beautician about what treatment is best for your skin. Turkish beauty salons and skin clinics offer all the common facials.
Some of the most popular facial treatments include:
Hydrating facials: These facials are designed to hydrate the skin and leave it looking plump and radiant. They often involve the use of products like hyaluronic acid and glycerin.
Anti-aging facials: These facials are designed to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. They often involve the use of products like retinol and vitamin C.
Acne facials: These facials are designed to treat acne-prone skin. They often involve the use of products like salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide.
Why to get a facial while you’re in Turkey
Turkey is known for cosmetic surgery and medical tourism. It’s actually one of the top 5 countries in the world were people go for medical tourism, partly because of its proximity to Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
It’s not just proximity that makes Turkey attractive to people seeking facial treatments, but also its high-quality medical facilities. The private sector in Turkey has been busy gaining accreditation from world renown accreditation agencies to stand out to medical tourists, in particular Turkey’s private hospitals.
Another reason to choose Turkey for your facial is the cost. Compared to many other countries, the cost of facial treatments in Turkey is significantly lower, making it an attractive option for those on a budget.
The steps of a facial in Turkey are similar to those in other countries. The process typically includes cleansing, exfoliation, steaming, extraction, mask application and massage.
Understanding Facial Treatments
There are many different types of facial treatments available in Turkey, and each one is designed to target specific skin concerns.
Facial treatments in Turkey typically involve the following steps:
- Consultation: The first step is to discuss your skin concerns with the beautician/ skin expert to work out the appropriate facial treatment for you.
- Cleansing: Once the facial treatment has been selected, the beautician will prepare your skin by cleansing it thoroughly. This helps to remove any dirt, oil, or makeup that may be on the skin, allowing the facial treatment to penetrate more deeply.
- Exfoliation: The beautician will then apply a face scrub to get rid of dead skin cells on the surface of your skin.
- Steaming and Extraction: The beautician will use a light mist of steam to opens pores to prepare for extraction of blackheads, whiteheads and acne
- Treatment: The beautician will then apply the facial treatment to the patient’s skin. This may involve the use of various products, such as masks, serums, and creams, micro needling, laser, high frequency spot treatment, etc. The treatment is designed to address the patient’s specific skin concerns, such as fine lines and wrinkles, acne, or dullness.
- Massage: After the facial treatment has been applied, the beautician will often perform a facial massage. This helps to stimulate blood flow, relax the muscles, and improve the absorption of the facial treatment.
- Finishing touches: Finally, the beautician will apply a moisturizer and sunscreen to the patient’s skin to protect it from the sun.
Types of Facials Available in Turkey
When it comes to getting a facial in Turkey, there are several types of facials available to choose from. Each type of facial offers different benefits and is designed to target specific skin concerns. Here are some of the most popular types of facials available in Turkey:
Microdermabrasion is a non-invasive facial treatment that uses a special device to exfoliate the outer layer of the skin. This treatment is designed to remove dead skin cells, reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and improve skin texture and tone.
Microdermabrasion is a popular facial treatment in Turkey because it is gentle, effective, and requires no downtime.
Chemical peels are a type of facial treatment that uses a chemical solution to remove the outer layer of the skin. This treatment is designed to improve skin texture and tone, reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and treat acne and hyperpigmentation.
Chemical peels come in different strengths, ranging from mild to deep, and can be tailored to meet the specific needs of each patient.
LED Light Therapy
LED light therapy is a non-invasive facial treatment that uses different wavelengths of light to target specific skin concerns. This treatment is designed to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, improve skin texture and tone, and treat acne and hyperpigmentation. LED light therapy is a popular facial treatment in Turkey because it is gentle, effective, and requires no downtime.
High Frequency Facials in Turkey
High frequency facials are a type of facial treatment that uses a low-level electrical current to stimulate collagen production, improve circulation, and promote lymphatic drainage. This non-invasive treatment is becoming increasingly popular in Turkey and is available at many beauty salons and clinics across the country.
During a high frequency facial, a high frequency electrical current is applied to the skin which increases blood flow and infuses skin cells with oxygen.
One of the key benefits of high frequency facials is their ability to kill bacteria on the skin. This makes them an effective treatment for acne-prone skin, as the electrical current can help to reduce inflammation and redness caused by acne. Even after just one treatment, many patients notice a visible difference.
High frequency facials are also a great option for those looking to improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. The electrical current can help to stimulate collagen production, which can lead to firmer, more youthful-looking skin.
The cost of a facial in Turkey
The cost of a facial in Turkey varies depending on the type of facial and the location of the clinic. However, in general, the prices are significantly lower compared to other countries.
In 2023, a 90-minute facial in Istanbul, including high frequency acne treatment, cost me 650 TL ($24 USD). This compares to salons in countries like the US and Australia which typically charge around $80 USD (2,200 TL) for the same facial.
Do hammams in Turkey typically include facial treatments?
A Turkish hammam experience includes a good scrubbing to remove dead skin cells from your body; however, this is just for your body, not your face. If you are wanting a facial, be sure to ask as many hammams offer these as an extra.
Preparing for your facial in Turkey
Before getting a facial in Turkey (or anywhere, for that matter) there are a few things you need to keep in mind.
1. Avoid Certain Treatments
It’s recommended to avoid certain treatments before getting a facial, such as chemical peels, laser treatments, and waxing. These treatments can make your skin more sensitive and increase the risk of irritation during your facial.
2. Avoid Sun Exposure
It’s important to avoid sun exposure before and after your facial, as this can increase the risk of skin damage and irritation. This is especially important if you are getting your facial in summer when the temperature can reach 40 degrees Celsius (104 Farenheit) along the Turkey’s south coast. Beauticians in Turkey suggest to wear sunscreen with SPF 50 and avoid prolonged sun exposure for at least 24 hours before your facial.
3. Hydrate and Moisturize
Drinking plenty of water and moisturizing your skin can help prepare it for your facial. Hydrated skin is more plump and elastic, making it easier for the beautician to perform the facial. Additionally, moisturizing your skin regularly can help maintain its health and prevent dryness and irritation.
What about after the facial?
Post-Facial Care and Maintenance
After getting a facial in Turkey, it is important to take proper care of your skin to maintain the results and prevent any negative reactions. Here are some tips for post-facial care and maintenance:
1. Avoid Sun Exposure
Direct sun exposure can damage your skin and undo the benefits of your facial. It is recommended to avoid sun exposure for at least 24 hours after your facial. If you must go outside, wear a hat and apply sunscreen.
2. Keep Your Skin Hydrated
Facials can sometimes leave your skin feeling dry. To keep your skin hydrated, drink plenty of water and apply a moisturizer regularly.
3. Avoid Harsh Products
Your skin may be sensitive after a facial, so it’s best to avoid using any harsh products or exfoliants for a few days. Stick to gentle cleansers and avoid any products that contain alcohol or fragrances.
4. Don’t Touch Your Face
Avoid touching your face as much as possible, as this can transfer bacteria and oil from your hands to your skin. Also, avoid picking at any pimples or blackheads, as this can cause scarring and further breakouts.
5. Follow Up with Your Beautician
Your beautician may recommend follow-up treatments or products to help maintain the results of your facial.
By following these post-facial care and maintenance tips, you can help ensure that your skin looks and feels its best after your facial in Turkey.
How to communicate with a Turkish beautician who doesn’t speak English
The first thing to do when you contact a beauty salon or skin clinic in Turkey is ask if there is anyone there who speaks English. Just because learning English is on the rise in Turkey doesn’t mean that everyone speaks it fluently.
If the answer is no, there are still ways you can bridge the language barrier. You can use Google Translate to set up a time and date for your appointment, and then to help you communicate with the beautician during the facial.
WhatsApp is popular in Turkey and most beauty salons and skin treatment clinics use it to communicate with their clients.
Just be aware that Google translate doesn’t always carry over 100% accurately. For my first facial in Turkey, I asked for a facial and the beautician scheduled me in for a lip and ‘moustache’ wax!
When I go to a beautician in Turkey, I translate any questions I have into Turkish before the appointment to avoid wasting time at the salon.
Words you’ll hear when getting a facial in Turkey
While speaking Turkish is certainly not needed to enjoy a facial in Turkey, it certainly helps to know a few words. Here are some of the most common words and phrases you are likely to encounter in a Turkish salon or skin clinic.
- Güzellik uzmanı- beautician
- Randevu- appointment
- Akne- acne
- Maske- mask
- Cildi- skin
- Nemlendirici- moisturiser
- Buhar- steam
- Masaj- massage
- Yüz- face
- I want a facial please?
Are Facials More Painful in Turkey?
The level of discomfort during a facial can vary depending on your type and the specific treatment being performed. For example, some people may experience more discomfort during extractions, while others may find that chemical peels are more uncomfortable.
Facials in Turkey are not considered to be more painful than in other countries. In fact, most people go to a facial appointment ready to relax and unwind, in addition to improving their skin.
I find that facials are high quality in Turkey, compared to other countries. They tend to be longer (90 minutes on average as compared to 30 minutes) and more thorough.
My beautician in Istanbul takes the time to steam my face to prepare for extraction, removes all blackheads, allows my face mask plenty of time to set and finishes with a relaxing face massage. It feels less rushed than facials I have had in other countries.
Although not everyone’s experience, I have personally found facials to be a little more painful in Turkey. Extraction seems to more rigorous and through in Turkey, which can be a little painful, but well worth the results I find.
If pain is something that concerns you, you can always let your beautician know if you experience any discomfort or pain. They can adjust the treatment so that you find it an enjoyable experience.
Overall, getting a facial in Turkey is a generally a great experience. Whether you treat yourself to a traditional hammam, choose microdermabrasion, chemical peels, LED light therapy, or another type of facial treatment, you can rest assured that you are in good hands with the experienced and knowledgeable beauticians and skin clinics in Turkey.
I’m a teacher and writer living abroad. I love languages, drinking lots of çay (tea) with friends, experiencing different cultures and going on adventures with my family.