The concept of layering—or what some call “stacking”—your skincare isn’t new. After all, we’re technically stacking products every time we cleanse, tone, and moisturize (and exfoliate, and prime, and powder…). We consider Korean women, for example, as the ultimate masters at skincare stacking—just take a look at their 10-step skincare system for proof. But stacking your facial treatments, however, is a different story.
We spoke with Kerry Benjamin, esthetician and creator of her eponymous spa’s signature Stacked Skincare™ treatment, and asked her the benefits of doubling (or tripling) up your skin treatments.
Keep flipping to find out what exactly skincare stacking is and if it can change your skin!
What Is It?
Other than having a catchy name, what exactly does stacking your skincare entail? Benjamin explains that it means you are combining two or more different modalities (or rather, treatments) to maximize their effectiveness—in other words, layering your treatments so they are more effective.
For example, instead of going in for a microdermabrasion, then getting a peel a month later, why not get a microdermabrasion and peel in one treatment? Benjamin says combining multiple treatments in one visit has a number of skin benefits—keep flipping to see what they are.
“By combining various modalities, clients get a deeper exfoliation and corrective ingredients are able to penetrate more deeply,” Benjamin says. So that miracle serum your esthetician uses after your monthly facial? So much more potent when used after stacking. Benjamin explains exactly how it works: “Using different modalities tricks your skin into healing itself and regenerating new cells, as well as sloughs off dead cells faster and more effectively,” she says.
But doing all of these procedures right after one another can’t be good for those with sensitive skin, right? Considering chemical peels require ample recovery time, wouldn’t a peel, microdermabrasion, and microneedling leave your skin looking red and raw? Benjamin says it all depends on the procedures you choose to use. At her spa, she uses micro-needling, dermaplaning, light chemical peels, SilkPeel™ microdermabrasion, and face masks—all of which she says are gentle enough to use in conjunction. Other places may incorporate lasers and IPL, which can be more invasive and require downtime. Always ask your dermatologist or esthetician about recovery time, if you’re not sure.
We asked her to share three skincare stacking combinations based on specific skin types—keep reading to see what they are!
Stack For: Oily Skin
For those with oily skin, Benjamin recommends combining dermaplaning, a microdermabrasion with a salicyclic acid serum, and a Jessner acid peel. “Dermaplaning will remove dead skin, and most importantly, the fine vellus hair that can trap oils and cause breakouts,” she says. “The salicylic acid and peel are an important combination for additional exfoliation—they’ll kill the bacteria-causing acne and even out your skin’s tone and texture.”
Stack For: Dry or Mature Skin
If you have dry or mature skin, it’s all about adding more hydration. Benjamin suggests combining dermaplaning, microdermabrasion with hyaluronic acid, micro-needling using custom serums, a light TCA peel, and a hydrating mask (we like the Ginseng Therapy Moisture Mask ($36) by Ling).
Stack For: Sensitive Skin
And finally, if you have sensitive skin, Benjamin says that micro-needling, a chemical pel, and hydrating mask will be the most gentle procedure because all three are non-abrasive.
If you’re intrigued by stacking but aren’t ready to undergo three or four procedures at once, you can apply the concept with your skincare products, too. For example, why not stack your face masks? Start with a resurfacing mask, like Tata Harper’s Limited Edition Soothing Apricot Resurfacing Mask ($65), then follow with a clarifying mask (we like the Rare Earth Pore Cleansing Mask ($23) by Kiehl’s), then finish with a serum-soaked mask, like Hada Labo’s Facial Mask ($14). The resurfacing and clarifying masks will exfoliate and prep your skin to receive all of the glow-boosting benefits of your last mask. Genius, if we do say so ourselves.
One last note—we recommend stacking your at-home treatments once or twice a week at most. Everything in moderation!
What do you think—are you intrigued by skincare stacking? Have you ever done a DIY skincare stack? Tell us below!