If I didn’t love and trust my esthetician Ildi Pekar, I would not have so readily subjected myself to being treated like a pin-cushion. There’s another reason why I let her spend ten minutes using on a dermaroller (a device that I have always found downright scary – on my face): it was part of an extraordinary treatment that involves stem cells, platinum, mini explosions, and sub zero temperatures. And to cut to the car chase, yes, it left my skin looking great.
The Stem Cell Platinum facial uses devices that Ildi has imported from Europe and Japan and the theory is that the dermarolling (I’ll go into the details in a moment) allows a potent combination of stem cells and platinum to penetrate the skin.
I have seen pictures of dermarolled patients who look as if a truck backed over them. Even the gentler at-home devices seem to be have designed for masochists. So it was with some trepidation that I went along with this treatment. The dermaroller used by Ildi has over 400 very, very tiny needles that prickle very distinctly and to the point of being uncomfortable, but I am happy to say that they didn’t shed one drop of blood.
Proponents of dermarolling
say that the advantage over chemical peeling is that it doesn't remove the epidermis. The needles do cause microscopic punctures, the skin perceives that it has undergone a trauma and it starts to produce collagen. Also, the punctured skin can more readily absorb active ingredients. And this is where the next stage (and the mini explosion) comes in.
A vial of 15 stem cells and platinum is placed on a machine and receives a charge strong enough to catapult the vial a into the air while dissipating the platinum into tiny molecules.
While I understand the stem cell
part (they signal in various ways to get cells to do things, such as repair damage), I do not fully understand the role of platinum. It is being used in cancer treatments as it has the ability, in certain chemical forms, to inhibit the division of living cells. This may mean that the platinum used in my facial may help my aging skin cells struggle on a bit longer. Platinum has also been tested
on animal skin and is thought to helpful in the treatment of “hyperproliferative skin diseases”.
The stem cell platinum combo is massaged into the skin and then a device the size of a small hairdryer cools the skin to minus four degrees Celsius. Surprisingly this feels cool and soothing rather than freezing. This phase closes the skin’s pores and locks in the serum. The final phase is a soothing mask followed by a little moisturizer.
The immediate effect is extremely impressive. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I looked a little rosy cheeked but not really red. My skin felt firm and plump. It looked amazing. Wow, I said. I was glowing and wrinkles around my mouth and chin, as well as crow’s feet had all but disappeared. After all that prickling and intense cold, it is likely that my skin was having a short-term response to the trauma by swelling a little.
By the end of the day, my skin was still wonderfully plump, but it was also redder - as if I'd caught the sun. It wasn't sore, but felt scratchy, for want of a better description.
The litmus test comes in a month when I can expect to see results from the stem cells and platinum. I’ll report back and tell you if I would be willing to pay for future sessions (they cost $375 and this one was complimentary). The number of treatments per year is limited to five – not just by budget, although this is certainly pricey, but because it is powerful stuff.