I’ve had a love/hate relationship with facials for years—mostly love—but occasionally hate. I had my first facial when I was 16 and have been getting professional facials on a seasonal basis for the past 10 years or so. If you name a facial—chances are I’ve tried it at some point. But not all facials are good for all skin types. While most of my facials have been amazing, I’ve had a few here and there that have left me with breakouts, irritation and even dark spots that took months to fade away. But unlike most facials, the Hydrafacial that everyone has been raving about lately doesn’t typically (at least not for most of it) use a traditional extraction tool. It’s probably the gentlest yet most effective facial I’ve ever had.
I went to Marmur Medical founded by Dr. Ellen Marmur on East 87th street in Manhattan for my HydraFacial. In case you haven’t heard of it, HydraFacials are really popular these days especially among editors, beauty experts, influencers, and YouTubers. They’re a huge hit and for a number of reasons—one of them being that they deeply clean out your pores without irritating your skin after.
So what’s the facial consists of you ask? Well for starters, it uses a trademarked patented suction machine patented as the Vortex-Fusion to deeply cleanse your skin and remove any junk, dirt, access oil, or impurities from your pores. But it also includes a chemical peel to cleanse the skin, exfoliation is followed, and vital nutrients including antioxidants, peptides, and hyaluronic acid are used to leave skin looking hydrated, smooth and glowy.
I have interesting skin. It’s oily/combination which means that it’s normally clear and radiant but prone to breakouts especially when the weather acts up, when I don’t thoroughly remove my makeup, or when my body is going through hormonal changes usually caused by stress, periods or birth control changes. After noticing two annoying pimples on my face and a dark spot from a previous pimple that was taking way too long to fade, I realized it was time to get myself a much needed facial.
Before my facial, my skin felt oily and looked blotchy and dull. The esthetician started off by cleansing my face and followed with exfoliating. Then came the Vortex-Fusion which turned out to be my favorite part of the entire facial. It’s amazing how many blackheads and just straight up congestion it was able to get out of my pores. To my surprise though, a traditional extraction tool was used to remove a harder to reach blackhead behind my nose.
“HydraFacial can actually work in tandem with manual extractions. The ingredients used in the HydraFacial treatment both condition and soften the outermost layer of the skin to aid in mechanical extractions,” says Dr. Ellen Marmur. “The unique spiral design on the tip along with the powerful suction of the hand piece allows for the HydraFacial to extract deeper and remove more congestion. During the extraction process, the vacuum is collecting congestion, a serum is being delivered to the skin with salicylic acid to exfoliate, honey extract to hydrate the skin, and spiraea ulmaria flower extract to calm and smooth.”
The facial which is great for pretty much all skin types addresses everything from fine lines, wrinkles, elasticity, firmness, even tone, vibrancy, brown spots, skin texture, oil and congested skin and enlarged pores. My skin looked clearer, much more even and radiant by the end of the treatment and lasted for a good couple of weeks. However, there are candidates who should be weary of HydraFacials. Dr. Marmur doesn’t recommend the treatment if you’re allergic to shellfish or honey, are currently pregnant or breastfeeding, are taking a topical treatment for acne, or are on accutane for acne.
With ongoing treatments, Dr. Marmur claims that you can expect a noticeable improvement in your skin’s hydration, minimized dark spots and a reduction of lines and wrinkles. But if you want very noticeable results, you’re going to want to to start off going regularly and then gradually going when needed.
“Continued HydraFacial treatments each month are highly recommended to maintain results and improve the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, hyper-pigmentation, blackheads, and whiteheads, and oily or congested skin,” she says. “With ongoing treatments skin will have intensely improved hydration, minimized dark spots and a dramatic reduction in the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.”
My skin normally looks red—even a little irritated— after most facials but I walked out of the office with my skin glowing. I looked so good I wound up making plans afterwards with a completely bare face. I can’t rave enough about how smooth and easy this facial is on brown (more dark-spot prone) skin.
I’m personally sold on the HydraFacial and I get what all the hype is all about. As someone who usually request that estheticians skip the extracting part on me, this facial actually gets me and my skin. It completely unclogs my pores without leaving my skin red and raw and prone to breakouts the next morning. I highly recommend this to women of color especially who tend to be a lot more prone to scarring or dark spots that come after facial irritation or break outs from extractions. After a facial like this, I don’t know how I could ever go back to anything else.