From the bitter weather of winter to the scorching heat of summer, your skin is always susceptible to congested pores, irritation and dryness. So how do you get that year-long glow especially after months of relying on a stash of face creams and your trusty humidifier?
Enter the hydrafacial, a treatment that promises a lustrous complexion even in the face of excessive skin dryness, harsh weather and aging. Endorsed by dermatologists and celebrities (Amy Poehler, Kate Winslet, just to mention a few), hydrafacials are one of the most popular in-office facial treatments offered by the Hydrafacial® company.
For those who still have no clue what hydrafacial is, here’s everything you need to know:
What Exactly Is Hydrafacial?
Hydrafacial is a medical-grade facial treatment that not only clears pores but also hydrates the skin. Glamour described it as “a peel, microdermabrasion and hydrating mask in one.” Unlike your everyday facial, this isn’t done by hand. Rather, the aesthetician uses a medical-grade device to extract debris out of your pores, moisturize your skin and exfoliate it.
What Hydrafacial Does to Your Skin
A hydrafacial treatment can boost the appearance of your skin in several ways. Some of the many benefits include a clear complexion and brighter, plump skin. It can also improve age-related skin issues by reducing wrinkles and fine lines, increasing firmness, reducing enlarged pores and spots, as well as evening the skin tone and texture.
Performed by a certified hydrafacial aesthetician, the treatment involves several steps:
Here, a metal suction device is moved along your lymphatic system to improve the lymphatic circulation in your skin. This not only removes toxins but also improves blood flow, which provides the extra oxygen needed to invigorate your skin.
In this step, an exfoliating vacuum-like tip is gently passed over your skin to remove dead skin cells, while simultaneously infusing a revitalizing serum into your skin to hydrate and protect it. The serum ingredients are customized to your skin type.
For deep, into-the-pores cleaning, a salicylic or glycolic solution is pressed over your skin. This decongests the pores and brightens your skin. On oily skin, the aesthetician might use a higher concentration of up to 15% salicylic acid, which may sting a little.
During extraction, the aesthetician uses a vortex-extraction nozzle to gently draw out blackheads, whiteheads, and any oil that might be trapped in the pores. This is done through a water and suction treatment. This process will help make your pores tiny and tight.
The final step of the hydrafacial treatment involves applying a nourishing serum to the skin. The serum drenches your skin with collagen-supporting peptides, protecting antioxidants and hydrating hyaluronic acid. It leaves your skin feeling enviably soft and plump as well as smoothens out the fine lines caused by aging.
Fully customizable, the hydrafacial can infuse different products into the skin to target specific skin concerns, and this is one of the reasons it's so popular. "It (hydrafacial) comes highly requested by both men and women before events like weddings or red-carpet events because it delivers that extra glow with no downtime,” celebrity dermatologist Dr. Shereene Idriss told Allure.com.
Hydrafacial Benefits for Skin
The hydrafacial treatment can help you achieve your goals and leave you with a healthier, visibly glowing skin. Here are some of the ways you can benefit from the treatment:
1. Provides Instant Skin Rejuvenation
In one of his studies, leading plastic surgeon Bruce M. Freedman, MD, FACS, who boasts over 40 publications in medical textbooks and journals, set out to examine the effectiveness of hydrafacial treatment in skin rejuvenation.
Freedman’s study focused specifically on the effectiveness of topical antioxidant application in reversing the skin changes associated with photoaging. And with the topical antioxidant application as one of the key steps in hydrafacial treatment, his findings could not be more relevant! In his findings, he concluded that the application of polyphenolic antioxidants to facial skin caused histological and clinical changes that reverse photoaging. The introduction of polyphenolic antioxidants to facial skin correlated with an increase in fibroblast density, collagen deposition, and papillary dermal hyalinization.
In other words, getting a hydrafacial treatment can effectively rejuvenate your skin, and reverse some of the issues caused by aging. Woo hoo!
2. Reduces Hyperpigmentation
The hydrafacial treatment is also an effective, non-invasive way to reduce facial skin hyperpigmentation. Freedman’s findings not only support the claim that the hydrafacial treatment has a brightening effect but also hold that it reduces pore size and fine lines.
3. Extracts and Exfoliates Your Skin With Zero Downtime
"HydraFacial hits the sweet spot — it's more than a basic spa facial but less than a laser treatment," Dr. Ellen Marmur – an associate clinical professor at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York City – explains to InStyle.com.
Despite being a rare unicorn when it comes to no-downtime offerings, the hydrafacial treatment provides instant results with no residual peeling or irritation. This and the fact that the procedure lasts less than an hour makes the hydrafacial a great option if you’re looking for a way to give your skin that extra radiance and glow before a big event.
4. Provides Consistent Results
Whether you get your hydrafacial at a swanky plastic surgeon's office or a small suburban strip-mall medical spa, you’ll still end up with a plump, more attractive skin. That is, as long as your local service provider uses the right equipment.
“The hydrafacial treatment isn’t as technician-dependent as other types of facials,” explains Dr. Shereene Idriss. As such, you can count on the treatment to consistently deliver the desired results regardless of the skill level of your technician.
Equally consistent is the treatment's safety factor. With many traditional facials, outcomes vary from one patient to another. Some people can get quite inflamed or even scar due to overly aggressive techniques. With the hydrafacial, you’re assured of consistency when it comes to safety and results.
5. Can Help Clear Acne
One of the leading causes of acne is the build-up of excess oil and dead cells on your skin. Through cleansing, exfoliation and extraction, the hydrafacial treatment removes these two acne-causing culprits and effectively prevents breakouts. It also treats oily skin, which is another major cause of acne breakouts.
For those already struggling with acne, the extraction phase of the treatment gently draws out whiteheads and blackheads and leaves the skin acne-free. The fact that the process is fully customizable to a patient needs is also a huge advantage since your aesthetician can introduce specific ingredients to the serum to target acne breakouts.
Prepping Before and After the Hydrafacial
You don't need any preparation before your hydrafacial treatment. The aesthetician takes care of that! However, after the treatment, experts recommend avoiding activities that make you sweat for about a day. You should also avoid getting another exfoliation for up to three days, as this can cause some irritation. You can apply makeup almost immediately after the treatment, but the results will be even better if you let your skin breathe for the rest of the day.
Hydrafacial vs. Microdermabrasion
Microdermabrasion is an alternative method of exfoliation where the epidermis is removed using a wand and the resultant skin particles vacuumed. Compared to microdermabrasion, hydrafacial is gentler on your skin, and thus, has fewer side effects than its counterpart – which can cause redness, sun sensitivity, bruising around the eyes and skin dryness.
Additionally, while the hydrafacial treatment has no recovery time, microdermabrasion’s redness can last several hours. The hydrafacial also allows more room for treatment personalization, and the hydration penetrates deeper.
Side Effects of Hydrafacial Skin Treatments
Hydrafacial has no side effects, except for a little redness immediately after the treatment, which quickly subsides. If you have sensitive skin, there's a small chance that you might experience some irritation from customized serums. If your skin is highly reactive, be sure to mention that during the consultation so your aesthetician can know the ingredients to avoid.
Who Should and Shouldn’t Use this Treatment?
This treatment works for virtually all ages and skin types. That said, there are a few exceptions. “Those with sunburns, active rashes and rosacea, as well as pregnant patients, should avoid this treatment,” Dr. Marmur told InStyle.com.
How Long Should You Wait Between Hydrafacial Treatments?
According to Dr. Marmur, the optimal frequency for hydrafacial treatments is once every four to six weeks. With this frequency, you’ll allow your skin to soak up all the benefits of the treatment before getting another one.
How Much Does Hydrafacial Cost?
This varies depending on your location and service provider, but you should expect a price range of $150-$300 per session.
For those thinking, “Why not just the buy the machine and do it at home?” you might want to reconsider. First, that’ll set you back by about $20,000. Second, even if you buy the machine, you might not know how to properly perform the procedure or mix the ingredients in the right proportions. To avoid potential injuries and expensive purchases, get your hydrafacial treatment from a certified medspa or skin clinic.
Hydrafacial at Home
While you need expert hands to perform the whole hydrafacial procedure, there are things you can do at home to keep your skin purified and glowing in between treatments. Think of it this way: working out with a personal trainer once a week will help you stay active and trim, but you won’t see the results as quickly nor as consistently unless you engage in some exercise and commit to a wholesome diet in between the private sessions. The hydrafacial (or any other occasional dermatological treatment) is like having that personal trainer, while at-home care is akin to eating lean protein and vegetables and lifting weights the rest of the week.
To complement your hydrafacial treatments, you can use a clarifying product like an activated charcoal mask to extract oil and dirt out of your pores. If congestion is a primary issue, you can always use a daily cleanser or gentle scrub that contains a beta hydroxy acid (e.g. salicylic acid), which will work to keep your skin free of pore-clogging particulates on a regular basis.
In addition to keeping your pores clean, you can take your skin care to the next level with Taut Hydrate, a high-potency, plant-based daily supplement that boasts hyaluronic acid and grape seed extract to plump and drench your skin in hydration (it works like a moisture magnet!). This dynamic duo works harmoniously to improve firmness and smoothness while visibly reducing signs of fine lines and hyperpigmentation. Taut Hydrate is especially useful if you struggle with dehydration, dryness and sagging.
If you’d like to amp up the radiance and really see some visible transformation (example smooth out your wrinkles, lines or lift sagging skin), you can use Taut’s Ultimate Transformation Program, which features our signature consumable Premium Collagen Advanced Formula Drinks, Taut Hydrate and Collagen Masks—together which supercharge your skin collagen production and hydration levels for more visible, youthful and healthier skin.
This trio helps tackle virtually all visible skin issues (works on your face and body), including fine lines, wrinkles, sagging, hyperpigmentation, acne scars, dryness and crepeyness.
So whether or not you invest in regular hydrafacials, there is always a clear path to a glowing complexion with a flawless, youthful sheen. Think of Taut as your DIY secret on the red carpet—even if you couldn’t get your celebrity facial treatment!