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The HydraFacial treatment (aka hydradermabrasion) has been gaining popularity in the spa industry and been featured in many trade publications. The HydraFacial was performed on the reality show The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. And while I don’t watch reality television (does CNBC count?), my research revealed the facial was a success at the housewives’ in-house spa party. The treatment was also demonstrated on the show The Doctors in an episode declaring water as the No.1 secret to living longer and looking younger. The facial has also been featured on various news channels as an effective anti-aging procedure.
The HydraFacial reportedly exfoliates while simultaneously hydrating skin and is known to be quick (approximately 15 minutes) and painless, usually with immediate, visible effects after one treatment. It is marketed as a specialized facial designed for all skin types, even sensitive skin (not rosacea), and treats a variety of skin issues, including acne (not cystic), fine lines and hyperpigmentation. There is no skin irritation or downtime and the smoothness and hydration should last five to seven days. A study conducted on the efficacy of hydradermabrasion (backed by the manufacturer, Edge Systems) reported clinical improvements to facial tone and texture, less dyschromia (skin discoloration) and fewer fine lines. Curious to see if the treatment lived up to the hype, I decided to try it out.
My HydraFacial was performed in the office of NY plastic surgeon, Dr. Amiya Prasad, who incidentally, has administered HydraFacials to the The Real Housewives of Jericho). As I was in a medical office and not a spa, I received a no-frills treatment, completed in less than 20 minutes. Timewise, the HydraFacial is an ideal procedure for me - I find it difficult to sit still through a manicure.
The HydraFacial is a serum-based resurfacing system administered via a trademarked machine. There is an assortment of proprietary serums consisting of AHA/BHA acids, antioxidants, peptides and vitamin-infused hyaluronic acid. The serums used during the facial depend on skin type and conditions. The procedure employs two types of exfoliation: a gentle version of crystal-free microdermabrasion and a mild, pneumatic chemical peel. Skin is hydrated throughout the facial with water infused with antioxidants and vitamins dispensed from a wand connected to the system. Each step in the facial uses a different HydroPeel tip attached to the wand. The resurfacing tip is placed directly on the skin’s surface and physically exfoliates the skin while simultaneously delivering active serums to chemically exfoliate. Manual extractions are not performed. Similar to microdermabrasion, there is a vacuum motion from the wand that is used throughout the facial with the exception of the last step, which is purely hydration.
Overall, I enjoyed the HydraFacial and was happy with the results. My face was incredibly smooth, soft and well hydrated. There was no downtime, and I was able to go straight to a meeting right after the facial. It does improve skin texture and I found the exfoliation to be gentle, yet effective. I felt my at-home products also penetrated better after the treatment. The hydration from the facial lasted for a few days - longer than after a traditional facial. However, I think it would take several intense treatments to have an effect on acne, fine lines, or hyperpigmentation. It’s likely that even sensitive skin types can benefit from this facial, but I believe the results would largely depend on the skills and experience of the person administering the treatment. Hence, I would recommend having the treatment at a spa or doctor’s office that has been using the system for some time. If you’d like to try the HydraFacial, locate a provider near you.