How This Celeb-Faved Facial Erased My Smile Lines in 30 Minutes
You don't have to be a beauty editor to know that there's no shortage of treatments that promise to erase wrinkles and fine lines. Thanks to technology, we no longer have to zap ourselves with radiation or slather on snake oil creams to achieve smoother skin — rather, we can turn to a whole host of effective and non-invasive treatments, like the Hydrafacial.
When one dermatologist recently suggested the facial as part of a seasonal skincare routine, I knew I had to give it a try. Despite gulping up over eight glasses of water a day, using my trusted moisturizers, and regularly using blackhead pore strips, my spring skin was still dry and dull. Needless to say, I was ready for the skincare upgrade — so I cleared my schedule one Saturday morning to experience the Hydrafacial first-hand at Rox Spa in Beverly Hills.
How the HydraFacial Works
The four-step hydradermabrasion treatment takes 30 minutes and "can improve everything from skin texture and tone to conditions such as acne," says board-certified dermatologist Dr. Arash Akhavan, MD, FAAD, founder and owner of The Dermatology & Laser Group. "One of the best things about HydraFacial MD treatments is that they are suitable for all skin types, and even the most sensitive skin can benefit from the hydrating ingredients," he says. "Our clients love that they can get right back to work or their social life feeling and looking refreshed."
Ranging from $150 to $300 depending on add-ons (like LED light therapy and lymphatic drainage), the customizable facial begins with cleansing and exfoliation using Activ-4, combination of lactic acid and glucosamine. This softens and conditions the skin and preps it for the next three steps.
Next comes the skin resurfacing: the second step is an acid peel that sloughs off dead skin cells to cleanse and exfoliate even deeper without being too aggressive. The third step involves an extraction device that gently suctions out (rather than squeeze) sebum from the skin; a solution called Beta-HD is used to soften impurities and make it easier to suck out the gunk.
Finally, the skin is detoxed using a "super serum" called Antiox-6, which contains hyaluronic acid, vitamins A and E, white tea extract, horse chestnut extract, and rosemary extract. All of these ingredients combine to moisturize the skin, protect the skin from free radicals, and replenish the skin's natural elasticity.
My Experience and Results
I have combination skin with minor oiliness and dryness and that's somewhat sensitive, and the HydraFacial still felt pretty gentle on my skin (perhaps it's the years of getting pampered with facials). There's something strangely satisfying about getting peels and extractions — especially when the results speak for themselves. Compared to other treatments where the esthetician squeezed the junk out of my pores, this facial's suction removal was unsurprisingly more comfortable and just as effective.
During my treatment, the facialist added the special Dermabuilder concoction, an optional specialty treatment that contains peptides to smooth out fine lines and wrinkles, even out skin tone and texture, and boost elasticity.
Once the facial was over, my skin immediately felt rejuvenated — kinda like that "massage-drunk" effect, except I truly felt like my face was glowing. And after stepping out into daylight and inspecting my post-facial skin in my car mirror, the first things I noticed where my pores (which appeared smaller) and my smile lines (which were now essentially non-existent).
There was zero down time or sun sensitivity, and I was able to carry on with my day as usual — no wonder celebrities like Kate Winslet and Evan Rachel Wood swear by this facial before walking the red carpet. I even ditched the pore strips from my weekly routine for about a month and skipped the full face of foundation in favor of just my SPF 50+ powder.
At a starting price of $150, I plan on treating myself to a HydraFacial every season. Since I found that the Dermabuilder's peptides were especially effective in treating my minor (but still noticeable) fine lines, you can bet I'll be adding on that step the next time around and giving the lymphaic drainage option a try, too.