Updated: Oct 12, 2021
Almost weekly, we get calls asking about a Hydrafacial. People are really trying to get it! Should you? What is it? Do I need it or is it just another over-marketed Hollywood beauty treatment?
What is a Hydrafacial?
Hydrafacial is the brand name for a device from Edge Systems, LLC. It combines 2 aesthetic treatments: dermabrasion and an ultra-light chemical peel. While it does add a new way of doing dermabrasion, it is essentially just an exfoliating treatment with the option of adding a very light peel.
The novelty is how the dermabrasion is done. Remember, dermabrasion is an exfoliation of the skin, so this process removes “dead” cells from the surface of the skin, giving the skin a smoother feel and fresher, less “dull” appearance. It also allows for better penetration of skin care products.
The Hydrafacial company has come up with their latest take on microdermabrasion, and they call it “Hydradermabrasion”, or “Vortex technology”. What previous technology does with crystals and suction (as in dermabrasion), Hydrafacial does with water. The machine blasts jets of water at your skin and vacuums it off. So the question is: "Does water do a better job at exfoliating than any brush, sponge, microcrystals or dermablade?" The answer is a resounding, No!
Additionally, if a peel is part of the process, it will follow the hydrafacial. With a different tip on the machine, a very generic chemical peel solution is applied to the face, then immediately removed. Because this peel is so weak, most clients will not see any peeling at all and be left feeling a bit slighted. Additional upgrades add an additional charge, to “customize” the treatment. These are designed to add benefit for concerns of lines, wrinkles, discoloration, signs of aging and uneven tone.
The bottom line is that the Hydrafacial is just a facial. It is the latest form of dermabrasion (and, if you are willing to pay for add-ons; a very light peel).
What does Hydrafacial cost and why so expensive?
Depending on location, a Hydrafacial usually starts at $200-$350 for the basic process.
This is because the Hydrafacial company has invested a lot of money into marketing and the brand name has gotten a lot of media attention. To put it bluntly, they have spent millions on advertising to raise brand awareness. Because of this, the machine becomes very expensive and so the cost is passed on to the consumer. Additionally, the prices and options are fixed based on whatever skin care company Hydrafacial is contracting with at the time. This means that the provider’s choice of added upgrade serums are not only very limited, but will also bring up the cost of treatment.
And the results?:
What about that “rosy glow” everyone talks about?
It’s true. Clients do see an immediate “glow” to their skin post-facial. However, it is temporary. And honestly, it's the result of the suction from the vacuuming process bringing good blood flow to the skin. You get the same effect from a workout or brisk walk. If a patient receives the peel portion, that process can give a lovely glow to the skin that may last for 24-36 hours.
But what about that nasty water in the container afterwords?
People love to think that all of the “gunk” came directly out of their pores, however, if you start your treatment with any lotions, creams, sunscreen or make-up on your face, those will all end up in the container. Unfortunately, the suction of the machine does not pull debris from your pores.
Representatives of the company describe the device as a “medical-grade” hydradermabrasion device that carries out a patented three-part regimen-cleansing, exfoliating and infusing with intensive serums”.
First, there is absolutely nothing “medical” about the device.
There is no licensure required to own this device. Anyone can buy it. Anyone can use it. No medical education, advanced training or license is needed.
Second, just because the company patented their device and regimen doesn’t mean it is better, or even that it works.
There are many ways to cleanse and exfoliate the skin. Having a machine do this with water does not make it more efficient or effective. Your esthetician can accomplish the same results, or better, with a facial or an exfoliant or by doing a dermabrasion or dermaplane.
So Is Hydrafacial worth it?
You be the judge. The Hydrafacial is just an exfoliating treatment with or without a very mild peel, and a very large price point. Regular peels will cause tremendous improvements in your skin over time, especially if you do them regularly.
At Bella Nuova, we have chosen not to offer Hydrafacials for several reasons. Our main reason is that we feel that the Hydrafacial is a brilliantly-marketed but overpriced facial. We can do much better for you, and at a much lower cost. We feature medical grade peels (with or without microdermabrasion or dermaplaning) which we can customize based on your specific needs. Our clients get better results, and for a much lower price. Our clients are getting the best treatments for their individual needs, without having to over-pay for marketing and a brand name.
For more information: author, Dr. L. Riehm of Skin Deep Laser, MD, Texas
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