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Everything You Need To Know About HydraFacials


Over the past few decades, facials have improved tenfold thanks to advances in technology. They're no longer full of harsh products and painful extractions. Instead, dermatologists are taking skincare into the 21st century by using light therapy, lasers, and cutting-edge tools. Case in point: the uber-popular HydraFacial, an innovative, science-forward facials that's become a skincare obsession.

"HydraFacials are one of our most popular procedures," says Arash Akhavan, MD, a dermatologist at Dermatology and Laser Group in New York City. "The quick, no downtime procedure combines elements of microabrasion, a facial, and a light chemical peel to leave skin more hydrated, with a more even skin tone and texture, and with less congestion in pores."

So, what is a HydraFacial exactly?

HydraFacials use a patented medical-grade device with vortex technology that can cleanse, exfoliate, and extract impurities while simultaneously infusing proprietary serums into skin. First, a specialized tip is placed on the HydraFacial wand. It cleanses and exfoliates the skin, lifting away dead skin cells and sucking out excess sebum. Just this step alone is enough to help skin look brighter.

Next, the wand's tip is changed and loaded with a mix of non-irritating glycolic acid and salicylic acid to create a mild acid peel. This clarifies and further loosens debris. In the third step, the wand's vacuum function is used to extract blackheads and impurities. This method is significantly less painful and abrasive than traditional facial extractions. Finally, the tip is changed again and this time, it's used to infuse antioxidants, peptides, and moisturizers, like hyaluronic acid, into the skin. This final step hydrates, nourishes, and protects.

The benefits of a HydraFacial treatment are practically endless. The skin resurfacing benefits can reduce acne, hyperpigmentation, and brown spots. It can also help reduce the appearance of fine lines. Overall, HydraFacials will improve skin texture and leave you with a radiant glow.

Close-up image of a woman getting a HydraFacial
Hedgehog94/Adobe Stock Images

What’s the difference between a HydraFacial and microdermabrasion?

"Microdermabrasion is a simple procedure that uses a rough surface to mechanically exfoliate the skin,” says Dr. Akhavan. “A HydraFacial also has an exfoliating tip, but it uses a much more sophisticated vortex-fusion technology combining vacuum and serums to clear out congestion from pores while also leaving skin well hydrated and dewy."

How much does a HydraFacials cost?

The cost of a HydraFacial varies depending on the provider and if you opt for any add-ons, but the 30-minute treatment tends to cost somewhere between $150-300 per treatment. 

What skin types are HydraFacials best for? 

"All skin types can benefit from a HydraFacial," says Dr. Akhavan. "Unlike many lasers and traditional chemical peels, a HydraFacial is safe no matter what skin tone a person has. The treatment can also be customized to suit dry, sensitive, normal, or oily skin."

Whether you're dealing with acne or you're looking to minimize fine lines, wrinkles, and dark spots, this treatment can help. The HydraFacial is extremely customizable thanks to boosters that give extra love to skin concerns like fine lines, dark spots, and hydration.

That being said, if you have an active rash, a sunburn, or rosacea, you should wait until these have been healed before trying a HydraFacial. Also, if you are pregnant it's a good idea to skip this treatment as some of the ingredients used in the process have not been proven safe to use during pregnancy.

Close-up image of a model touching her cheek with a finger

Are there any side effects?

There is almost always a recovery period with intensive facial treatments like chemical peels, laser treatments, or even traditional facials with extractions. But the great thing about HydraFacial is that there is virtually no downtime after undergoing treatment. This is all thanks to the patented HydraFacial device, which eliminates the need for any abrasive extractions. Instead, the vortex-fusion technology can provide exfoliation, extract gunk and impurities, and infuse actives into the skin all without causing any side effects.

How many treatments do I need?

The ideal frequency of HydraFacial treatments will vary based on your skin type. "You can definitely see positive results after just one session, but like most similar procedures, the more treatments you have, the better the results will be,” says Dr. Akhavan. “In our office, we recommend patients come in once a month to maintain positive results."  

As a general rule, you'll want to wait at least a month between treatments to allow your skin to go through a full life cycle. However, if you have acne-prone skin, you'll want to do this treatment more often, ideally about every two to three weeks. With frequent treatments, acne-prone patients are likely to see a reduction in breakouts over time as the skin stabilizes. 

That being said, professional facials of any kind are pricey. If a monthly facial isn’t in your budget, Dr. Akhavan recommends going in at the end of winter and again at the end of summer. Having a HydraFacial treatment at these times will refresh the skin and help it transition into the next season. 

The most visible results will be about five to seven days after the treatment. If you are planning to have a HydraFacial to boost the skin's appearance before a big event, schedule a session about a week ahead of the big date.

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About the author
Cortney Clift
Cortney is a New York-based freelance writer who has written about beauty and wellness for more than six years. She was previously the senior writer and special projects editor at Brit + Co where she covered a wide range of news and lifestyle topics.
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Article Last Updated April 30, 2020 12:00 AM