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HydraFacial; Gimmick or Glorious Skin Treatment?

Fact: Getting a facial is one of the most relaxing experiences ever and it can have some seriously cool skin care benefits. Those blackheads you need gone, ASAP? Your esthetician can (and will!) extract those bad boys right off your face. Dealing with dryness? Having a hydrating face mask put on while you get a relaxing hand, neck and arm massage could provide you with some much-needed moisture and TLC. Need some serious exfoliation? A skincare expert can use a pro-level peel that’s perfect for shedding all that dead skin.

But what if we told you that there’s a type of facial that blows all other spa treatments out of the water? We’re talking about the HydraFacial, which happens to be a celebrity favorite.

Keep reading for everything you need to know about the HydraFacial — from how it works to what the benefits are — so you can determine whether or not it’s right for you.

What’s the HydraFacial?

Although it has “facial” in its name, the HydraFacial is quite different than traditional facials and other popular skin care treatments. It’s a patented brand that’s based on a specific machine, and this facial technology that’s unique to HydraFacial utilizes a scrub-free type of exfoliation known as hydradermabrasion.

What’s the difference between HydraFacial and microdermabrasion?

During a microderm abrasion treatment, an esthetician will use a hand-held device with a special tip that “sands” your skin and physically removes dead skin cells from your face. During a hydradermabrasion treatment, on the other hand, your facialist will use a device that literally suctions impurities off of your skin. The same machine also pumps serums onto your face at high speeds, and this helps to exfoliate, moisturize, and infuse your skin with antioxidants.

Unlike microdermabrasion, which may leave your skin looking red for up to 24 hours post-treatment, the HydraFacial shouldn’t do that, since there’s no physical skin resurfacing happening. That’s especially good news for those with sensitive skin. (Although you may still have redness for up to an hour post-HydraFacial.) Because the hydradermabrasion technique isn’t as abrasive, it doesn’t do quite as good a job at exfoliating as microdermabrasion does.

What’s it like to get a HydraFacial treatment?

A HydraFacial treatment can take as little as 30 minutes or as long as 90, depending on the spa and esthetician you see. The HydraFacial device has different nozzle, aka “tips,” each of which have a spiral design and offer airtight suction to cleanse, exfoliate, extract pores, and deliver antioxidants. A different “tip” is used for each step in the treatment. There are four steps total.

The first step is Vortex Exfoliation. During this part of the HydraFacial, your skin will be cleansed and exfoliated gently. This HydraFacial “tip” removes dead skin cells from the surface of your skin to reveal fresh, healthy skin cells underneath.

Step two is the Vortex Peel. This tip contains a combination of glycolic acid and salicylic acid for deeper exfoliation. (Acids chemically exfoliate, meaning they break down dead skin cell buildup without the need to use a harsh, physical scrub.)

The Vortex Extraction is step three. This HydraFacial tip suctions out blackheads and any other gunk that’s clogging up your pores.

Finally, step four is Vortex-Fusion. During the last part of a HydraFacial, this tip will pump a serum into your complexion that features good-for-your skin ingredients like antioxidants, peptides, and hyaluronic acid.

How should you care for your skin before a HydraFacial?

It’s a good idea to avoid using products with retinol, glycolic acid, and salicylic acid for 48 hours before a HydraFacial. You can get a HydraFacial five days after Botox and two weeks after other injectables, and if you’re planning any laser treatments you should get a HydraFacial at least 24 hours before them. If you have had any laser treatments recently, you should wait a full month before getting a HydraFacial.

What about afterwards?

After a HydraFacial treatment, avoid spending time out in the sun for 48 hours (exfoliation increases your skin’s sun sensitivity), and make sure you wear an SPF 30 sunscreen before you go outside. You should also avoid intense workouts for 24 hours post-HydraFacial. You can start using topical prescriptions 24 hours after a HydraFacial.

What benefits can I expect?

After your first HydraFacial, you can expect your skin to look more hydrated and smooth for about a week. You’ll like see more even and radiant skin after one treatment, which is why celebs often get HydraFacials before red carpet events. Monthly HydraFacials may help minimize the look of wrinkles and dark spots as well as clear congested pores and balance oily skin.

by Christina Heiser

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