- HydraFacial treatments use hydro microdermabrasion to gently hydrate and rejuvenate the skin.
- These treatments can brighten the complexion, reduce the appearance of fine lines and large pores, and treat some forms of acne.
- HydraFacials cost more than some alternative treatments, but carry little to no risk of side effects and are safe for sensitive skin.
HydraFacials are gentle skin resurfacing treatments with rejuvenating effects. HydraFacial benefits address such concerns as acne, clogged pores, scarring and fine lines.
HydraFacial treatments do not penetrate the skin’s layers as deeply as other skin resurfacing procedures, such as chemical peels. These treatments are therefore safe for people of all skin types and tones, rarely cause side effects and require no downtime. However, the effects of HydraFacials tend to be less dramatic, and may require multiple sessions to become apparent.
What Is a HydraFacial?
A HydraFacial is a relatively new form of skin rejuvenation that uses jets of water to gently cleanse and exfoliate skin, resulting in improved suppleness and texture. As part of the procedure, a hydrating serum is applied, which provides additional rejuvenating benefits.
A HydraFacial treatment typically consists of three steps. During the first step, jets of water gently exfoliate dead skin cells and loosen any trapped impurities. The second step involves the application of an acid peel solution for deeper cleansing and to loosen accumulations of dirt and debris that clog pores.
During the third and final step, a vacuum attachment draws out any remaining impurities, and the hydrating serum is applied. This serum is designed to leave the skin refreshed and rejuvenated, and is custom-tailored with a specific combination of ingredients suited for your skin type and the condition being treated.
Can it be used on all areas of the body?
Yes, it can; this treatment is very gentle and offers consistent results.
While Hydrafacials are most frequently performed on facial skin, they can also treat other areas of the body. They are sometimes performed on the back to treat acne in that area, and are also commonly used to address signs of aging on the hands and arms.
Improves Skin Tone
Hydrafacials can effectively reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation and even out irregularities in skin tone. Dull skin is often caused by the buildup of dirt and dead or damaged skin cells. The exfoliating action of this treatment buffs away this layer of impurities, revealing the brighter, clearer skin beneath.
Many people report noticeable improvements to their skin tone immediately after one single treatment, however continued treatments are necessary in order to maintain these results.
Results are typically evident for several weeks following the first treatment. However, without follow-up treatments, the skin will typically revert to a duller and slightly uneven complexion after one month as dead skin cells and other impurities build up once again.
Clears Clogged Pores
The acid peel solution that is applied as part of a HydraFacial treatment functions to dislodge and partially dissolve comedones – the accumulation of dirt, excess sebum and dead skin cells trapped inside pores. The vacuum suction attachment then draws out these impurities, deep cleaning and unclogging pores.
Anecdotal reports suggest that HydraFacial treatments are effective at clearing clogged pores, and that results are often clearly visible after one session. However, maintaining a carefully structured skin care routine is necessary to maintain clear pores between sessions.
Pores should remain clear for 5–7 days following a HydraFacial treatment. Those with extremely oily skin who are especially prone to clogged pores and breakouts may benefit from more frequent sessions, perhaps once every 2–3 weeks.
Scars form as the result of a buildup of collagen that develops during the wound-healing process. The body can produce too much collagen too quickly, and this sometimes causes the collagen to accumulate unevenly.
As a result, scar tissue often appears slightly raised or depressed in relation to the surrounding skin. Scar tissue also typically contains less melanin than undamaged skin, and will appear lighter in color.
The resurfacing effect of Hydrafacial treatments smooths the skin, softening the edges of scars and reducing their appearance. The increase in collagen production stimulated by the procedure also helps to add volume to depressed scar tissue, making these scars less visible.
Shallow depressed scarring can be dramatically reduced with a series of 3–6 Hydrafacial treatments carried out at monthly intervals. Mild improvements may be noticeable as early as the first treatment.
Deeper depressed scars and raised scars, however, are unlikely to be significantly treated by Hydrafacials, and are better addressed by other resurfacing procedures that penetrate the layers of skin more deeply. These include dermabrasion and laser treatments.
Hyperpigmentation is a condition characterized by the appearance of scattered areas of skin that are darker than the surrounding skin. These dark patches can be caused by a number of factors, including acne, hormone imbalances, sun damage and aging. They may appear in a variety of shapes and sizes, ranging from small, round spots to large, irregular patches.
HydraFacial treatments reduce the appearance of hyperpigmented areas by exfoliating dark, discolored layers of surface skin. By increasing cellular turnover, treatments encourage the growth of new skin that is more evenly pigmented.
Patients often notice slight changes to hyperpigmented areas as early as their first or second procedure. However, for more dramatic results, multiple HydraFacial sessions are required.
Clearing hyperpigmented areas typically requires monthly treatments over the course of a six-month period. Severe hyperpigmentation may only be fully cleared after one year of monthly sessions.
Reduces the Appearance of Large Pores
Although it is not possible to shrink pores, it is possible to reduce their appearance. Pores often appear enlarged or dilated as the result of accumulated dead skin cells, sebum, dirt and other impurities. Clean, unclogged pores appear smaller. As such, Hydrafacials are able to reduce the appearance of large pores through deep cleansing.
HydraFacial procedures can reduce the appearance of large pores after one session for some patients. Maintaining the best possible results, however, will require regular monthly sessions to ensure that pores continue to remain clear.
Treats Some Types of Acne
The exfoliating and pore-cleansing effects of HydraFacials can help treat mild-to-moderate forms of comedonal acne, such as blackheads. Other more severe forms, such as inflammatory acne, take root below the surface skin, and will not be effectively treated by this surface treatment.
However, the hydrating serum applied during the last step of the procedure can be formulated to help reduce inflammation and ease some of the discomfort that accompanies more serious breakouts.
When using Hydrafacial treatments to address comedonal acne, maintaining clear skin will require regular ongoing appointments. Monthly sessions will ensure facial skin remains free of sebum and debris buildup, minimizing the chances of breakouts. For those with especially oily, acne-prone skin and more severe comedonal acne, one session every 2–3 weeks will yield better results.
Those with severe inflammatory acne that manifests as pustules, papules, cysts and nodules are unlikely to benefit from HydraFacial treatments. People who experience these forms of acne may need to make changes to their skin care regimen or start a prescription acne medication before they can experience the full benefits of a HydraFacial.
Can Hydrafacial treat acne scars?
The exfoliating and collagen-increasing effects of Hydrafacial treatments can effectively smooth and reduce the appearance of superficial boxcar scars – depressed acne scars with defined edges. However, the resurfacing effect of Hydrafacial treatments does not penetrate skin tissue layers deeply enough to effectively address more severe acne scarring, such as icepick scars and rolling scars.
Mild-to-moderate acne scarring can typically be addressed with monthly appointments carried out over a 4–6 month period.
Reduces Fine Lines and Wrinkles
Ongoing HydraFacial treatments can smooth the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. The exfoliation process involved in the procedure removes layers of thin, dry, aging skin and stimulates collagen production.
The combination of new collagen and the nourishing ingredients present in the hydrating serum leads to textural improvements in the regenerated tissues. This results in smoother, firmer and more youthful-looking skin.
It’s possible to see immediate or next-day results when using HydraFacials for anti-aging purposes. However, ongoing appointments will help maintain these results and slow down the development of further fine lines and wrinkles.
Ongoing HydraFacial treatment for reducing fine lines and wrinkles should begin with monthly sessions carried out over a six-month period. After this initial period, as results begin to become more apparent, the time between sessions can be extended to two months.
How Long Do the Effects of HydraFacials Last?
With ongoing treatments scheduled one month apart, many people see continued improvements in skin tone, and a continual decrease in acne severity and appearance in pore size. For others, results may last for only one or two weeks after each treatment.
The reduction of fine lines and wrinkles typically lasts from several weeks to one month after the first Hydrafacial treatment. Continued treatment will lead to longer-lasting and more dramatic results over time.
As superficial scarring and hyperpigmentation only affect tissues near the skin’s surface, these conditions are likely to show permanent improvement as a result of Hydrafacial treatments, and can eventually be eliminated completely.
Potential Side Effects and Contradictions
There are virtually no side effects to HydraFacial treatments. A small number of patients may experience slight redness immediately following the procedure, but this will subside within a few hours.
However, certain pre-existing conditions may increase a person’s risk of experiencing irritation, including:
- Shellfish allergies, as one of the solutions used in the treatment is made from shellfish
- Chronic rosacea
- Open wounds on the treatment area
- Active, inflamed acne breakout
People experiencing these conditions are advised to avoid HydraFacial treatments.
Some people may choose to consider other treatments due to the lack of long-lasting results, the necessity of multiple treatments or the high price, which is typically $150–300 per session. For more extensive treatment areas, sessions can be even more expensive; a full back resurfacing may cost up to $650.
Microdermabrasion uses either a stream of fine crystals or a diamond-tipped handpiece to exfoliate the skin. Although these treatments tend to be more cost-effective at around $75–$200 per treatment, they are abrasive and more likely to cause irritation. As such, they are poorly suited for those with sensitive skin.
Microneedling treatments involve the use of a small hand-held roller device lined with tiny needles (called a dermaroller) to make small punctures in the skin. These tiny wounds activate the body’s cellular regeneration process and increase collagen production.
This form of treatment can safely and effectively smooth the appearance of scarring and signs of aging. However, it is less effective at addressing acne than HydraFacial procedures, and is more likely to cause irritation. Although treatments vary greatly in price depending on the provider, they also tend to be quite expensive, ranging from $100–$700 per session.
Chemical peels vary in strength from light to deep. They offer many of the same benefits as a HydraFacial, including the potential to treat acne and reduce scarring, fine lines and hyperpigmentation.
However, chemical peels are much more abrasive than HydraFacial treatments. Depending on the strength of the peel, they can cause severe irritation and may require significant downtime.
Chemical peels vary widely in terms of pricing, ranging from $100–$600 on average. Deeper chemical peels provide dramatic results, but have significant downtime and cost far more – as much as $3000–$6000 per session.
The HydraFacial is a nonirritating skin resurfacing procedure that’s suitable for all skin types, including sensitive skin. HydraFacial treatments address scarring, hyperpigmentation and acne. They also restore a youthful look to the skin, plump and hydrate, and reduce the appearance of large pores.
In addition to being safe for most people, this treatment offers a number of strong potential benefits with virtually no side effects other than some redness shortly after treatment. However, the gentle action of the procedure also means that more sessions are needed to provide greater results. For more serious concerns—such as deep scars and wrinkles, and severe acne—HydraFacial treatments are not likely to provide visible improvements.
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