I recently had the fortunate opportunity to receive the Collagen Boost Facial at Shizuka New York Day Spa. Shizuka Spa is a medical spa probably best known for its Geisha “poop facial” that was originated by spa owner, Shizuka Bernstein. I passed on the poop and decided to go for something more high-tech. The Collagen Boost Facial is a combination of microcurrent facial toning and Gentlewaves® LED therapy (Marta has a similar facial monthly). Per Shizuka Spa’s newsletter, the Collagen Boost Facial is “perfect even on the day of an important event,” so I was really looking forward to a treatment with no downtime.

When I arrived at Shizuka Spa, the calm atmosphere put me at ease right away. My esthetician, Takumi, complied with my preferences and was very gentle in her touch. Facial skin is delicate and I’m not a fan of heavy massage and tugging on my face, especially around the eyes. A basic facial involves cleansing, skin analysis, exfoliation, skin treatments (like extractions or microcurrent) and specialty masks per skin type and conditions. After facial cleansing, I received a pumpkin enzyme exfoliation mask. Enzymes are ideal for sensitive skin or if you don’t want any downtime as they gently remove only the dead skin cells, leaving the healthy cells alone (chemical peels and microdermabrasion are not so selective). I felt only the mildest tingling.

After exfoliation I received my first microcurrent treatment. I was interested in whether microcurrent would be of any benefit to me since my skin is fairly firm and I had been taught that microcurrent was for toning loose and sagging skin. I also wasn’t sure if I wanted electrical neuromuscular stimulation in my face but I’ve learned many biological processes are associated with electrical impulses and work in harmony with the body’s natural bioelectric currents. The treatment was performed in three phases, the last phase, employing “ionization.” Marta has previously reviewed an ionization device and wasn’t convinced of any results from the process. The treatment, particularly around the orbital area, was much needed and really very relaxing! She then placed a collagen-infused mask all over my face and neck.

The GentleWaves light therapy was the finishing touch and I received five flashes of the light intervals. The device has two large curved panels of lights that you place your face between. You close your eyes and a specific sequence of amber light intervals flashes for a few minutes. GentleWaves uses patented individual wavelengths through a process called photomodulation, causing quick collagen growth. The particular wavelengths (590 nanometers) were originally developed by NASA scientists in the 1980s for wound healing in space. Note that LED therapy is not the same as a photofacial, which uses thermal energy and is rather uncomfortable from what I hear. I’ve had GentleWaves therapy at my dermatologist’s office before and I love it because it’s quick - lasts only a few minutes - and painless!

Facials, massages and masks are all very relaxing and nice but I’m all about results so I was eager to look in the mirror after the treatment. I can genuinely say that my skin looked radiant. There was an inner glow that I hadn’t seen for some time. Despite my diligent skincare regimen, I admit to a lack of sleep for the last several weeks. Between moving into a new apartment and the recent holidays, there always seems to be a million things to do and I definitely haven’t been getting much beauty sleep. The most amazing transformation was around my eyes - I looked as though I had never missed an hour of sleep! Moreover, the redness around my nose that I had walked in with was completely erased. Doctors have found that GentleWaves is effective on reducing dilated superficial blood vessels - no kidding!

I’ve used different types of LED devices and light, mainly red for anti-aging (I even tried a Baby Quasar), but the amber waves have always given me the most instantaneous, definitive results. That was also the conclusion based on a peer-reviewed study of GentleWaves, published in the Journal of Drugs & Dermatology. (Note: I’ve tried both the handheld and the free-standing GentleWaves devices and have seen the best results with the larger, free-standing device.) However, a very convincing article on LED in Vogue begged to differ.

Regardless of the light color used, in my experience, the results of Gentlewaves LED therapy combined with microcurrent were certainly heightened from previous treatments of GentleWaves LED therapy alone. I’d consider microcurrent to be a preventative therapy as well as a corrective one, and I’m eager for my next treatment!

I’ll post an update on how long the effects of the facial last.